Art Quilt Retrospective 

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The art quilt broke all the rules and created a new path   

For more than 50 years, the art quilt movement has been breaking new ground. Today, thousands of artists and collectors around the world are passionate about this art form. As a celebration of our upcoming 30th anniversary, SAQA wanted to recognize the art quilt movement’s triumphs and accomplishments as well as document the talents of our trail-blazing artists.

The history books tell us that the “craft” of quilting was rediscovered in the tumultuous 1960s. As the mainstream art world expanded its definition of what materials and forms could be considered art, artists embraced the quilt format as a legitimate means of creative expression. This was the birth of a new and exciting art form.

Since 1989, SAQA has been working diligently to raise awareness and appreciation of the art quilt and the artists who make them. A key aspect of SAQA’s overall mission is to document and record the progress of the art quilt movement.

Through a public submission process, artists from around the world were asked to submit their best art quilts, one from each decade. With the generous support of our donors, the Art Quilt Retrospective project now includes a beautiful publication Art Quilts Unfolding: 50 years of Innovative Art and two traveling exhibitions. 


About the Book

AQR CoverArt Quilts Unfolding: 50 years of Innovation 

From 1965 through today, the art quilt movement has grown to become one of the most exciting art forms of the 21st century. Until now, there has not been a comprehensive, chronological history of the studio art quilt, which has become an international phenomenon.

Published by Schiffer Books, Art Quilts Unfolding offers full-color images of 400 masterpieces along with engaging interviews and profiles of 58 influential artists, key leaders, important events, and significant collections. Organized by decade, an additional 182 international artists' works are featured.

An introduction by Janet Koplos, former senior editor of Art in America, and a conclusion by Ulysses Grant Dietz, emeritus chief curator of the Newark Museum, help us to understand the impact and the future of the art.  

available for purchase in saqa store »


About the Exhibitions

Modern Inspirations coverModern Inspirations — Art Quilts from the 1970s Through Today

This exhibition (which premiered at QuiltCon 2018) includes 30 iconic historic and contemporary quilts by artists from around the world, selected by The Modern Quilt Guild.

The Art Quilt and Modern Quilt movements, two important developments in the continuum of quilt and art history, are deeply interwoven. Modern quilt makers have brought a fresh new aesthetic to contemporary quilt making. With references to art and quilt history, it is not surprising that many characteristics of modern quilts are also found in art quilts from the 1970s to the present.

Exhibition DetailsView the QuiltsPurchase Catalog




Premiering at Quilt Festival Houston in 2019, Layered & Stitched: 50 Years of Innovative Art is a showcase of 50 art quilts by renowned master artists. Seminal works show the evolution of the art quilt from the earliest pioneers creating through to today’s artists experimenting with new forms, new materials, and new digital technologies.

Trace the development of this exciting art form as it started from isolated makers, primarily in Ohio and California, into an international movement involving thousands of artists spanning the globe.

Exhibition Details



Make History

Thank you to the following supporters!

Nancy Bavor
Helen Blumen
Lisa Ellis
Marvin Fletcher

Ralph James
Frank Klein
Maureen Hendricks

Dorothy Raymond

Art Patrons
Karey Bresenhan, Eliza Brewster, Carol Churchill, Noriko Endo, Hsin-Chen Lin, John Lefelhocz, Shirley Neary, Sandra Sider, Jean Tutolo, Adrienne Yorinks

Anonymous, Ludmila Aristova, Teresa Barkley, Linda Colsh, Maryline Collioud-Robert, Jane Dunnewold, Nancy Erickson, Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Jim Hay, Harue Konishi, Dianne Firth, Kristin La Flamme, Judy Langille, Judith E. Martin, Therese May, Eleanor A. McCain, Alicia Merrett, Pam RuBert, Dinah Sargeant, Joan Schulze, Martha Sielman, Meiny Vermaas-van der Heide, Nancy Whittington, Charlotte Ziebarth

B.J. Adams, Pamela G Allen, Peggy Brown, Tafi Brown, Fenella Davies, Heather Dubreuil, Linda Filby-Fisher, Gloria Hansen, Judy Hooworth, Patricia Kennedy-Zafred, Judith Larzelere, Linda MacDonald, Velda Newman, Alison Schwabe, Daphne Taylor, Nelda Warkentin, Carol Watkins, Hope Wilmarth