Saturday, April 30, 2011

My thoughts....

(I'm blogging this morning to distract myself from the children. I love those little buggers but the hubs has been working TONS lately and I'm tired. Also, the hubs complained about me not getting to his laundry so he did it himself (FINALLY!) except that he washed and DRIED everything with an ink pen. I just spent the better half of my morning cleaning the inside of my dryer. I have a headache now and the kids, well the kids aren't helping.)

I wanted to post my thoughts on what some people/quilters refer to as 'Dumbing Down' quilting.
Quilting /sewing is a creative process. It comes from deep in our souls. It's personal. It's art. You may not do it like your neighbor or like the other girls in the guild but that's ok. Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso are both famous artists but their works are completely different. People don't say Picasso isn't a real artist because he can't paint a human face symmetrically- that's what makes him famous.

Recently a friend showed me a quilt that she had done. The fabrics were ones that I would never have in my stash. The pattern was completely "not ME" But the quilt was....BEAUTIFUL. I looked at it and could appreciate the time and effort that went into making it. I could tell in the way she talked and how she showed it to me that she was very proud of that quilt. I could see the beauty in the quilt even though it wasn't 'my style'. It IS a beautiful quilt.

I've walked the floor at Quilt Market and looked at the special exhibits. There are some AMAZING quilts out there. But most of them are ones that I would never attempt. Most artists have a particular style. Some are abstract others are realistic. It doesn't matter.

I design patterns with one purpose- to fulfill MY needs as a quilter. I started selling them because others were interested in my designs. But I never claim to be an AMAZING designer. My patterns are on the easy side. They are for the 'instant gratification' quilters (like me). But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the paper piecers, the hand stitchers, the traditional quilters. It just means that I prefer a different genre of quilting. Sometimes I might use a technique or a block that has been in the quilting circle for generations. My intent is not to imply that I made up that design. I'm just sharing it with others. If I could give reference to the original designer behind that block, I would. But can anyone tell me who the very first person to make a 9-patch, or a shoo-fly, or an Ohio star block was?

Quilting has been around for-EVER! Mother's taught their daughters and they taught their daughters. They taught their friends. In the quilting world we're all just one huge family and we're sharing basically the same designs over and over with our friends. Nothing is wrong with that. And as one person learns a new technique they might tweak it a little to their liking and that makes it all the more PERSONAL.

I don't tie quilts because it's not my preference. I don't buy lesser fabric because it's not my preference. But I understand those that do because it's their preference. If someone asks my opinion I will share it- but I'm not going to look down on you if you do something different.

This is getting lengthy. I think I better wrap up.

To all those quilters that think people are 'dumbing down' quilting I want you to ask yourself why you quilt? Your answer should be because it brings you peace, joy, and happiness. Now remember that that's what it brings to all the other quilters out there too! Regardless of what style quilting they do. If we all made the same kind of quilts in the same fabrics using the same patterns, quilting would be BORING and no one would do it.

So I say- QUILT LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic- leave a comment.

(p.s.- just got some GREAT news. I'll share next week!)

21 comments:

Yvonne said...

I think you are so right. Every quilt is different as much as we people are different. We all have our preferences. I am sure that in every quilt is put a lot of work, love, patience and insparation and only that already makes a quilt beautiful to me, even when I might have chosen another color if I would make it for myself. That is a matter of respect don't you think?
Wonder what you great news is....is it about fabric....???

CaraQuilts said...

I did a a post on this a while ago on my blog. Basically it came down to play nice and remember it is a hobby, something that should bring your enjoyment.

Kira said...

Well said. There is great value in others' works and techniques. But you cannot love what you do not make your own. Creativity is the most honest form of self-expression, and it comes in many mediums.

Carolyn said...

I agree with you 100%. I will never be an award winning quilter.
I quilt to give someone comfort and to say I did something that was
in my heart at that time. Quilting is my passion but I'm not the best.
But we need to build each other up.
I love the sisterhood of being in a Bee and Guild. And even saying that you have some snobs there but we hope they have maybe a light bulb moment of kindness. I am in and out of a wheel chair so I'm blessed when I can sit at my machine and can stand to cut fabric. Thanks for your thoughts.
Carolyn

Donna said...

My home is soft beige, muted lavenders and blues, mossy green and well I love antiques. My sister's home is bright yellow, apple green, turquoise, orange, red and she loves trendy. We are both pleased with our "look" and appreciate the pleasure the other gets from their "look." So, it is with quilting - what suits me may not suit you; however, I am can see the beauty in your choice and hope you can do the same for me.

Rosa said...

I think every quilts is differnt as
people.
I quilt because I enjoy when I quilt and love play with fabrics.

Catskill Quilter said...

Very well said! I think at this point in my life I make quilts because I can't NOT make quilts! It is what makes me happy, and through the quilts I try to make others happy as well.

summerfete said...

Thank goodness for a voice of reason.

I think its easy to get sucked into the quilting cliques online.

Never forget who you are and why you quilt.

xx

Camilla said...

I quilt because its something completely different to what I do day to day, and it does help clear my mind, plus I suppose a form of meditation. Yes there are some fabrics I don't like and forms I don't like but, everyone likes different things and it would be boring if we all did the same thing :)I really enjoy seeing what other quilters have done, it helps generate further ideas as to what I would like to do next.

Anne D said...

I agree completely. I love the mantra " quilt like no one is watching".

Beth said...

Great post!!! I am not the best quilter, but I love it. I appreciate all styles of quilting even if they aren't "me". I quilt cause it makes me happy.

paulette said...

Well said!! How right you are!
Paulette

rubyslipperz said...

I LUV that thought..."quilt as though no one is watching". I need to PAINT that on my sewing room wall...in BIG letters! I quilt...because of the journey, not the finished project. Maybe that is why I don't have too many finishes? Well, anyway...I have learned...I am still learning...that's what brings me happiness. The other thing is that thru my quilting/sewing journey...I have met some of the most wonderful people and have made some of the BEST friends...
No...dumbing down can take away what I've learned and who I've met. =0)

hugZ,
annie
rubyslipperz106.blogspot.com

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

In order for more people to start quilting, there needs to be simple patterns for them to start the learning process. How far they go with it is up to them. Everyone is different and it's great if someone (not me, that's for sure) goes into all the artsy and complicated designs, but it's not for everyone. A lot of us make quilts to give as gifts, some for hospitals, etc. A simple design means you can make more of them to give away. Thanks for your thoughts. I heartily agree.

Regina said...

So well said. Thank you!

Jane said...

I absolutely agree with your post. There are many types of people in the world and to each their own. :o)

Heartsdesire said...

I've commented on a few blogs over the past weeks and my comment remains the same. Quilting should be fun and happy. You should be able to get up in the morning and rush straight to your sewing machine and sew up what ever you want. Traditional, modern, simple or advanced, who cares what you do. Just as long as you do it. Whatever your preference, it should be enjoyable to you. I think your post today says it all. Everyone should be happy to quilt and if you are posting negative thoughts, then get another hobby!

Sybil said...

I agree with you. I quilt because I love it. I do traditional, "modern" and artsy quilts. I love them all. Simple, easy quilts can be as beautiful as the complicated ones. It is the process and learning that makes it so fun and enjoyable to me. And the fabrics, of course. I love fabrics and colors and so on.

Barbara said...

I agree with you and think you said it well. Everyone should do what makes them happy in quilting. If doing simple makes you happy, do it. If you enjoy the challenge of a difficult block, do it. That is what quilting is about, the joy of creating whatever makes you happy. No one has the right to judge you on your choices simply because they are your choices. Enjoy them I say.

JEllen said...

Very well stated. First and foremost, I am very offended by the term "dumbing down." I have a daughter with Down syndrome and take the term very personally. Interesting perspective, I know. I have had very lengthy dicussions with others such as the amazing Carrie Nelson on this subject too. Sarah and I own a quilt store. We carry just about every pattern you have created and Miss Rosie's for that matter. We specialize in pre-cuts and all of our samples are what I call "doable". I want my customers to feel the statisfaction of being able to complete a project. Qulit snobs are probably not going to come back, but that is ok. We are a happy bunch of people.

KerryQ said...

Amen, sister!