Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The art quilter's conundrum

The word "quilt" makes most people think of bed coverings. Even the dictionary agrees. Quilt synonyms include:
  • comforter
  • bedspread
  • eiderdown
  • duvet
  • coverlet
  • counterpane
The more I work on quilts for the wall, and the more I edge toward making art quilts, the more I realize a good term for this type of work does not yet exist, or at least I haven't found it.

When someone sees something I've done and says, "I want something like that, but for my bed," all I can think of is, That means I'll have to wrangle a huge piece of multi-layered fabric back and forth and around under the needle of my domestic sewing machine for hours, to get it quilted.

Maybe I should call my emerging work "Contemporary Tapestry" or "Stitched Collage" (though I haven't yet made anything that would fall in that category). But I have at least one objection to the term "Contemporary Tapestry" -- I don't think the term would stand the test of time. Fifty (or fewer) years from now "Contemporary Tapestry" will be as contemporary as "your grandmother's quilt" is now.

Let's see, what are the options? (working on developing a comprehensive list):
  • "Contemporary Tapestry"
  • "Stitched Collage"
  • "Textile Collage"
  • "Fiber Collage"
  • "Images in Fiber"
  • "Textile Poetry" (now that I think on it, don't like the word textile; sounds too hard)
  • "Woven Collage"
  • "Fiber Art Tapestry"
  • "Textile Tapestry"
  • "Layered Tapestry"
  • "Vertical Quilt" (it's okay to get a little silly while brainstorming)
Tapestry synonyms (and other related ideas):
  • arras- a wall hanging of heavy handwoven fabric with pictorial designs ; too specific
  • curtain, drapery
  • dosser - this according to one online thesaurus, but look up this word, and you'll see it's definitely not what I'm looking for
  • wall hanging - better in the way of meaning, but needs a more interesting modifier than "wall"
  • banner
Here's a question: Would a term that just about everyone would have to look up be useful? No? I agree.

Collage synonyms:
  • collection
  • combination
  • assortment
  • hodgepodge
  • medley - the only one here that has any hope
  • mixture
  • hotchpotch
Maybe what it will come down to is this: Create my own terminology, and explain it in a subheading. Makes me feel I'm stumbling over my toes, just to think of it.

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