Quilt and Fabric Stylings of the Later Twentieth Century


From The Quilt Journal - An International Review, Vol. 2, No. 2.


By: Gutcheon, Jeffrey

Editor Notes: The relationship between the design characteristics — the"look" — of the quilts of a given era and that period's availableand popular materials has been much noted but little studied.One reason for this is the range of scholarship required in anumber of fields, not all related, to make any sort of reasonablejudgments in the matter. More, many seemingly find it easier to apply the skills needed to see and understand thoserelationships to the work of the past than that of the present,an example of a psychological predilection intruding on aprocess which logically should have no temporal boundaries.Jeffrey Gutcheon has been involved in the late 20th century's quilt revival since its inception, first as artist and quiltmaker,then as designer and producer of materials specificallyconceived for the quiltmaker, and as a perceptive columnist,quilts and materials his subject matter. His training asarchitect and designer gave him skills additional to hisnatural ones to bring to his quilts and materials. His earlyand continuing involvement in the commercial world of quiltkit and cloth production gave him a particular knowledge ofthat industry's business and aesthetic history. In the article which follows, he considers the interrelatedeffects of textile industry trends and practices and the schools,styles and fabric choices of contemporary quilt making. Mr.Gutcheon discusses also the effects of these on modern quiltaesthetics.

Author Notes: Jeffrey Gutcheon earned a B.A. from Amherst College and aB. Arch. from MIT where he taught design in the late 1960sand early 1970s. Mr. Gutcheon first became interested in quiltsas a potential art form, "an opportunity to work with patternand color," and began designing and making quilts in 1971.One of his early works, "Card Tricks," was published in 1971 in McCall's Needlework and Craft magazine. In 1975 he foundedGutcheon Patchworks, Inc., which marketed quilt kits of hisdesign. In 1982 his book Diamond Patchwork was published,and in the next year he founded The American ClassicLine(TM) of all-cotton fabrics. His column "Not for Shopkeepers Only" has appeared since 1982 in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. He is the former President of the Board of Trustees ofthe Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and continues to servethe school as an advisory trustee. His talents extend also to music; he has played jazz and rock piano professionally, has had two books on rock piano technique published, and is one ofthe authors of the Broadway show, "Ain't Misbehavin'!"