Bee's Hive

Friday, February 20, 2009

Are you a "Fuddy-duddy" or "liberated" ??

I am bringing this subject to my blog from the HGTV quilting board. (this link no longer works because HGTV deleted the thread)
If I say what I want to say over there, it will be deleted or worse, I will get a warning. This subject was started by Dyed Grey and read:

"I've been noticing a profusion of "liberated" piecing popping up on various blogs for the past year or so. I'm just not impressed with this deliberately sloppy piecing. Frankly, it looks a bit too Gee's Bend to me. There, I said it right out loud -- I think those GB quilts are just plain awful. Sure, I do admire what the GB women have done with limited resources, but I most certainly wouldn't deliberately try to copy the style. Publicity and docuementaries makes it art, I suppose, as well as postage stamps. It seems to me that "liberated" has become a synonym for sloppy and mismatched, as well as an excuse not to bother with symmetry. And what's up with this thing about letting the fabric "speak for itself" anyway? I really don't need to live thru the '70s or '80s again and don't find this trend "refreshing" in the least. It's not new and bold -- it's old and wierd just like it was then.Egads -- I'm a fuddy-duddy! I have plenty of unplanned mismatched seams and blocks ... I call them oopsies. I do like fun type of designs like the stars on Quiltville, or tipsy squares, strings, and such, but they all have underlying symmetry readily identifiable. hmmmm, maybe that's why I like them so much!Is this just one of those eye of the beholder things, or do you also think these trends are a bit on the oddball side? "

In the next 69 posts, two of which were mine, the over whelming opinion was against "artists" and for the new, well put together quilts...made by, I quote Kay lin, "Quilters who appreciate the craft and art of quilting". Here is her last post:

"I'd like to expand a little on my post, which was pretty negative. I love real quilts that are art - contemporary or traditional. Those masterpieces that are shown at the big national quilt shows are just breathtaking pieces of art. And our local guild has a wonderful quilt show each year that is full of creative, artistic, one-of-a-kind pieces. And we have all seen works of art on this board, that I couldn't begin to emulate, but love so much. The difference is, they are made by QUILTERS, who appreciate the fundamentals of quilting, and build their art on top of a structure of craftsmanship. What I had seen in the past few years are displays in public art venues by people who don't have any appreciation for craftsmanship, or any desire to take the time to learn. They think that their quilts shouldn't be held to quilters' standards, because they are really fiber artists. I certainly didn't want to disparage the people on the board and elsewhere who are making beautiful, one-of-a-kind works, but who still respect the craft of quilting. "

I believe this was in response to posts by geniebird and myself. I am afraid I will have to pick this post apart.

Quilts shown at national quilt shows are not original works of quilting art..and I mean the art of quilting. The Art of Quilting did not include a longarm, rotary cutter, a pattern from a Quilting book, EQ6 or a National show with Blue ribbons. Many of these so called "works of art" are so stiff with longarm quilting it would be almost impossible to actually cover someone with them.

" The purpose of a quilt in it's original form was for covering ones body to keep it warm".

QUILTERS....Hmmm, just who gets to wear that word?? The fundamentals of quilting never included the tools of today, and yet they were all quilters, many of which can be found in Museums and historical books. Structure of that one is a laugh. I can't see myself asking my granny if she was abiding by the rules and crafting her quilt with the structure of craftmanship.

Moving on to fiber artists. This poster doesn't have a clue on this subject and I'll add quilting in general. Just WHO arrived on the quilting scene and gave over the rule book to these NEW so called quilters?? If you handed any of them a stack of fabric cut from clothing and told them to construct a quilt, they would run for their EQ6 and longarm, hop on line and purchase fabric to support the pile of trash they were handed. They would cry and whine because they are real QUILTERS and shouldn't be expected to lower themself to the standards that QUILTS grew from.


Anyone who has the nerve to do fiber art gets praise from me. It is the most interesting form of art for those of us who work with any kind of cloth. No one said you have to fall in love with it but at the very least one should try to see the vision of the artist and add the experience to something they have learned.

My main reason from starting my blog was to become part of a place where people could express themselves in many forms of art. I love art. I lived in Italy for a while where all artists were encouraged to share their art forms with everyone. The many forms of art were not judged, but enjoyed.

The easy way to quilt is to jump on my EQ6 or find a pattern in a book. It reminds me of my grandchildren who grab for a calculator instead of using their brain to subtract a few simple numbers. Maybe that's why I have never tried to learn how to use EQ6. Any time you simply copy a pattern you are expressing NOTHING. What ever happened to people making something from there own design. We wouldn't allow our children to simply copy, we expect children to use their own expression...sadly they only have us as examples. After reading 69 posts I can tell you there is not much self expression out of the ladies on the HGTV quilting site. (I won't include the crazy quilters as they do a splendid job of self expression)

The closed minded remarks by the ladies only made me laugh at how sour they are on learning anything from history. It's really sad to think that anyone would consider National Quilt shows as real quilting...quilting where people really do use a needle and thimble.

The question should not be are you a Fuddy-duddy or liberated..It should be: Is your corset laced too tight or did you burn your bra!


tisme said...

rofl, I so agree with you Holee!!
I hear my grandmother speaking and she would say, it is not a true quilter that uses a machine to quilt it. I don`t agree with that, but I think a true quilt is hand quilted. I love art quilt and want to explore it more and more. I like to feel my fabric and make things that it tells me to do. I have only made one quilt from start to finish. It is a string quilt from all kinds of fabric, it has a spider webbed backing, and it hand tied by my Mom. I did the binding and my son Joey picked out the backing. I made it for him just the way he wanted it done. To me that is a quilt, made with love and to keep him warm. I will never win a prize with it, but am so very proud of it.
I made my son a wall hanging, it is a ying yang sign, I played with black and whites to get the design, because my other son Justin wanted that. I am proud of that one too. Am I a Quilter?? I think so and that is what counts!!

geniebird said...


Rhonda said...

Wow, Holee, I suppose I'm a fuddy-liber. Let me explain...I absolutely love traditional quilt, the process of the exactness of making them, the coordinating colors and overall symmetry.... but get most all of my quilt tops machine quilted because it's what I can afford.

expatquilter said...

I like quilting because I enjoy the technical tasks of cutting and piecing and quilting. I don't have a creative bone in my entire body, so yes I will happily use patterns from magazines and quilting software and even (gasp) kits. Whether or not that entitles me to call myself a "quilter" is unimportant to me. (And my grandmother's quilts, if there were any photos, would only prove that my lack of creativity is genetic. Mercifully none of them remain.)

Art quilts don't need to follow the same rules as traditional quilts. Your link and geniebird's show wonderful, well-constructed pieces that I really love for the most part. Pamdora's style doesn't appeal to me personally but her pieces show quality work. All these pieces have very pleasing attributes about them. Symmetry isn't the word I want, I think it's that they follow some kind of design principles that the artist either has learned or innately "knows".

I once made a quilt where the borders on my blocks were uneven. I made the mistake of listening to someone (who I respected) that told me they were fine, it was just "wonky" piecing. The finished quilt was horrid. It was obviously not INTENDED to be a liberated/wonky piece and I should have followed my instincts and ripped it apart.

That is where I'm coming from when the issue of "liberated piecing" comes up. Not a quilt like Everythingquilts posted or you linked to where it is obvious that a lot of thought and planning went into the making of it, but those quilts that were "not quite right", but, sure, keep going and it'll be fine because there are no rules in quiltmaking! I have made many crappy quilts. I have pictures of them which don't show fully how awful the piecing or quilting was. I have learned from them, do better work (by my own standards) now, and wouldn't expect anyone to have a good word to say about any of them. I see these failures as valuable learning experiences. Including one of those "dump-out-the-trash-and-sew-it-down-where-it-lands pieces!

The Gees Bend quilts remind me of traditional quilts that weren't so well constructed. There are exceptions of course, the Birds in the Air looks well put together, and some of the quilters had a knack for colour that I would love to have. Yes, the history is important, and I accept there may be some African influence that shows for those who are familiar with that culture which eludes me completely. Overall I don't care for them but it doesn't mean I don't have respect for these women as quilters.

So call me whatever you want, but I have never been nor will ever be an artist which puts me squarely in fuddy-duddy tightly-laced-land. Perhaps I need to find a new term to describe myself since I certainly don't live up to your definition of the word "quilter".

shawkl said...

The world turns, and things evolve. Everything. Some go down a slippery path and dissolve; and others are nurtured and grow. But all evolve...change. Quilting is no different.

If we want to classify "quilters" we would have many groups...but all still quilters. Our ancestors used scraps of odd shapes, sizes, and 100% cotton 1/4" seam intersecting seams must match rule. Just stitch it strong so it will last.

They were the consummate recycler...reusing clothing, curtains, towels, and other fabrics to create their pieced project. And layered it with old blankets, long worn out.

The industrial age brought in manufactured batting and loomed fabric by the yard! Then patterns came to be designed...and the industry standard of 1/4 inch seams was established.

I personally enjoy the uniformity of precise seams but am not so much of a "puritan" as to take a lot of them out if they don't turn out perfect. I love the soothing visual display of complimentary colors but can also enjoy the creativity of opposites at times. My pet peeve would probably be the use or misuse of scale...but even that is waylaid by crazy quilts so I'm adapting there too.

The amount of time and thought put to a "art quilt" is to be admired (IMHO), but I have no desire to create one. I will occasionally indulge my creative spirit with a small crazy "themed project" that I might call an art piece...but even that has it might not truly apply.

So, I guess I'm a middle of the road kind of person...a "live and let live" kind of quilter...all quilts are art...the ones that are sloppy and I'd only want to put in my doggie's bed (if I had a doggie); and the precise ones that I'd be scared my DGD would spill juice on!

I'm evolving...and glad of it! But, let's not evolve too I can enjoy the ride!

geniebird said...

shawkl I see quilting as expanding rather than evolving. Traditional quilting isn't being replaced. Art quilting is a whole nuther animal -- something entirely different. Perhaps we shouldn't even call it quilting. There is no reason the traditional folks can't keep on making their traditional quilts same as before and ignore art quilts completely. Please relax and take a deep breath. There is no reason to feel threatened over this. Art quilters are not trying to take over quilting -- we have just been trying to carve out our own little niche. And I can't even begin to tell you how difficult that has been. No one ever has to make an art quilt. Traditional quilts will not disappear unless traditional quilters decide to stop making them. When I have posted about art quilts on the forum I have simply been looking for like minded people -- not trying to make converts. I apologize to anyone who thought I was. You are just fine doing what you are doing. Your work does not have to change one little bit unless you want it to. -- genie

everythingquilts said...

I make quilts to be used. Weather it's on the bed or on the wall. I admire people who have creative minds, unfortunately mine is not so creative. I'm not a perfectionist, but I do the best I can. I don't do things the way others do, I do them the way that works best for me. I know what you mean about your method of quilting being tore apart. It happened to me, someone asked the question about how you make your flying geese and one quilter kept insisting it could not be done like that. Well, that the way I always have done them and still do them. There might be other ways but I taught myself quilting and that's just the way I make them. Even if it's not written in a book, I continue to make them like that. Same as my binding, I've never seen it done the way I do it, but it works perfectly for me and the end result it just fine, so what does it matter how you get there as long as you get there. I'll be honest, If I couldn't ever buy another piece of fabric I'd still make quilts. I'm not afraid to mix fabrics. I made a quilt with floral, homespun and batik in it, who cares if I broke all the "no rules in quilting". I liked it and that's what matters. If it makes you feel good make it. If everyone that ever invented something thought that it couldn't be done and never tried, we would still be in the stone age. I think it was ingenious of them to take old things and make something so useful, how can anyone say they wouldn't make a quilt that didn't match. I think if their children were cold they make one with what ever they could just like the ladies of the past. I know I would. Like I told my DD about buying a new used car. I told her don't go in there and buy what you think is pretty, buy one that is dependable. After all, I'd rather be going down the road in something ugly then sitting on the side of the road in something pretty.

Tom H said...

I would just love to post a comment here on this topic. But alas, I would only show my ignorance....