Modern Quilting Blog

Minimalism is a popular art movement that began decades ago and has since held a place in modern design and style. It’s characterized by simple design elements that keep the focus on the object. You’ll find many minimalistic quilts that showcase a bold and eye-catching design, despite having only a few elements involved in the piece. 

Many people interested in modern quilting utilize minimalism for maximum design impact. For those interested in crafting quilts with minimalistic designs, there are a few characteristics of this type of style you should be familiar with. We’ll go over some of the basics of minimalism in art and quilting.

What Is Minimalism?

Minimalism is defined by its simplicity and sparseness. The ultimate goal is to use only a few elements to create maximum effect. Minimalism is apparent in many different forms, including visual art, music, film, architecture, literature, and other types of media.

The History of Minimalism

Minimalism is a relatively recent art movement that began post World War ll in Western culture. The movement was particularly prominent in American culture during the 1960s and 1970s. However, minimalism is still popular today in contemporary design and style. 

As a reaction against Abstract Expressionism, minimalism rejected metaphors and focused on the physical materials used while creating simple works. Minimalists adopted the viewpoint that a piece of art shouldn’t reference other things, instead, it should be seen only as itself. The resulting works are stripped away of unnecessary visuals pertaining to outside associations.

Donald Judd

The Characteristics of Minimalism

Because minimalistic art is self-referential, the physical characteristics of the art object are emphasized. Minimalist artwork is also often characterized by

  • Hard edges
  • Precise lines
  • Blocks of color
  • Repeating geometric shapes
  • Limited color 
Lee Ufan at Lisson Gallery

Prominent Minimalist Artists

Some of the most prominent minimalist artists include Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and Sol Lewitt. Stella was one of the first artists credited to the minimalist art movement. His work “Black Paintings” were innovative of this time and rejected the romanticism seen in Abstract Expressionism. Minimalist sculptors, Judd and Lewitt, were also some of the most prominent emerging minimalist artists. Here are some examples of minimalist art.

What Does Minimalism Look Like in Quilting?

Quilted skirts and dresses are popular clothing garments. From patchwork dresses that utilize scraps of fabric to high-end minimalist quilted skirts, there are a variety of options out there. Skirts and dresses generally don’t have the thickness that quilted coats have. With these types of garments, you might find that the fabric and construction are more lightweight and breathable than quilted coats and jackets.

Quilting and Colors in Fashion

Minimalism in quilting follows the same principles as minimalism in art, as they are carefully crafted with few choice elements. In modern quilting, minimalism is often used with other characteristics, like the use of negative space mixed with limited colors and clean, geometric lines.

You’ll find minimalistic styles are used to create bold quilts. However, quilters need to pay careful consideration given to color, shape, and pattern to get the desired effect. If you’re looking to create a minimalistic quilt, you’ll want to pay close attention to the colors, patterns, and textures of your fabric. You’ll need to be selective about what you choose, as the goal is to do more with less. 

With limited elements on your quilt, you want your fabric choices to make a bold statement. Minimalism in quilting often shows off bold blocks of color, so you’ll want to choose colors that stand out. You should also keep in mind neutral shades when choosing colors for your minimalistic quilt. Typically, there is negative space on minimalistic quilts, often chosen to be white fabric or another neutral color. If you plan on having multiple colors, you’ll also want to consider a complementary color palette.

Minimalism in quilting also uses a lot of precise geometric shapes and lines. Even with simple shapes like squares and rectangles, the paired-down style of minimalism emphasizes the preciseness of the shapes. 

Minimalism has been a popular style for years. From Frank Stella’s minimalistic paintings in the 60s to other media forms of minimalism, minimalism has become an important art movement. Over time, the art movement has moved toward other mediums, such as quilting. Simple and bold are two defining characteristics of minimalism in quilting. With an emphasis on clean lines and few elements, using minimalism in quilting leads to bold and modern finished pieces. If you’re interested in learning more about quilting, you might consider taking one of our classes. In some of these classes, you’ll be able to learn more about how to successfully integrate color and other minimalistic characteristics into your quilts.