By: Bets Ramsey
Prior to major exhibitions of non-traditional quilts, between 1950 and 1970 certain artists began to adopt and incorporate various quilting techniques in their work, coinciding with a new awareness of the value of women’s work and an acceptance of fiber as an art medium. This paper notes the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Bauhaus philosophy and recognizes several fiber artists of the twentieth century. I single out seven significant artists who are pioneers in creating quilts as art pieces and whose teaching, exhibiting, and writing have affected and stimulated a wide audience: Charles and Rubynelle Counts, Jean Ray Laury, Alma Lesch, Joan Lintault, Therese May, and Katherine West phal. My sources include published literature, letters, lectures by and interviews with the subjects, personal acquaintance, craft organization affiliation, and my own experience as a critic/reviewer of art and craft exhibitions. While it may seem daring and new, the art quilt of the 1990s has a history which is directly related to the artist quilters of the 1950s and 1960s and to even earlier decades.