Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Quilt Shop in Indy--Crimson Tate

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit a new quilt shop on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis called Crimson Tate. The owner, Heather Givans, is a young, enthusiastic "modern" quilter. I have asked her to answer a few questions about "modern quilting." I'll include the questions and answers at the bottom of this post. Heather sent me a bit of information about the shop via her blog. Here are some of the pictures I took while I visited. (Oh, I should tell you, too, that the shop is located between a chocolate shop and a cupcake shop! What could be better...fabric, chocolate, and cupcakes!)

This is Heather (the proprietor). The fabrics in front of her are beautiful wax blocked printed textiles from "the shores of Africa's West Coast." (Of course, I had to buy some of them!) She says, "Beyond being inspirational in color and aesthetic, these textiles are being put to good use. 10% of the sales of these fabrics will benefit a local Indianapolis not-for-profit, JabuAfrica." Read more about that here--
Little vignettes are scattered around the shop displaying fabrics, books, patterns, and collectibles...
The shop carries several contemporary fabric choices and (according to Heather) has more fabric coming in all the time. Notions, patterns, and classes are also available.
The shop is holding a grand opening on Friday, October 7, beginning at 2:00 p.m. You can find out more about the shop at You will also find links to Heather's Etsy shop, blog, and the Crimson Tate Facebook page on the site.

On my trip to visit my son in Arkansas, I stopped by two quilt shops (one in Missouri and one in Arkansas); both had closed. I am saddened by the loss of these quilt shops (and many others); but for them to stay in business, we must support them. In this time when many local quilt shops are closing, it is refreshing to have a new shop open. Good luck Crimson Tate!

I asked Heather, "As a "modern quilt" shop owner, what is your definition of a "modern quilter," and what sets your "modern quilt" shop apart from other (maybe more traditional) quilt shops?" 

Heather answered with the following... 
"I'd love to address this issue. 

In the 1960s, the art world shifted from modern to post modern. And now, a constant debate of whether are we still living in the post modern era or whether we have moved into a new movement that we can't yet identify exists.

My opinion is that in quilting, in particular, pattern and fabric design, has taken a turn toward the highly designed. We have transitioned. In more modern fabric, the textile itself is like a work of art. There is an intricacy (or albeit simplicity) to the piece of cloth that in its elements of art work beautifully together. It is a complex mix of design, color, scale, and repeat. This isn't to say that you don't find intricacy in a beautiful piece of French toile from the 16th century or a civil war reproduction fabric rendered in two tones. But what you do find across the board in modern fabric is a bold, sophisticated pattern that is influenced by contemporary design. That boldness can also be found in the 100s of shades of solids that urge unconventional quilt piecing and top stitching. Quilt patterns tend to lend themselves to showcase vignettes of these textiles rather than complex pieces that tell a story. I completely appreciate the double wedding ring or grandmother's garden as a work of art. No doubt, there is an amazing artistry in those works. So whether you consider the time in which we are living a new, more modern era in quilting, or you consider it a natural progression and rehashing of what has already been done, it doesn't matter. The truth is that the amount of sophisticated fabric available to us is rich and abundant and I want to see it all and be overwhelmed in its opulence."

What is your "take" on "modern quilting?" What do you think? Comments are much appreciated. 


Kathleen Loomis said...

Perhaps I misinterpret Heather's remarks, but I read this to say that modern quilting is fabric-driven. This upsets me. I would hate to make too many quilts in which the fabric designer is doing more of the design work than I am.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathleen,

Truly, I see the fabric, whether it be contemporary or of the 100s of shades of solids, as a new set of tools the artist (the quilter) can use to create something beautiful. These tools enable the sewists to take their ideas in new directions. The use of vintage and recycled materials is exciting as well. It is this mixed media approach that I think is so exciting about contempoaray quilting.

My love of contemporary design in fabric is a new vehicle for expression, that's all.


Karoda said...

heather's last statement sums it up for me...

Designing one's own fabrics would get around Kathleen's concern, but I see Heather saying it poses more of a challenge to use the designer's fabrics in the art of making...not just making art.