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Not Your Grandma's Quilts: New Exhibit Shows Off Textile Art

A quilt of a woman sitting
Margaret Abramshe
Studio Art Quilt Associates CO/UT/WY Region

When you think of quilting, the image that comes to mind may be a patchwork blanket or hanging fabrics passed down through generations. The “Evolving Perceptions” exhibit at the Brigham City Museum of Art & History is an attempt to shake up quilting’s old fashioned reputation in the art world.

“Art quilts truly are fine art,” said Anne Severn, a representative from the Studio Art Quilt Associates or SAQA, who co-organized the exhibit. “We do have the conversation frequently, is it art or is it craft? The people who are making art quilts are just as much artists as anyone who paints or draws. Or any other medium.”

The quilts exhibited experiment with composition, colors, and texture. The quilts can be landscapes, portraits or abstract, and some incorporate unusual materials like silk tea bags, plastics and even sticks. One artist used a heat gun to melt layers of felt to create the appearance of bark on a tree. 

In a sense, the organizers wanted the quilting artists to get a little weird. 

“We basically put no limits on what people could submit,” said Mary Louise Gerek, another organizer from SAQA. “We really wanted people to go outside the box and see what they can find.” 

The exhibit is available at the Brigham City Museum of Art & History through September.