I love having the time to sip coffee and read a multitude of quilt magazines while relaxing on my patio settee. There something spiritually uplifting about having this time to recharge my over extended batteries and have a day dream about all the quilts I'd like to make. I always feel inspired after browsing my favourite magazines. Today's selections are Quiltmania, American Patchwork and Quilting and Quilters Newsletter. These three magazines will get my creative juices going.
I've been pondering a series of questions asked of me recently by members of one of my quilt groups. Most of the women in this group are traditionalist in their quilting style. They produce gorgeous quilts in every conceivable colour and technique with much of their work structured and symmetrical. I love their quilts and enjoy the group immensely. During one of our conversations I explained that I recently joined another quilt group that focuses on the modern quilting movement. Modern in the sense that quilts in this category tend to be produced in a less structured and free form way. Much of the focus of the finished quilt relates more to the fabric choices and overall look of the piece and less on the exactness of the individual blocks. To my surprise I received a mixed reaction. They all comments that they thought I was a traditional quilter - especially as I tend to hand piece much of my work. How could I join a modern quilt group? Was I switching my quilting allegiance from traditional to modern? Did it mean all my quilts were now going to be abstract and odd? Was I going to abandon my needles and thread for machine piecing exclusively?
I didn't expect that reaction. I suppose because in my mind I see the modern movements theories of quilt making as just another category to add to my repertoire of quilting knowledge. I don't feel a need to label myself in any particular category. I don't have to be a 'modern' quilter at the sacrifice of leaving behind my traditionalist roots. I am a quilters and with that title all that encompasses.
In quilting, as in life, people feel more comfortable and secure placing themselves into neat categories. It helps define and put structure into what we do. I'm no different really. I just suppose my categories encompass more grey then black and white.
After pondering the questions and giving them real thought I can happily answer that; no, I'll never abandon my traditionalist roots. I still love Civil War reproduction fabric, I dream of making a Baltimore Album quilt one day, and I adore the beauty of an intricately executed quilt encompassing an array of time honoured techniques. Are all my quilts now going to be abstract? No, certainly not. But there will be quilts different from the styles I've produced in the past. My quilts have to change in order for me to feel I've grown as a quilter. I love a challenge. I love being presented with a new technique, or being shown a different way of looking at something. Experiencing that is what keeps me interested in quilting. Adding the perspective of the modern quilt movement into my knowledge base is like opening a window to my quilting life and letting a fresh breeze come in.
So how do I now title myself? As I always have - A Quilter. And I'll never abandon my plain old' needle and thread....
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