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Foil and Fiber: Contemporary Quilts at Visions Art Museum

By Elisha Neubauer

An art museum,of quilts? If quilting makes you think of eighteenth-century housewives sitting by the hearth, think again. Visions Art Museum in San Diego is dedicated to creating an international quilt and textile community through exhibitions, education, and engaging programs.

Quilt San Diego, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting quilt-making as an art form, is the force behind Visions Art Museum: Contemporary Quilts + Textiles. The non-profit operated from its inception in 1985 until 2007 without a physical building- hosting exhibitions at neighboring museums. After the brick and mortar location was constructed in a community build, they began to present 16 exhibitions per year, offering a platform to artists from around the globe. The pieces on display in the museum vary in material, ranging from hand-dyed fabric to copper foil, and are shown in the same manner you would expect from a museum displayed on the walls, like paintings.

Given the immense range of materials, what defines a piece as a quilt? "At Visions Art Museum: Contemporary Quilts + Textiles, the only requirement that defines a quilt is that it be composed of at least two layers that are stitched or fastened together," says Beth Smith, Executive Director of the Museum. "The processes and techniques are endless." She goes on to say that quilt and textile museums, institutions and organizations that exhibit or preserve quilts all have different definitions of what makes a quilt.

With so many variations to the art form, quilting has experienced a resurgence. According to a study that was published in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine in 2010, there are twenty-one million artists, crafters, collectors and educators who participate in quilt related activities within the quilting industry at any given time. These artisans produce over 3.6 billion dollars in revenue yearly in the United States alone.

The Museum offers a free, docent-led tour on the first Saturday of every month and hosts the Visions Critique Group on the last Friday of every month. Pop in and stroll around. The quilts and textiles on display might just surprise you.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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