Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quilt Police: A Declaration!

At December's Guild meeting, we had a smiling newbie quilter who proudly showed her first handquilted piece off. I'm a fan of new quilters, because it's such a big deal to have completed a project on your own. After she said she tried to get so many stitches (6?) to an inch, I cringed when a more experienced quilter loudly said it should be 12. I was like, "B.S.!" because that ticked me.

I've ranted about this before, but somebody write me a ticket, because I'm sick of the quilt police! You know who you are: declaring yourself an art quilter yet you stick to "traditional" quilting rules such as the stitch length, type of thread, absolute precision, or the way the back looks. Or questioning the reasoning behind the piece's art. Gimme a break! How...does...it...make...you...FEEL? If all of the above is your thing, go for it. Just don't think everyone else should fit your persnickety ways.

I used to see a lot of pieces I didn't quite "get" at the museum I interned at. I didn't understand it, but I acknowledged it as something different and something that the artist "got"--even if I didn't. As artists we create because we are compelled to--not necessarily with viewership in mind. So if my stitches aren't perfect, so what? If my back is covered, so what? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have an understanding of the fundamentals and history of your craft, just that as an artist, you sometimes have to transcend those boundaries.

In the end, I'm making my art for me...if you like it and want to come along for the ride too, then let's go.

9 comments:

Suzanne Earley said...

Hey -- this sounds like a rant I've ranted about myself a time or two. The quilt police aren't allowed at my house, and when I teach I tell my students that the quilt police aren't allowed in my classroom either....

Karoda said...

well you can retort to the q.p. that your friend (me) viewed a quilt that had 22 stitches per inch...so 12 is no big deal. lol

SeamRippstress said...

Right On! If I had to think "show quality" or attempt to get the math right, I wouldn't even do it. (confession: I'm still afraid to show some quilt ladies the backs of my quilts)

Delta said...

Amen sister!! If it was up to the quilt police, I'd be charged with a felony about half the time. I've given up on trying to explain that raw edge is intentional and sometimes I WANT threads hanging. Now I just look concerned and say "Oh yeah" when one of the quilt gestapo points it out.

Sonji Hunt said...

People like that feel bad about themselves. It's textbook. Otherwise why say something that stupid.

diva of quilts said...

Wow! I hope she's OK now and received the support everyone deserves. What an eye-opener, my guild is extremely friendly to quilters of all skill levels and styles. I naively thought it was like that everywhere.

SharonL said...

Exactly!!

Shirley Goodwin said...

I'm with you on this one, Elle. What attracted me to quilting in the first place was the LACK of rules, and how there was something in it for everyone. A pity some of those killjoys don't remember that.

Elle said...

Don't get me wrong. My quilt guild IS pretty accepting of newbies (now, LOL) and art quilters. After that was said, others made sure to pipe up and support her in her new quilting efforts.