Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ideas and Multiple Discovery

Ideas are like rainbows. If the conditions are right and paying attention, you are rewarded.

I got an email from someone I don't know who I have decided is concerned for me (attitude is everything) even though she feels I have "stolen" an idea from someone. I have been teaching "my" quilt-as-you-go technique internationally for more than 20 years. I readily admit that I did not invent quilt-as-you-go and my version is also based on my love of strip and scrap quilts. I simply put it all together in my own way. About five years into teaching "Bending Quilt-As-You-Go," someone asked if I knew of Ann Bauer's work, which I had not. She said that while our work was similar in construction (quilt-as-you-go), she also noticed differences. From that point on, I avoided Ann's work (sorry Ann, just did not want to be influenced). I also suspect that this might be what the email is referring. Although I cannot be sure because the email does not share the "who."

Multiple discovery- a term used in the scientific community whenever two or more scientists in different parts of the work come up with the same idea at the same time- is something I think also occurs all the time in all fields. One example from the quilt world involves Kathy Schmidt and Rayna Gillman who were both working on books about "no rules" or "free-form" quilting at the same time. I believe that ideas are out there floating around looking for people who are open to them (see my quote). Ideas are limitless. We just have to be open and do the work.

My technique was born because I wanted people to keep making quilts. I kept hearing about too many UFOs, not being able to master machine quilts, but not having the funds to pay for quilting, etc. I can remember the day the idea came to me and how I could not sleep until I figured it out. I love those magical moments that don't happen often enough, but just enough to keep me working. My technique is now being used to create unique shoes in Georgia (country not state).  An artist in Almaty continues to make a living selling potholders using my technique. It makes me happy because creating is a good thing.  So what ideas have sprung up into your head?


  1. You stolen?
    Aren't you the same person who refused to pay her bill to several local artists?

    1. No, not me. I have no idea who this is or why you would think it is me.


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