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  • "Deep Silence" Quilt by Katriina Flensburg
    Jul 06, 2016

Quilting Art Today

Quilting Art Today at the American Swedish Institute, Showcases Historic and Contemporary Quilts from Local, National and International Artists

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Quilting Art Today is a seminal exhibition at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) featuring contemporary and traditional quilts from local and national independent quilters, in addition to work by artists from Sweden and around the world. Organized with Minnesota Quilters, Inc., and on view at the ASI, June 18 to October 23, 2016,Quilting Art Today emphasizes the evolving relationship between quilters and materials; techniques and textiles.  Quilting Art Today–The Nordic Quilts (August 20–October 23), a second part of the exhibition, adds works from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. They will be displayed throughout the ASI’s historic Turnblad Mansion, at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.  For details, visit or call 612-871-4907.

The ASI’s Quilting Art Today exhibition includes large and small quilts, quilted garments, portrait, statement, art and other quilts, with samples from many quilting styles and practitioners. For example, Swedish textile artist Katriina Flensburg specializes in contemporary art quilts, while “Minnesota Hail to Thee,” highlights standout work from a Minnesota Quilters Challenge competition. The Minnesota Quilt Project will also lend historic quilts from their “MQ” Quilts private collection. Voyage Art Textiles is an international collective that creates themed quilts/wall hangings.  Mary Chalmers, from Willmar, MN, is an award-winning quilter known for adapting traditional designs.  Lola Jenkins from Nebraska and Joseph Mallard from Louisville, KT, have created socio-political quilts, including Jenkin’s “Prince” quilt and Mallard’s “Obama” quilt.  Melissa Sobotka, from Texas, contributes realism quilts.  Arden Harrison-Bushnell does fantasy tapestries, and Janet Hagberg, in collaboration with the Russian Museum of Art, creates quilts about the strength of women from the Old Testament. Both are Minnesota artists.

From its humble origins as a craft to create a practical bed covering, quilting has been transformed into a multi-faceted art form practiced worldwide.   Quilts exploring abstract and representational visual art have emerged from multiple cultures, drawing on unique themes and techniques. Some artists practice traditional hand quilting techniques, while others use sewing machines. Many traditional quilters rely on colorful fabrics to assemble scenes and patterns, while contemporary artists may use beads, altered fibers, dyes and other non-traditional materials. Quilters continue to create handstitched home heirlooms, but in today’s dynamic 21st Century, quilting has become a form of artistic expression and a vehicle for social commentary. 

Quilting Art Today–The Nordic Quilts, is a second part of the exhibition runningAugust 20–October 23, which will add a medley ofcontemporary Nordic quilts by artists from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland,  in addition to works from Swedish artist Katriina Flensburg on display.


Special Tours

Brunch with the Curator: Let’s Talk Quilts!

10 a.m.–noon.; July 21, August 10, September 14, October 13

Join long-time ASI Curator Curt Pederson for a morning tour exploring Quilting Art Today, followed by a private, light brunch in the Stuga room. This is a chance to learn about the exhibition curating process and hear from local quilting experts.

An Afternoon with Quilter Mary Chalmers

1:30-3:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 18 & 25

Join Mary Chalmers, an expert quilter from Willmar, MN, who is featured in Quilting Art Today, for an exclusive tour to learn about her inspiration and techniques.


Blue Ribbon Stitches: Quilts & Needlecraft

Wed., August 3, 6:30-8 p.m.

Learn the secrets of veteran Minnesota State Fair Quilt and Stitching judges. Join Kate Eelkema, David Shattuck and Susi McCune as they share tips about fine-tuning techniques and judging criteria, and discuss concerns about passing on the craft. Needlecraft entries can include yarn, fabric and fiber and are an integral part of State Fair tradition.  Tickets:  $10; includes complimentary ASI museum admission.  Visit to register.

 THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE (ASI) is a vibrant arts and cultural organization, museum, and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  In 2013, the Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.”

ASI Museum Hours:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Noon–5 p.m.; Wednesday, Noon–8 p.m.; Saturday. 10 a.m. –5 p.m.; Sunday. Noon–5 p.m., closed Monday. Museum Admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5  ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under. Open late on Wednesday! The ASI, the ASI Museum Store and FIKA are all open until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and closed on Monday. For more information, visit ASImn.orgorcall 612-871-4907.

FIKA, ASI’s award winning café, is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. Noon–5 p.m.; and Sunday, 11a.m.–5 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. on Wednesday with happy hour specials. Outdoor dining is available during the summer.  ASI Museum Store is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and on Sunday, noon–5 p.m.  Open until 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

SUPPORTERS - This exhibition was produced by the American Swedish Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota and was organized with the participation and assistance of the Minnesota Quilters, Inc.  Support for ASI activities is also provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Karin L. Larson, and ASI contributing members and donors.  This activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Artists and Cultural Heritage Fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.  We appreciate the generous support.

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