In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
Firstly, thank you so much for the invite to join you in spreading the word of Modern Quilting. I have been quilting for over 30 years and I am so enjoying the style I am now creating. I am purely a part time quilter using my kitchen table as my studio and the floor as my design wall. From the beginning I mainly reconstructed traditional patterns and made a twist in the color combinations, placing a block the wrong way or carrying a piece into the border. I love this combination of old and new; of the traditional and contemporary; patterns passed down through the generations and my personal contribution bringing something new. My choice of fabric is mainly linen, I love the feel of this once it has been quilted and the subtle shades of color. It lends itself very much to hand quilting, softening whilst stitching. My main go to fabric color is indigo blue, either commercially dyed or if I am lucky enough to find, hand dyed. I enjoy matching this with a bright spark of color to lift the palette. For several years, I have created a paper collage which I use as a basis for a quilt design. On a number of these collage quilts I have been lucky enough to have the beautiful quilting services of Christine Perrigo @ccpquilt. Her magic really does lift the design. When creating a quilt, I have a brief outline in my head of the design, but I very much let the idea evolve as I am creating, sometimes it is completely different from the initial format. I so enjoy where the fabric and ideas take me. I bounce between machine quilting in straight lines or densely hand quilted pieces, I try to have a couple of projects on hand to suit my mood. The turning point in my quilting journey was visiting Quilton in Savannah in 2017, it opened my eyes to the freedom and impact of design, taking an idea to an art level. I will always be thankful for that experience and very much enjoy the friendships I have made during those exhibitions.
Hello, my name is Tighe Flanagan, and I live in Washington, DC. I have been a maker and crafter my whole life, but I didn’t start quilting until 2016. I had a sewing machine that I used mostly for upholstery and curtains, but I got the urge to make a quilt. I honestly am not sure what made me think about quilts, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. My first quilt was a triangle quilt, which I realized is just an isometric grid (a grid made up of equilateral triangles). That made me realize that there were so many other grids I could try to combine with fabric, which ultimately led me to combine my love of Islamic geometry with patchwork.
My background, both academic and professional, is connected to the Middle East and North Africa, a region where I lived and worked for many years. Once I got going with my first few quilts, the rich tradition of decorative arts across the region seemed like a natural fit for patchwork. My quilts usually start with a traditional geometric pattern that I play with and adapt for patchwork, adding seams and ultimately making in fabric.
I love researching and learning more about the Islamic geometry that I use in my patchwork. I like to know where you can find the same patterns on buildings, carved in wood, and etched in stone.
In addition to patchwork I also enjoy making clothes. Garment making has helped me increase my sewing skills, which in turn impact the kind of quilts I make. The more confident I become in sewing generally, the more complex ideas I’m comfortable exploring in my patchwork
I fell in love with quilting because it represents a greater idea of comfort and utility. To be honest, it took me years to fully understand that idea and the reason why I, as a 36 year old male, find so much of my identity and intrigue behind textiles and tactile art-making. I lived in 15 states and grew up in households without any real family presence. Because of those circumstances, I found empowerment in teaching myself self-efficiency and about how to build a nurturing home environment as just a pre-teen boy. It was always my priority to make myself feel cared for within an infrastructure that hadn’t set me up to succeed. I looked to art and creative-problem solving to become my curriculum for radical survival and stepping into my identity as a young man.
I translated what my childhood had taught me about self-efficient home building quite literally when I decided to study architecture at Cooper Union in New York City. I was interested in exploring structure and material; the things that I valued the most when experienced spatially. I wanted to create environments that offered what my upbringing hadn’t; ones that were crafted to care for the inhabitant and regenerate themselves. I grew my knowledge of what it meant to create one’s own system of comfort through tangible structures during my time there, but ended up leaving still searching for a better way to fulfill my “why”.
Later that year, I found my “why”. I found quilting. I fell in love. I taught myself how to sew. I found comfort in creating the epitome of a comfort object. The architectural foundation that had been established at Cooper Union informed how I manipulated textiles and viewed woven infrastructures. It gave me confidence to grant myself permissions to experiment in ways that have been historically taboo in the world of quilting.
I initially found intrigue and success in challenging how people perceived the traditional paradigm of craft; I treated quilts as sculpture, created photo-realistic portraits out of fabric, and constructed large scale quilts to cover external building structures. I wrote memoirs with fabric as I created collections of quilts that spoke to nostalgia, function, and identity. I explored material as I spent hours at the same thrift stores I had shopped at as a child, but this time to source materials to construct a collection of Log Cabin quilts that would go on to tour around the world.
I’m a 36 year old architect turned quilter with a love for creating tactile objects that have a history of utility and a future of self-preservation. I research comfort by creating comfort objects. I create environments through a filter of support, efficiency, and accessibility. I make fine art with a process that historically has only been identified with Grandmas and crafts, and I want to have a conversation about it.
I started sewing in 2014 at the age of 33. My mom, who has sewn as long as I’ve been alive, recognized that I was bored and needed a hobby. She helped me buy a vintage Elna SU Air Electronic sewing machine on eBay—the same type of machine she has owned since before I was born—and immediately I was hooked. Because we live in different states, she wasn’t able to teach me directly, but she helped me troubleshoot problems. The internet was my main source of information.
Soon after I bought the sewing machine, my sister announced she was pregnant with my first niece. That created the perfect storm of inspiration; I wanted to sew ALL THE THINGS! I made pillows, burp cloths, clothes, bags, and more. My first quilt was a baby quilt for my niece, which I made following an online tutorial by See Kate Sew.
Much of my recent work is inspired by nature. Before the pandemic, I volunteered as a docent at Tennessee Aquarium in the U.S., and I have a series of abstract modern quilts inspired by animals there. Improv is my jam, and my designs tend to include bright, saturated, solid color fabrics. Pinks, purples, and greens show up most often.
Sewing centers me. It’s good exercise for my brain, it keeps my hands busy, and it’s helped me practice patience and persistence. I also love the community I’ve found through modern quilting, and the stories we’re able to share with one another through our work.