Cutting Edge, an exhibit of quilts by Contemporary QuiltArt Association members at the Washington State History Museum

cutting edge: art quilts start a fire

By Patricia Belyea

TACOMA WA  I made my very first quilt in the summer of 2007. A few months later, with my quilting ardor kindled, I drove to Tacoma to see the Gee’s Bend exhibit at TAM. At the exact same time, there was an art quilt show next door at Washington State History Museum. 

Quilts from The Evolution of the Art Quilt exhibition, 2007

The design and textures of the quilts in the History Museum exhibit, entitled The Evolution of the Art Quilt, set my design heart on fire. Created by members of Contemporary QuiltArt Association (CQA), I was mesmerized! I remember getting home that night and busily making micro inserts for my latest project.

Last Saturday I was back at Washington State History Museum, this time for Quilt Art Symposium. The one-day event included three speakers in the downstairs auditorium and a gorgeous luncheon on the mezzanine level.

Quilt Art Symposium, April 2016

In the early afternoon, the enthusiastic group moved upstairs to the fifth floor of the Museum. Here the newly opened Cutting Edge—Art Quilts of Washington State exhibit filled a 5,000 sq ft gallery. The quilts, made by members of CQA, glowed under soft spotlights.

Cutting Edge—Art Quilts of Washington State, 2016 Cutting Edge—Art Quilts of Washington State, 2016 Cutting Edge—Art Quilts of Washington State, 2016

Twenty-one of the CQA artists were on hand to talk about their work. Conversations about their concepts and techniques abounded.

Cutting Edge—Art Quilts of Washington State, 2016

This important exhibit runs through August 21. The impressive array of art quilts holds appeal for anyone interested in artistic expression, especially textile lovers.

I expect that neophyte and seasoned quilters alike will be inspired once they see this show. For me, my passion for exploring innovative piecing was ignited once again. To see all 69 quilts in the exhibit, with commentary by the artists +click here

Notes by Patricia: I have chosen to omit captions for all the quilts and artists, and refer you to the above link. Also, no photography is allowed in the exhibit. I received permission to take photos from the Museum for this blog post.

Quilts from Cutting Edge, Art Quilts of Washington State, 2016


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3 comments


  • Andrea Bursaw
    thank you thank you thank you……for sharing the gallery of these inspiring art quilts. The photos effectively bring me to the exhibition, and it is GOOD.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Sue—Seeing quilts hanging in a museum is a great way to appreciate the work and get inspired. I hope you make it to the show. PB

  • Sue Smith
    Thanks for sharing about the quilt show at the museum in Tacoma. Really makes me want to go see it in person.

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