Sunday, August 14, 2005

Quilt Mavericks and art quilting

Have ya'all checked out the Quilt Mavericks Web Ring lately? When Bonnie and I started the ring on July 17th there were just the two of us (and three sites - she has two cuz she does double the work that I do) and now we're up to 10 sites. Woohoo.

There have been growing pains. Bonnie and I know who we are and the kinds of quilts that we like and want to see more of, but expressing that in words is much harder. While it's been great that we've been getting interest from art quilters, that's not who this ring is for. If you're an art quilter who also does some traditional with a twist, then great, welcome. But if your sole focus is art quilts, there is a better home out there for you.

We're hoping to find (and have - woohoo again) quilters who still have a foot in traditional, but want to run with scissors, color outside the lines, lose the points on their triangles and mismatch seams. Quilters who are still traditional, but without using patterns, who make the quilts more expressive of themselves, or at least want to and are looking for encouragement. Quilters who love the feel of fabric and who would hand quilt every quilt if it were physically or numerically possible. Now how I've expressed this may not express Bonnie's views accurately, and she after all is the keeper of the key to joining the webring, so check out the homepage if you're intested.

It's obviously very difficult to say what is and is not art quilting. I've had a couple of different quilters express the opinion that the quilts I'm making with the letters fit just fine into the art quilter category. I don't see them that way at all. Here is a pic of one of my favorite antique quilts:

The quilt is believed to have been made by Deborah Wildman, married to Joseph, of Castile N.Y. in 1833 (go figure). The quilt is 74" x 68 1/2" and you gotta bet it was for one of those narrow tiny beds they used to sleep in.

I can see the progression from this quilt to the bed quilt I just made. Mine just happens to be made in an Amish palette, has more information about why it was made, and is made with free-pieced letters instead of little, meticulous squares.

I'm interested in any opinions anyone might have on any of the topics I've brought up. Even if you don't have a Blogger account, I believe you can post a comment anonymously and then just sign it as yourself. Or be anonymous if you choose, so long as you're constructive.


Cathi said...


I LOVE that antique quilt...I will have to think about making one like that...maybe with your free form letters taste in fabrics runs to the more traditional antique looks where yours seems to be brighter and more modern than mine!!

I think your quilts are more traditional than art... more like folk art than completely free form art quilts, which are more like paintings to me than utilitarian items...folk art is beautiful and useful/utilitarian, whereas I see art quilts as more specifically for art sake...can't really curl up under some of those beautiful art quilts, but you can under your gorgeous alphabet letter bed quilt!!

Just some of my opinions!


ps-still thinking about starting a quilt only blog...someday!

Cathi said...

Forgot to say...have you and Bonnie thought about starting a Yahoo group called Quilting Mavericks? I'd love to join a group like that!!


Finn said...

I like what you have to say,and I agree with you. I've checked out more and more blogs as quilters have joined us. It's great fun to link from blog to blog. Some are art quilts in my opinion, and while that doesn't bother me, I was concerned about how they would see my quilts. I'm sort of neither "afoot nor a horseback" as the saying goes. I'm happy to have the tradition base, but the wild child loves to come out and play..with words, pictures or fabric. I've held her in check for many years when gathering with other quilters.
I was thrilled that Bonnie invited me to join the Mavericks. I had no idea it was so new, but then I just started blogging on the 13th of July.

I've always believed that a person needs to make their "own" quilts, according to the drum they hear. It's hard to be pushed or prodded into a style that isn't what you feel. I've spent several years in that canoe not realizing I HAD a paddle I could use. And while I don't regret quilts I made during that time like the Sticks and Stones flannel, I totally LOVE the "Y NOT?" a million times over.
The struggle to follow my own drummer brought me to a crossroads. And I realized "what if my orphan block quilts turn out to be what I am remembered for? And then I decided..."ya, that works for me". Leave 'em wondering.

Tonya R said...

Cathi, can honestly say have given no thought to a Yahoo group. That's not a forum I've explored yet, tho I need to check out the stashbusters group.

I like the description of my work as "folk art" - that feels like a good fit to me.

Finn, you're right where you should be, don't worry about what anyone else might think.