Every now and then, a little controversy blows through blog land.
I usually stay out of it. In the past I've been pregnant, or with a new baby, or just too busy with the stuff of life to chime in. Or I'm not on Instagram and I miss it.
But the quilt blog world is a small place (part of its charm in my opinion).
The other night my dear friend posted about how her quilts were received at Quilt Con (which I didn't go to -- I'm a stay at home mom and just can't justify gallivanting off to expensive things like this even if they sound fun). I didn't enter any quilts. I think I was trying to keep up on my laundry or something when the announcement came around. But I read my friend's post, got defensive for her (I am nothing if not loyal), and then got thinking. And I did a bit of exploring. And heard a few rumors about how the show was judged and how it
I re-read the comments that were given back to my friend on her work, and I was frankly flabbergasted. Then in the comments, I read that her experience was not unique and I was frustrated. Not because I think that I am a qualified quilt judge (not at all!) but I was disappointed for another reason that I'm going to try to explain here...
I was a high school English teacher before my son was born. I made it my personal crusade to try to teach my students to write. I doubt very many of you have ever tried to teach high school students (from a small farming community, half of whom learned English as a second language), to create a cohesive piece of academic writing, but it is exceptionally challenging. I judged every draft of my student's work. My feedback was definitely not all positive, but it was constructive, and it gave them a chance to improve, and after meeting with me or reading my grading notes, they felt confident to bring me their next draft until it met the goals of the assignment.
Because I live forty miles out of town, and have two small children, I do not belong to a quilt guild. There is an active traditional one in a nearby town and one day I plan to join it. I've thought about starting a modern one, but due to the aforementioned factors, I let it go for a thought down the road (I really was just wanting to find more local sewing friends! It is so nice to sew with people in real life!)
But now, this little "modern quilting" judging hub-bub has got me feeling a bit reactionary. I used to see myself as a modern quilter, when their definition sounded like this:
- ..."Modern quilting is sometimes difficult to define because in many ways the definition is as individual as the quilter - changing from quilter to quilter. In addition to reflecting the individual personality and personal style of the quilter, it also reflects the current aesthetic of the day. Modern quilting is also about the attitude and the approach that modern quilters take. It respects the amazing artistry and talent of the tradition of quilting, while allowing the quilter to challenge the "rules". In fact, if there were one rule in modern quilting, it would be that there are no rules. The concept of modern quilting is not meant to divide or segregate. It is meant to welcome new quilters, of all ages, to the world of quilting in a style that they can relate to. In many ways, modern quilting takes us back to the basics of the early quilters, when women of the day used the colors and styles of their time to express themselves creatively.
- Modern Quilting is a twist on traditional quilt. For each person this may have a different meaning. For some it is modification on the methods or materials they use in their quilts. For others it maybe the use of modern fabrics. Others may believe it has to do with the look of the quilt or a way of sharing the art of quilting. Around the internet you can find many definitions of modern quilting... Our guild is accepting of all members definitions of what a modern quilt is and what modern quilting means to them.
- We define modern quilts as quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design. Minimalism, asymmetry expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics.
Too narrow of a definition for the range of quilts I like to make.
Though, perhaps an even better idea than distance, would be for the rest of us to take back the old definition.
All quilters welcome here.
P.S. I originally didn't know who the judges were, and still don't know them, but I am familiar with some of their work. I think they're talented women with much to offer the textile/craft world. I just think the way the comments were done left much to be desired.