Quilters quilt and painters paint, but there is a world of di-mension behind the work of fabric artists. As the newest exhibit at the Washington State History Museum—Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington—shows, quilting is an artistic medium in and of itself.
“Traditionally, quilts were hand-sewn from scraps of fabric to meet a practical need—they kept families warm during the winter months,” said Lynette Miller, head of collections for the Washington State Historical Society and curator of the quilt exhibit. “Over time, they have evolved from simply being functional into something decorative and creative, and finally into a means of artistic expression no different from painting or sculpting.”
Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington is a collaborative effort between the Washington State Historical Society, which also has a number of historic quilts from its collection on display, and the Contemporary Quilt Art Association, a diverse group of artists, teach-ers, writers and collectors from throughout Washington. The juried exhibit features the work of association members, who view quilts as an exciting medium of expression and a viable contemporary art form.
“Today’s quilt artists may still use sewing machines, but they are just as likely to use more contemporary technology such as computers and printers or less traditional techniques such as painting, hand-dyeing and bleaching,” said Colleen Wise, president of the Contemporary Quilt Art Association. “They may embellish their work with beads, metal or found objects. They are using quilt-making as a means of expression rather than comfort. Quilt-making has evolved into a true art form with a distinctive American history.”
Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington through Aug. 21 at the history museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.
For additional information: washingtonhistory.org