QuiltCon 2023 was packed with terrific quilts, amazing people, and (for me, at least) a full class schedule! Teaching at QuiltCon is a fantastic experience, but it does mean spending less time looking at the show quilts. Since I know I won’t have time during the show to fully take in every quilt, I like to try picking out trends in the work on exhibit.
The first trend I noticed was a sense of great joy that exuded from many of the quilts on display. These quilts tended to have pictorial elements that embodied elements of nostalgia, youth, and fun.
NONE OF THE QUILTS PICTURED ARE MY WORK! Each work is labeled with the maker, and their Instagram handle when available. These are in no particular order.
Mr. Mustachio Toothington by Patti Coppock
Inspired by a child’s drawing, the cartoon aesthetic was largely created using graphic outlines combined with bold colors. The whimsy of the image is enhanced by the background comprised of more intricate piecing, which challenges our expectations for a background to contain less detail than the focal portion of the image.
The Pop-Tart Quilt by Emily Watts
Childhood nostalgia is front and center with this enormous Pop-Tart! The fabric selection screams “strawberry” and the quilting reminded me of the texture of the pastry.
Mix Tape by Marisa Wilhelmi
From watching cartoons with Pop-Tarts on a Saturday Morning, we’re moving into the nostalgia of the Mix Tape of our teenage years. The palette from the fabric challenge worked well with the retro motif, and I love the attention to detail such as the different amounts of tape on each side of the cassette.
Bananicklenation by Steph Skardal
Pickles and Bananas isn’t a combination you see every day, but they are a great mash up in Bananicklenation! The intense colors and block based format are reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s work with a mid-centruy mod pop-art style. Incorporating both bright, clear colors with dark and/or muted tones creates a sophisticated feel to the otherwise whimsical aesthetic.
Lava Lamps by Molli Sparkles
This rendition of lava lamps feels like a series of photographs each capturing a specific moment in time. I love how the bold background prints create a sense of place and the “lava” is formed differently in each block.
What do you think?
These were just a few of the whimsical quilts I saw at QuiltCon. Did you notice these or other lighthearted pieces? Do you think this is a trend we will continue to see in future shows?