For artist Kristin Beck, the beauty of art lies not only in its aesthetic appeal but also in the conversations that it sparks.
“It could be as simple as, ‘I like this. Do you?’ Or the bigger conversation of what you feel that artist was trying to say or the context or what this means in your life—anything like that,” the Coconut Creek resident says. “[Art] has the ability to bridge a gap. Humans need other humans to interact with, and I think art allows that to happen.”
Bridging gaps is what she and Broward College associate professor of English Laura McDermott Matheric have done since they launched the Guild for Art and Literature in Coconut Creek in January. Since then, GAL art shows and events have taken place in such venues as the North Regional/Broward County Library and Swirl Wine Bistro. In October, an exhibit called “Art and Community” showcased a variety of work from Creek artists at the Community Center.
GAL’s latest conversation starter is “Marvelous Modern Minis,” an exhibit of modern quilts. The idea came from Beck’s involvement in the South Florida Modern Quilt Guild, a chapter of the national Modern Quilt Guild. She hopes the modern needlework and design, showing at the library, continues to create community through art.
Coconut Creek Lifestyle asked Beck a few questions about quilting and the exhibit.
What is artistic about quilting?
Quilting is a different beast, if you will, because it is still art, but you’re really not always making things to hang on the wall. You’re making things that are utilitarian. They are still art pieces, and they can cross that line of textile art or fiber art. Quilters don’t see themselves necessarily in that world, and textile artists don’t necessarily see themselves as quilters. But there’s a lot of crossover, I think.
What differentiates modern quilting from traditional quilting?
A quilt is three layers sewn together. The modern aesthetic differs from traditional quilting in design—not how it’s composed. The language of quilting [includes] blocks that all have their story to tell—where they came from and who used it. In a modern aesthetic, you’re going to take something like that and blow it up really big and play with the scale of it or skew it in a different way. It focuses more on incorporating saturated and solid colors, using negative space and playing with the scale of a traditional quilt.
Do you have a particular quilting style?
An element of modern quilting work is improvisational piecing. [Traditionally,] you may have a beautiful block that repeats 20 times in a grid—it’s all carefully measured and cut, and all the corners are precise. With the improvisational style, you’re not being as precise; there’s a lot more play involved. Everything can look a little wonky, but that’s part of the freedom of the design. My style is more improv. I’m not really following a pattern. I may take something traditional, like a specific block, and play with that idea and incorporate it in some way.
What do you hope art viewers get out of this exhibit?
I hope they understand that quilts are not a blanket at all. Sometimes, that’s the perception. … They’re also works of art. They also tell stories that will last many lifetimes. If you keep them and pass them on and use them, it broadens their reach and their ability to share not only the maker’s story, but the [stories] of people who have owned it.
“Marvelous Modern Minis”
When: Nov. 2-Dec. 19; reception Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Second floor of North Regional/Broward College Library, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd.
What: Members of the South Florida Modern Quilt Guild show off 25 mini-quilts, no larger than 20 inches by 20 inches.
Pictured above: Charlotte Noll’s “Stars and Butterflies Around the Night Sky” and other quilts will be displayed in Coconut Creek this month.