Thursday, April 19, 2012

Isn't There Room for Everyone?

Nearly twenty years ago I decided to try and recreate in fiber an American bullfrog. Friends didn't get my quest for the perfect fabric. I entered it into my guild's show not because it was a great quilt but because it scared me. While I was volunteering at the show as a "white glove lady," a woman seeing the show turned the corner and upon seeing my quilt said quite loudly, "Well I guess they will let any piece of s--t in this show." The comment hurt. However, a friend who was also a white glove volunteer, quickly ran up to me and said, "I'll trip her and you can kick her on the way down." I will forever be indebted to her but it also made me more sensitive to what I say at quilt shows.

I have strong opinions. I can be as catty as the next person and probably better than most. However, I don't get it when it comes to creating quilts. Over the years, I have listened to so many people express the opinion that a "real" quilt can only be done by hand. Lately, people have been talking disparagingly about the Modern Quilt movement on the QuiltArt list. Other people feel that art quilts can only be made with hand dyed fabric making those who use commercially manufactured fabrics feel they need to justify their choice. Are these comment so that we can feel superior? How does this help the cause?

I have a cartoon in my studio by J.C. Duffy who creates the syndicated comic strip "The Fusco Brothers" and has written and had comics in The New Yorker. Anyway, in the comic a guy is talking to a woman in a bar and he says, "Actually, I went into the comics because I wanted to be a part of one of the three uniquely American art forms- the other two being jazz and quilting...I didn't have the ear for jazz, and I didn't have the stomach for the dog-eat-dog, back-stabbing rat race of quilting."

Physicist David Bohm, in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, say that despite the apparent separateness of things, everything in the universe is a seamless extension of everything else. This doesn't mean that we are not unique individuals. Rather, we are like the separate whirlpools and eddies that form into a river, each distinct from every other, each whirling at a different, at a different angle--but all part of the same river.

So I would like to live in a world where everyone's creativity is embraced. You want to recreate Civil War quilts, go for it! You want to make art quilts with your own designs, go for it! Take classes, go for it! Study at home, go for it! And so on... I don't have to like it all but I do want it out there because in my mind, it's all good. It keeps the art of quiltmaking alive and we are all part of the same river. Now I'll get off my soapbox and go finish a quilt.


  1. Thanks! Somehow I knew we would be on the same page. Hugs.

  2. I love this post! I'm kind of new to quilting and am dumbstruck when I hear someone criticize someone else's work. I've decided we just don't hear the other 98% of the people who are celebrating with us.

  3. Very good point. Amen to individuality!

  4. I love your frog! I do wonder where people get the nerve some days. Thanks for sharing.

  5. love your frog also.. We are all perfect, there for our art is perfect.. It is how we share with others, and our view of the world... Hey, the sun is up and the day begins, make it wonderful. And hug a frog!

  6. Karen, I agree. I don't understand why some people are so judgmental. I saw some of these modern quilt guild pieces at IQF and met one of the young designers who is designing fabulous fabric that needs to be showcased this way. I always save "vive la differnce".

    BTW, I love your frog.

  7. Yes! I love this post - some of the comments on the Quiltart list almost made me cringe. I think anything that encourages new and/or young quilters is a good thing!

    1. It's so good to know that I wasn't alone in my opinion. Hugs, Karen


Love comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.