Welcome to the Art Quilt Retrospective Collection

In preparation for SAQA's 30th anniversary, the organization set out to document the first 50 years of the impressive Art Quilt Movement. A public submission process took place from July 2016 - December 2017. Artists from around the world were asked to submit their best art quilts, one from each decade. This collection is provided for your enjoyment. All of the images were provided by the artists for this project and are displayed with their permission.

 

Are you one of the artists and see a correction we need to make? Please fill out this form to let us know.

 

If you are an artist and missed the public submission window, it is not too late. You can fill out this form anytime and upload an image for our review. Please only enter one artwork per decade. Public Submission Form

 

 

1960s

A core group of approximately sixty artists developed quilts in the studio as a form of fine art during the second half of the 20th century. During the 1960s and 1970s, artists began to make quilts as contemporary art from three directions: the world of stitchery and traditional quilt making; the academy of fine art; and, the alternative academy of fine crafts, especially fibers and ceramics.  

Visit the 1960s collection

 

1970s

One goal of both radical feminism and racial politics during the 1970s was to change the character of art, and quilts as art have successfully entered this arena. The Whitney Museum’s Abstract Design in American Quilts exhibition in 1971 had a profound effect on many artists beginning to explore the art quilt medium. Beginning in 1979 the biennial juried Quilt National exhibitions have showcased the best in contemporary quilt art.

Visit the 1970s collection

 

1980s

Art quilts achieved national prominence during the 1980s due to several touring exhibitions accompanied by illustrated catalogues, with reviews in American Craft, Art News, Craft Horizons, Fiberarts Magazine, and other publications with thousands of subscribers. Artists working in the quilt medium were exploring materials and processes beyond the commercial fabrics used by traditional makers, and networking to develop exhibition venues and markets for their new art form. Founded in 1989, Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) has supported the art quilt through education, numerous exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. SAQA has become known around the world for juried touring shows, accompanied by documentation in the form of gallery-quality catalogs.

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1990s

By the 1990s, the art quilt had received broader acceptance in the art, craft, and quilt worlds, and for the most part quilt artists in the 1990s were not working in isolation as their predecessors often did. Quilt artists often endorse the postmodern tendency to embrace unorthodox materials and pop culture, working in a collage or pastiche mentality. The assemblage nature of quilts encouraged this approach to art making.   

 

Visit the 1990s collection

 

2000s

Many artists have sold their first gallery quilt in the 21st century, including several who had been trying to enter the gallery market earlier.  Not only are more galleries offering quilt art, but also more professional artists have found their voice in this medium. SAQA has contributed significantly to this trend. 

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2010s

Many quilt artists working in the 21st century use the quilt medium to address important social, political, economic, and environmental issues of the new millennium. Whether the artworks are created by artists who have spent decades exploring the quilt format, or are created by artists who embraced the art form more recently, global issues often are at the forefront of their subject matter. New technologies more widely available after 2010, such as programmable long-arm quilting machines, digital textile printing services, and high-resolution digital cameras on cellular phones, also are having an effect on work produced. However, while some artists are intrigued by these new technologies, others embrace handwork, preferring evidence of the human touch to communicate their message.   

Visit the 2010s collection