My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Organic, Modern, Graphic Quilts! OMG quilts, a new idea?

Helen Godden is an Australian quilt artist (find my podcast interview with her here), who has been working with a couple of colleagues - Suzanne Hyland and Michelle Pearson - on a new idea.  She calls it OMG!  This stands for organic, modern, graphic quilts - a variation within the modern quilting movement.  There is a OMG Facebook group that was started in April and it's been growing with exponential speed.  Currently there are 895 members.

I'll let Helen tell you more about the birth of the idea:
"Teaching at Handi Quilter academy Utah 2014, Suzanne and I were discussing the sweeping popularity of the Modern Quilting style. For me I love the space and importance given to lots of free-motion quilting but ...anyone who knows me knows...I don't piece! Piecing seems to be fairly integral to Modern quilting.
As always my mouth engages before my brain has slipped into gear and I thought out loud and said "Why does Modern have to be pieced? Why can't it be more organic?" I jumped up, grabbed a marker and wrote OMG in  large letters on the white board and announced 'Organic Modern Graphic quilts.'"
Helen presented the idea at the Canberra Modern Quilt Group in April and it was suggested she start a Facebook group.

The idea behind the Facebook group is to encourage members to make OMG quilts, Helen calls it,"a non-profit quilting stimulator".  There are quite strict guidelines as to what constitutes an OMG piece (appliqué, non-pictorial, size restrictions, quilting integral to the design etc) but, if it fits within the criteria, it is accepted as an OMG quilt and awarded an OMG order of creation number.

Helen's OMG quilt called OMG #4 UBER, just won first place in the Negative Space category of the Kiama Modern Quilt Show.  OMG quilts #1, #2 and #3 were also all created by Helen, although #3 is now known as 'Onion formerly known as OMG #3', which reflects a guideline change that occurred later on.  OMG #5 was created by founder Michelle Pearson, but from #6 onwards there is a whole variety of creators.

This is Coral's OMG quilt, called OMG #14 I'll be Clammed!  Coral, a quilter living in Australia (find her at @coralquilts on Twitter and Instagram) talks about making it: "I was having a pretty stressful week, so busting out an OMG was a great stress reliever.  I always wanted to make a clamshell quilt, but paper piecing was a lot of work, so I decided to use the raw edge appliqué technique to do it on my OMG instead."

Normally, really strict rules turn me off.  But, as Twyla Tharp talks about in her book "The Creative Habit" sometimes restrictions can really spark the creative juices.  And, judging by the popularity of the group and the number of OMG quilts being made (33 at last count, and this doesn't include the OMG children, which are quilts made from the offcuts and leftovers of the parent OMG), it appeals to other quilters too.

Coral states,"I think the appeal is the freedom of the raw edge appliqué.  Any shape you want to make.  Also you can make them pretty quickly, while still doing some fun and exciting FMQ."

I think another aspect that appeals to me is that this seems to be something new.  A new concept, which is pretty hard to find in this world today.  And I don't mean making appliqué, abstract quilts is new, but the whole OMG group etc is new, just like the modern quilting movement was new and appealing when it first appeared as a concept.

Perhaps it is also the sense of community that in attractive?  I think there is a bit of breakdown in some of the traditional forms of clubs and guilds, and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter groups are replacing that sense of belonging we get from hanging out with people who 'get' what we do.  And how could I forget to mention blogs!  I don't know where I'd be without my blog followers!

So I watched for a little while to get the concept and then I jumped in and decided to make one.  I'm working with the second to largest size allowed, 30 x 40 inches.  My design started with free cut circles but I wanted to make the background an integral part of the design instead of plain fabric (I hate BB's - boring backgrounds), so I cut background pieces out of several different neutral fabrics and one orange/brown linen napkin that just jumped up and demanded in.  These backgrounds were glue basted to the back of the circles and excess cut away to reduce bulk.

Now I'm busy quilting, and I tell you - this much concentrated free motion quilting is really improving my skills!  Once it's done, I'll have to submit it for consideration by HHH (hard hat Helen) and see if it is approved for an OMG number.  It's an interesting process - kinda like seeing if your quilt is juried into a show.  Helen often provides a critique, which I think expands the thought processes about what an OMG quilt is, and what area that particular OMG quilt either excelled in or perhaps needed more work in.

So what do you think about the concept of OMG?  Am I right in thinking that it's something new?  Are you part of OMG, and if you are, what appeals to you about it?  The Facebook group is called OMG quilts - go take a look and let me know your thoughts.


  1. I like that idea very much. I do raw edge stuff heaps along with free motion and I really like this idea. I'm still moving into paint and have now added collage - I'll put up my essay and the photos once they have been examinified :) next week and on the 18th when the finished works have to be put up and talked about by me for 10 mins (torture - I'm much better at writing!) After that I may be able to think straight again !


  2. I'm starting some OMG ideas after seeing it, I like the idea of having constraints to work with, and I also love free motion quilting!


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