I’ve never made a quilt that I couldn’t put on my bed to use as a blanket.
It isn’t because my quilts are strictly traditional – I think they’re rather innovative myself. It’s just that I learned to quilt from my grandmother and her teachings and philosophy on quilting have left an indelible impact on me. She would never dream of making a quilt that would be anything but utilitarian. Hanging textiles on the wall wasn’t part of her experience as a quilter. So when I learned to piece and quilt from her it was to make a blanket for the bed or a good sized throw for the couch. Until recently all my quilts were made king sized because that was the size of my mattress. So it’s been a challenge for me to break out of the mindset that a quilt is strictly functional. I KNOW it doesn’t have to be, I just don’t always FEEL it.
To challenge myself I want to make a few quilts made solely for the purpose of being a work of art. I have two quilts in the works at the moment that will be my first pieces of art. One is my quilt groups ‘group quilt’. I’ve named it Sparkly Me because I used glitter fabric in it. The pattern that was chosen gave instructions for a small lap quilt and I’ve decided that since I’ve used sparkly fabric in it, I’ll just use it as a wall hanging so I don’t have to worry about the glitter eventually getting washed away in the laundry. And the other is a triptych I’m making as a metaphor of my life. It sounds deep I know but it’s very unpretentious.
I know I’ll never stray too far from continuing to make beautiful quilts that are made to experience life as a blanket and all that entails; to be slept under, made love on, wrapped around in on a cold night watching TV, placed on the floor for a baby to play on and ultimately get washed 100 times until its faded, frayed, and just like the Velveteen Rabbit, becomes real because it’s used and loved.