The International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSCM) in Lincoln, Nebraska, is partnering with American Patchwork & Quilting to share information on quilting traditions from around the world.

Global Perspective: British Art Quilts

Written by Linzee Kull McCray

The quilts of British artist Lynn Setterington celebrate the everyday. Images of spatulas, watering cans, scissors, and even plastic shopping bags (as in Mums are Heroes, Too) are carefully hand-stitched into her cotton art quilts.

Lynn's art quilts draw on traditions far from England's shores. She anchors her quilt's muslin layers with kantha, an embroidery technique from Bangladesh that uses simple running stitches. This type of embroidery can be quickly stitched for everyday use or more carefully worked into intricate patterns in quilts intended as heirlooms. Asian immigrants brought the technique to Britain and a 1988 London exhibition of kantha inspired Setterington to incorporate the technique into her work.

Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2006.015.0001.

Art Quilting Techniques

This international crossover is not unusual in art quilting. "There's nothing typical in art quilting," says Carolyn Ducey, curator at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSCM). "There isn't necessarily a technique that's associated with a particular country. The work of art quilters may have its core in traditional quilting, but they take their work in so many directions." An exhibition opening at the IQSCM in November 2009, Perspective, Art, and Design in Art Quilts, will shed light on the range of techniques art quilters use to express themselves, including piecing, embroidery, sashiko, and appliqué.

Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2006.015.0001.

More About Lynn Setterington

Just as her own quilts bring together a range of influences, Lynn Setterington is interested in bringing together people of different cultural heritages to explore and celebrate their everyday lives. Her art now includes community-based projects in which she works with neighborhoods and schools, encouraging people to express themselves through textiles. She also promotes the use of scrap and recyclable materials in her public projects. One such project involved cutting and stitching pieces of plastic bags to form "puffs" that then were "pieced" into a large artwork. For more information on Lynn and her work, visit Lynn Setterington's Web site and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum Web site.

Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2006.015.0001.

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