Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Textiles, Clothing & Design, Under the Supervision of Professor Michael James. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Ellen Rushman


This study explores the modern quilting movement from the perspective of members of the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), a new guild that includes both online and in-person elements. Twenty-six members of seven MQG’s across the United States were interviewed. The interviews focused on the factors that draw participants into the MQG as well as how the art/craft debate shapes the experiences of modern quilters. This study concludes that modern quilting is both an attitude and an aesthetic. The attitude of modern quilting encompasses common themes among participants like the lack of rules dictating their quilting practices and an open and inviting atmosphere at meetings. The attitude portion of modern quilting was present to some degree in all participants of this study. The current aesthetic of modern quilting emphasizes clean lines, minimalism, and solid fabrics, among many other characteristics. All the participants of this study did not embody the aesthetic of modern quilting. The results suggest that all participants are drawn to the guild due to the attitude of modern quilting whereas only some participants are inclined to join due to the aesthetic of modern quilting. The aesthetic of modern quilting does not appear to be tied to the art/craft debate in that most participants did not link the differences between art and craft to their own work. The study also illustrates the excitement, motivation, and enjoyment that surrounds MQG membership for the participants of this study.

Advisor: Michael James