Sunday, July 15, 2007

Staying Power

I recently acquired this 1984 edition of The Quilt Digest. This is the second in an annual publication put together by Roderick Kiracofe* and Michael Kile. I'm not sure how many years it was published, but this is the 4th book I have personally run across. A shame that it didn't have more longevity, since the articles in these Digests are so interesting, and perhaps the first stab at real scholarship in the quilting world, coming on the heels of the first state quilt documentation project.

One of the articles in this issue juxtapositions antique quilts with modern ones. Here we have examples of what was then thought of as contemporary, more so than art quilts, even older than the ones I mentioned in yesterday's post here. More of the names are familiar to me: Pauline Burbidge, Francoise Barnes, Terrie Hancock Mangat, Pam Studstill, Chris Wolf Edmonds, Therese May. Their individual styles, for the most part, are recognizable, although many of the colors and some of the themes look dated.

However, I did not find this to be true of one quilt in particular: Diagonal Study II by Jan Myers, copyright 1983 (seen here on the right). As I was ho-hummingly flipping through the pages, not paying attention to who had made the quilts, I was stopped by this one, thinking, now there's a quilt with staying power. Not everyone might agree with me, but the use of color, the flow of the design struck me as timeless. And this, I realize, is the point and the test of good art, that it has staying power, resonates beyond its moment of creation, transcends time.

*RODERICK KIRACOFE was cofounder of The Quilt Digest, produced Homage to Amanda: 200 Years of American Quilts, and authored Cloth & Comfort. He has assembled corporate and private quilt collections across the country and curated quilt exhibits here and abroad. He lives in San Francisco.

1 comment:

Exuberant Color said...

There were at least 5 of the Quilt Digest. I have #5 from 1987. I had all 5 but I sold #4. I love Jan Myers' quilts.