The other morning I was lying in bed thinking about quilting patterns and art. Some people feel quilting is an art form, some consider it a craft. Some feel only “art” quilts are art.
What is a Quilt?
A quilt is 3 layers of fabrics sewed together. It differs from a blanket in that it has the 3 layers- usually 2 layers of fabric with a batting in between.
Quilting is the act of creating a quilt. We can argue that creating the top is piecing and quilting is when you apply stitches to quilt the quilt, but, for today, let’s not create minor distinctions within the process. What we are doing is creating a visual product that is beautiful.
Quilting Patterns: Art
What makes it art? Is it art or a craft? I believe that all quilting is art. Whether you create your own quilt design, or you follow a pattern, or you use a kit where the design and fabrics are already chosen for you, you are creating art. Just because someone else put the kit together doesn’t mean the finished product isn’t your art. It is similar to buying a paint by numbers kit. You put your touch on the project; your hands made it happen. You cut the fabrics, you sewed the fabrics together and your hand in that process makes it your art.
Art is the design that happens on the front of the quilt (and sometimes the back) due to the arrangement of the fabrics and shapes. It is in the thread and quilting design.
It is also the process of creating.
Even with a kit, finished quilts can look different. You add your own touch by how you cut, piece and create the quilt top. You add your own choice of quilting pattern and thread. I feel the word art should be inclusive not exclusive. Works created by human hands is art.
When Quilting Patterns Become Science
But are quilting patterns a science? Can it be art and science? I think so. Quilting involves different shapes and sometimes, it is like a putting together a puzzle. How do I make that work? What sizes do I need to cut and what shapes do I need to make the final design?
We research the different ways to make various units, figure out how to make it work and then test our theory. Our quilt is the product of our test!
Thinking about our quilting patterns as art that require the brain of a scientist – or a mathematician- makes us realize that what we do is not just sew pieces of fabric together.
We are artists who use our art to make people smile, to evoke emotional reactions and to wrap people up in our love. Our medium is fabric and our skills are in our hands, our vision and our hearts.
Go forth and create!