I just don't know where some quilts fit either and I'm getting a little more comfortable with painted whole cloth quilts being called quilts. When I was in Houston, the Desmond Tutu quilt had won best of show. I didn't think it was a quilt. It was a beautiful piece of artwork but not a quilt. I am getting more accepting as I'm wanting to do less traditional things. I don't envy the judges.
In Houston, they were grouped together and apparently judged as a group as they were eligible for the award given by Ricky and his Quilt Art Center. I think they are a special category if the primary focus is the painting. However, some of the quilts that were exhibited in this category had wonderful quilting and some of them had piecing as part of the design. It is becoming harder and harder to establish hard and fast rules for a category because of all the innovation that quilters are doing. As I walked around the Quilt Fest exhibits, I often asked myself which category I would enter some of my quilts in (if I were ever brave enough to submit one) and I found it difficult to decide. Much of what I do falls in the art quilt genre but some is whimsical, some utilizes traditional techniques with a twist, lots are convergences or chantelles which are improvisational piecing. If I can't figure out where I think I would fit, how could the judges.
So for now, I will enjoy (or not) the quilts that are exhibited in Houston (or any other quilt show) and leave the tough decisions about what constitutes what kind of quilt to the experts.
I just viewed the set of photos of painted quilts from Houston on the Daily Blog. They are magnificent!!! True art that moves the heart. But it leads me to a question I thought would be fun to discuss...should they be in their own category in quilt contests when they are whole cloth painted or mostly whole cloth painted? I've been playing with painting pieces of a quilt to add some depth or dimension, or toying with painting faces because that seems the best way for me to get a face on a quilt. But mostly I want to use fabric and thread to accomplish my visions...it's my own kind of challenge. I think whole-cloth painted quilts are substantially different kind of art quilt than an art quilt that primarily uses pieced and appliqued and thread embellished techniques, even when enhanced with paint in spots. So do we need to have multiple categories other than a catch-all "wall art quilts" for such contests?
"Neglect not the gift that is within you..." -1 Timothy 4:14