What are art quilts?

I am an artist and my medium is fabric and thread. The pieces I create are called art quilts. The Poppy above is showing right now in an exhibit titled, "Quilt as Art" (as if the show was designed just so I could validate the kind of artist I am). 

A quilt is defined by its 3 layers stitched together. Usually the middle layer is batting and the other layers are fabric (although some artists use unconventional materials like paper or plastic). Some quilters use traditional patterns or patterns designed by other people. Art quilters create their own designs and often invent new techniques. There is no line in the sand defining a quilt vs an art quilt. Sometimes people also use the terms traditional and modern quilts when describing their genre. 

When I was very young I was an art quilter and didn't know it! I loved doing embroidery on handmade velvet quilts when I was about 7. In my early 20's I made many quilts learning techniques from books on modern quilts.

I consider this a modern quilt rather than an art quilt, but the distinction blurs a bit.

I consider this a modern quilt rather than an art quilt, but the distinction blurs a bit.

As I got better with my sewing I started branching out into more artistic pieces. Above is one of my favorite quilts; I sleep under it every night! I used the Strips 'n Curves technique from Louisa Smith. Then I used my own ideas to create giant grape leaves and sun rays. The top stitching was done by Doryne Pederzani. 

Over a decade ago I abandoned my technique books and began developing my own style more and more. Above I made this board game with game pieces and cards for my daughters. (Doryne Pederzani also top-stitched this quilt- I do my own top-stitching these days). I think this is an art quilt, but because it is a functional game, I suppose it is also a "game quilt". (Is that was a thing)? 

In 2003 I started creating my own technique of making three dimensional quilted flowers. Here is one of my very first pieces in that style. In the past few years I have fully committed to perfecting the 3D technique, continuing to expand and grow as an art quilter.

He loves me, He loves me not 2003

He loves me, He loves me not 2003

Thanks for indulging me in the history of me as a quilter, I'm in the studio everyday and I look forward to sharing my new creations with you!

Peace in piecing, love, Dawn