Monthly Meeting March 2021


Zoom with Judi Kirk – What makes a Quilt “Modern”?

Judi Kirk is from Canterbury, Kent, UK and both a national and international quilt judge. She organises the judging for the International Festival of Quilts.

“Modern” quilts were influenced by the modernist artists of the 20th century, such as Mondrian (1917) and Kandinsky. Their solid colours had roots in Amish quilts, and the strong pieced lines seen in the work of Michael James. Gee’s Bend quilts (Alabama) were exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2002 and the Modern Quilt Guild was formed in the USA in 2009.

The UK definition of a Modern Quilt includes the terms “functional, minimalist, and inspired by modern design… generally simply quilted with lines of stitching or grid patterns”.

The US definition is similar and emphasises the use of “negative space” in the design. Several design features were in Judi’s list of things she looks for…….

Alternate grid work


Block based/non block based

Bold colours/high contrast, solid colours/low volume fabrics

Exaggerated scale

Minimalistic design

Negative space

We looked at examples to illustrate these features.

In particular I understood the term “negative space”, and loved the examples of intricate quilting and asymmetry. Several of us recognised the amazing “deconstructed lone star quilt” which won an award at the Festival of Quilts.

Judy asked “So what is missing on these quilts?”….there are no classic borders and often the design seems to “fall off” the edge of the quilt.

We had a discussion following questions from members and guests.

Judi is a very accomplished speaker and I thought her delivery seemed as clear on line as if she was with us at Albury Hall. There were 31 members and 9 guests from outside groups, so congratulations to those on the Committee who organised this so well.

I look forward to joining Judi and colleagues for the workshop on 24th March, making “Storm at Sea”, which Judi says is one of her favourites.

Virginia Clough

10th March 2021