More than a Blanket: Quilts are Art!

The Sunbeam quilt by from Annabel Wrigley for MODBLOCK.

Many have wondered, “Are quilts art or craft?” Well, the answer can be yes to either. Confused yet? Let’s start with the definition of art. In the Oxford dictionary art is said to be, “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

In that sense, quilts can be considered an artform. Although quilts are created to serve a purpose, most often to keep us warm, they are also made to be nice to look at. It takes skill and imagination to create a quilt. In addition to this, many quilts are created to celebrate a special occasion, mourn a loss, mark time passing, and so on. They are literal representations of love. Emotion is stitched into every square inch.

Contrary to this definition, are some quilts made without great skill or imagination? Sure. Are some simply utilitarian, without much thought given to the design? Yes. But these early attempts are a first step in learning how to make quilts that could be considered art. The first time we create anything is a trial period. There should be no high expectations. It’s a time to build skill and learn from experience. As we grow, we become more creative in our approach to quilting, gaining confidence in our design choices, and more skilled in quilting techniques. No matter where we begin, we can always improve.

The Oberlin quilt by Heather Jones for MODBLOCK.

Quilts can also be considered a craft. The definition of craft is, “An activity involving skill in making things by hand.” Simple enough. Quilting is a skill that can be learned by anyone and it can be fun to do even if we don’t view it as an artform. Regardless of what our intent is when we make quilts, they can be both incredibly beautiful and useful. Let’s hear what our customers had to say about quilts being art or craft:

“They are both. When I was in school, many many years ago we could make a quilt in our home economics class as a sewing craft and make another in art class as art.” -Denise Vasel

“In my 3-dimensional design art class in college, we were given the assignment of turning linocut prints we made into quilts. I would say there isn’t much distinction in my mind between craft and art. It’s all art.” -Denise Fox Eskridge

“Both. Craft because you are making something and art because the material, pattern and colors you use makes it unique.” -Paula Herbst

“A quilt is art that you craft.” -Sharon Crouch

“Both, art and craft. You create your own concept, pattern, and color, and craft because it is handmade.” -Pat Trueblood

“They can be both. I think some people are confused because a quilt is used. It’s functional art. It’s consider myself an artist.” -Julie Tierney

“Craft, art, and love.” -Debbie Torrey

“Both but also much more. They are art in the selection of color, fabric, and design. They are craft in the construction and quality of quilting. On top of all that, they are heart, and love, and passion.” -Victoria Hubbard

“Both. Quilting is a work of art and it’s like putting a puzzle together. I never knew I could be so artsy and crafty. Love love love it!” -Alice Hayden

“I was disappointed to have an art teacher tell me that quilting was a craft not art. I believe she is wrong. I have seen so many works of art made from fabric.” -Leslie Savitsky

“Quilting is an art. When you thoughtfully and methodically pick out a pattern and figure out an eye-catching layout and fabric placement for a quilt, that’s art.” -Suzanne K. Einspahr

We completely agree! You are all wonderfully skilled, artistic quilters and we love seeing what you make. Share your beautiful creations with us at #msqcshowandtell and keep on creating your beautifully crafted works of art!

Easy Fabric Flowers

On Mother’s Day, we shared a bouquet of fabric flowers that bloom year round! We were so excited by your response to this lovely project, that we teamed up with the creator, Missouri Star’s very own, Cassie R., to share a step-by-step tutorial on how to make these easy fabric flowers!

Fabric Flowers from Missouri Star Quilt Co

Follow along below to learn how to make your very own fabric flowers. These can be made with any fabric (and are a perfect scrap buster!), however, Cassie used batik fabric strips so that the back side of the fabric is not as noticeable when twisting the flowers.

Supplies needed: 
2.5”x22” fabric strips (you can use a scrap from a package of 2.5″ strips or a fat quarter cut to 2.5”) We recommend batiks for their reversibility.
Hand needle and thread to stitch together the stem 
If desired:
Straws or mini dowel rods and super glue to use as stems 
Missouri Star Thimble Container

How to create easy fabric flowers: 

Step 1: Cut fabric strip to 2.5”x22″. Feel free to experiment with skinnier strips for smaller flowers and wider strips for bigger flowers.

Step 2: Fold fabric strip in half lengthwise, but do not press with an iron. A finger press works just fine.

Step 3: Begin at one end of the folded fabric strip and fold in about 1″ from the end and then fold again.

Step 4: Fold a third time so it’s super tight. This will form the middle of the flower. 

Step 5: With the vertical fold at the top of the flower, loosely roll it around the middle one time. 

Step 6: As you wrap the fabric strip around the middle, fold the strip about halfway. This will form the petals of the fabric flower. Be sure to keep the fold at the top of the flower.

Step 7: Keep folding and twisting to form the flower

Step 8: Continue folding and twisting the fabric around the flower until you run out of fabric or reach the desired size. As you fold, you will notice that the stem of your flower will form. 

Notice the stem forming below.

Step 8: Once your fabric flower blooms to your desired size, glue or stitch together the end to secure it. 

Use this technique to create fabric flowers that bloom all year round! Be sure to share your creations with us online using #msqcshowandtell! Happy sewing!