Submitted by Dianne McD.
What is a quilt? I define a quilt as “a hug you can wrap around yourself”.
But what I’m really asking here is, “What qualifies as a quilt?” It’s a question that many people have tried to answer for a long time. When I first started quilting, I understood a quilt to be three layers: top, batting, and backing.
My small group would discuss this sometimes. Some of us were subscribed to the Quilting Arts magazine; and when they put out a challenge and a call for quilts, they would usually stipulate that the finished product needed to be three layers. We would muse about what those three layers could be. Could you use paper, with a piece of fabric as the middle, and a piece of plywood as the back and then staple it all together? Would that qualify as an art quilt? It’s three layers, after all.
I know that’s an extreme example. But what made me ask this question again was an article in the Southern California issue of the Quiltfolk magazine. In that issue, they showed the work of Sabrina Gschwandtner. She has a series of beautiful “quilts” made, not with strips of fabric, but with strips of film from old movies. She takes scraps from the cutting room floor or from old movie reels that have been given to her. Instead of layers, she mounts her finished product with light shining through them. And the result is spectacular! She has a couple series of “Film Quilts”. Her work has been shown in major museums nationally and internationally and has been praised in the art world.
I still don’t know the answer to my question. But I’m willing to stretch my understanding of quilts. What do you think qualifies as a quilt?