What are Abstract Quilts?

Posted by Elizabeth Barton on 28 May 2017 | 0 Comments


Abstract Art by Elizabeth Barton chimneys detailHave you ever wondered about abstract quilts? Exactly what are they? I know Elizabeth has the answer to this in her class "Abstract Art for Quiltmakers". This excerpt is taken from her class to get you started, but her class will take you beyond knowing what abstract quilts are.... you'll be making them too! You know you will want to know more...

Let’s begin with some definitions. We need to know what abstract art is before we can make it, so a few definitions and a little history will, I hope, help.

Abstract is a wonderful word because it has many different subtle meanings. It can be a verb, a noun or an adjective.

As a noun, it can be a summary. When I worked in a technical library, many many years ago, one of my jobs was to write abstracts of articles and books for an interdepartmental newsletter. In a few short words, I had to try to convey the most important points of the text. When we are making our designs for quilts, or paintings or weavings, we want to do exactly this: draw the viewers’ attention to what we feel is the key to our subject. We really don’t want a lot of extra "stuff". Economy is one of the most important guidelines, or principles, of good design.

As a verb, to abstract means distilling something down to its essence. Abstract art doesn’t have to be meaningless and, in a way, should not be meaningless! It should tell us the clear truth, but not necessarily the whole truth! Even realistic painters are rarely aiming at a literal depiction of an object. As the Buddhist monk asked Canadian painter Robert Genn when he was on location in Thailand trying to paint an elephant,
"What are you painting?"
"An elephant."
"But are you painting the power of the elephant, or the patience of the elephant, or the spirit of the elephant?"

Stories like this really show us the point of making art...and that's what we will do in this class!

...Elizabeth Barton

Abstract Art by Elizabeth Barton my first machine

About Abstract Art for Quiltmakers Workshop: Have you ever wanted to be an abstract artist? Let’s explore twentieth and twenty-first century abstract art to gain an understanding of the design processes and the artist’s intentions that lie beneath the work. In this workshop, Elizabeth will show you how to make many different abstract designs suitable for quilts. In evaluating the designs for strengths and weaknesses, you will put design principles to good use and thus gain a deeper practical understanding of them. Elizabeth's aim is to show you how to apply the knowledge that artists have gained over the centuries to art quilts with solid, practical examples. Read More....

Abstract Art by Elizabeth Barton no grey full view


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