Now Trending: Traditional Quilting Methods With Modern Flair


Modern quilt makers Sarah Nsikak, Julian Jamaal Jones, Martha Clippinger, and Adam Pogue speak on the renaissance of their craft, and how they create unique textiles using upcycled and found materials.

modern quilt maker Sarah Nsikak made this quilt with fish and other symbols

Quilting Leads To Familial Ties


Brooklyn-based designer Sarah Nsikak is grateful for the growing interest and appreciation in quilting, which is introducing her beloved practice to a greater audience. “For the first time in a while, people want to understand how things are made,” says Nsikak, for whom quilting is personal. When she was a young child, her grandmother immigrated to the states from Nigeria and looked to quilting as a form of communication. “She taught me how to sew, and I think that established a new language and storytelling of sorts.” Her piece It May As Well Be Spring is made of leftover scraps from her fashion brand, La Réunion, and presents an amalgamation of symbols, like a fish and chair, which are meaningful to the creator yet still relatable to viewers.

modern quilt maker Julian Jamaal Jones made these three abstract textiles

Time For Rhythmic Rouse


It was during his MFA studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art that Julian Jamaal Jones pivoted from fashion photography to fiber arts and quilting—a craft his grandmother practiced in her youth. It’s that kind of comforting familiarity that Jones surmises could be behind the artform’s rise. “I’m on a mission to rewrite the rules of quilting and create my own unique verbiage within the medium,” says the Indianapolis-based artist. Jones’ practice implements abstract forms and vibrant colors, bypassing preconceptions and opening a dialogue around his Black experience. Take the three pieces here: Inspired by gospel music’s rhythms, lyrics and harmonies, the movement of each design mimics song beats and the feelings they evoke. The materials are as dynamic as the patterns themselves, with cottons, denims and plush velvets existing alongside one another.

checkered pink and checkered white and blue quit by Martha Clippinger

Quilting With Communal Comforts


It was in 2003 when then-art student Martha Clippinger viewed a quilt exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York that she realized this homespun craft could hold court among fine artwork. Fast-forward to today, and the Durham, North Carolina, quilter’s own works are now displayed in museums and galleries. Cuadricula Quilt, shown hanging, and Iona’s Covid Quilt, on the table, exemplify Clippinger’s keen observation of color. “I’ve always been interested in quilts as a way to discuss ideas about pattern, symmetry and, in particular, tonal relationships,” she says. “I share Josef Albers’ interest in studying the effects of color through direct observation. Making quilts with found materials is about looking at what’s in front of you and testing combinations to create dynamic arrangements of color.”

quilt resembling a checkers board by Adam Pogue

Basic Instincts Are Key For Handmade Quilting


For Los Angeles creative Adam Pogue, a handmade quilt represents the ultimate gesture. “They serve a purpose; they keep us warm. And for as long as we use them, they remind us of the maker.” It’s in this spirit that he creates his textile works, like the one featured in the historic 19th-century Dr. Oliver Bronson House in Hudson, New York. The quilt, which depicts a landscape-inspired motif framed by bands of color, was originally made for Commune Design’s shop. It was crafted using a clothing designer’s cast-off hemp linen and dyed to the perfect hues. Pogue begins each work with a general idea and palette but admits he “never has it all figured out” before starting. Instead, he improvises as he goes, laying out the individual elements on the floor, rearranging and re-dyeing as desired.

All Photos by William and Susan Brinson