Keep it simple, stupid!

There has been some *drama* on the interwebs about the dumbing down of quilting (just Google it). I'm a little late to the party, but as far as I can tell, there are about three arguments...

1. The modern quilt movement is just a euphemism for sloppy quilt–making.
My response: Eff that. For reals. This actually reminds me of a story Chuck Csuri tells. Chuck is a celebrated artist who specializes in computer–generated art, and I had the good fortune to work with him in graduate school. In his office hangs a framed telegram from ARTFORUM magazine that reads something like "I can't imagine ARTFORUM magazine ever featuring art made on a computer."

Shortsighted, no? And we see this in a lot of creative endeavors -- the old guard not accepting something new and different. Isn't there room for everyone? Keep doing what makes you happy. Chuck did.

edited to add -- I found the telegram online!

2. Bloggers are generating overly simple quilts to be able to post more often.
My response: If it bothers you that much, don't read those blogs. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I *wish* I could be as prolific as some of the bloggers I follow (obviously, as I am averaging one blog post per month I do not fall in this category, but see below**), simple quilts or not!

3. Pattern designers are bilking the naive public out of their hard–earned dollars by selling basic / historical designs.
My response: Then don't buy those patterns. When I first began quilting I bought a magazine with a snowball quilt on the cover. I had no idea the name of the block, or that I could search for it online and find the pattern for free. I saw a quilt I liked, I bought the pattern, I made it (learning something new to me) and grew a bit as a quilter. Seven dollars well spent.

**So in solidarity with the modern quilting movement, the quilters who are able to make a lot of simple quilts, and the newbies who need a little confidence boost by buying a few patterns -- here are two quilts I made last month for baby showers -- simple, made with love, and appreciated.

For my sister–in–law:

A panel surrounded by piano keys. This fabric was some that I raided from my sister's house last December. I ran out of time to do a label -- Chris, I need to add that!

For my cousin:

My coveted Prints Charming rockets fabric surrounded by squares, also from my stash. The border is also hoarded Prints Charming. And cute little Jaxon hands holding it up (he's gotten so tall!)

I made a rocket–shaped label...

...and need to add Isaiah's name now that he's been born!

And this might be why it took me awhile to quilt it! That's a 20 pound cat -- I'm not that strong!

And I haven't posted in a bit because work has been cra-zazy. But I did agree to help a student with a project for another class. If you forward to 1:20 you can see me and my large lecture "bernie-ing."

Only three weeks left and then we're off to Disney World! Any advice for visiting with an almost-5-year-old??


PurlingPirate said...

Seriously?!?! This is an issue??! I can't seem to be able to sew. Anything. I would be thrilled if someone gave me a quilt that was simply two bed sheets sewn together. Anything made by hand, with love, for me, is AMAZING.

beth said...

Love the border on that rockets quilt! Any vacation with a 5 year old requires lots of snacks and some little trinkets from the $1 store for travel time! ;)

Anna Joy said...

I agree with everything you just said. Art/design is always changing, sometimes simple quilts are way better than overly complicated quilts because of two things - craftsmanship and layout, and when I was a novice, I bought a bunch of patterns which definitely helped me grow as a sewer/quilter. I still buy them especially if I don't feel like trying to figure out a pattern myself...and it's also about supporting the person who made the pattern!

And your quilts are all so adorable!!

Paul said...

You go Beth!! I think I just found my next CMQG demo request...


Anonymous said...

Great post Beth! Each to their own. The bst thing for me about Modern quilting is the beautiful bright colurs, and I try to work with as many as possible :-)

Anonymous said...

You know what... if people are making quilts and it makes their hearts happy then who cares what anyone else thinks. People have been making simple quilts for a very long time and had no one to share them with. How lucky that we now have a whole blogging audience for our work.

The more quilts in the world the better! Vive le quilts.

jac. said...

We just got back from Disney World last week. Now we didn't go with a 5 yr. old but I did learn a few tricks.

1. Go to guest services when you get there and you can ask for a button for almost anything for free. You can get your son a 1st time button, happy birthday, celebration, etc. They will write his name on it and it's a fun, free special souvenir to start the day off with.

2. Water is a must. We bought this water bottle fanny pack looking thing from meijers and extended it to the max and wore it across our shoulder and it was perfect. Most of the water fountain are pretty gross tasting so whenever you order food try and get a few free cups of ice water to drink with your meal and to refill your bottle.

3. speaking of ordering food - most places give you the option of fries or apple slices as you side dish. Choose the apple slices. In the hot weather the fried food will make you feel that more gross and the apples will keep you intestines happier.

4. Everyone does the inside rides/shows during the heat of the day, so we did those first with no lines.

5. The electric parade at Magic Kingdom is at 9pm. get your spot by 8:30 or you won't find a good spot and then it's pretty much followed by the fireworks which you also need a good spot for so plan ahead and ask the people at guest services the best spot to see both.

6. Everyone leaves the park right after the fireworks and it's miserable, hot, stinky...and kids are crying from being tired. Plan on staying for 30 minutes after the fireworks, ride one more ride or just sit in a restaurant and have a drink or dessert before heading out.

7. Toy story mania at Holloywood studio is way better that the toy story ride in Magic kingdom. Botrh are good, just rank different to me.

8. The tea cups are more fun than they look.

I could keep going but I'll stop before I over whlem you:). Have a great trip!

Jackie said...

It's seriously hot down here. Get to the park early. Ride the rides that tend to have the long lines first. They won't be so bad when the park first opens. In the heat of the day spend some time in the pool or grab a nap. Go back in the evening. Everything really looks so much different at night.


Sally said...

This bernie-ing is hilarious! Some of the students in your lecture class look a bit reluctant :-)

I haven't searched out any of the quilting debate...but I've seen several response posts. I think that crafters should do/make what makes them happy. I make things for me and blog for me...not really for others. I know that some bloggers/quilters have other commercial obligations, etc, and not sure how that feeds in.... but I think we should all "play nice".

Molly said...

Amen, seriously amen. Be happy and make quilts.
Also have fun at Disney. So jealous.

~Michelle~ said...

Interesting take on your #1 - The modern quilt movement is just a euphemism for sloppy quilt–making. My only response to this is that I hope that the people who hold this view are exposed to something that is constructed beautifully that they might then define as "modern". I have seen some sloppy quilt-making, and don't think that should be the "voice" of modern quilting. There are better examples out there.

A side note - have you seen the Pixar Story documentary (it's on Netflix instant)? There's also a shorter, but slightly different, documentary on the Pixar Shorts DVD. Talk about art made on a computer!

I think with the pattern issue (which is probably my #1 issue) is that I just want some acknowledgment that almost none of these ideas are new. I take issue with the representation that a pattern is a 100% new idea. That is almost never the case - there's a lot of history in quilting that I think is being ignored. However, if you have a new/different idea on how to make the process easier, I can get behind that. I'm definitely a sucker for gadgets.

And finally... I'll be able to give you a review on Thursday of the new Star Wars attraction. I believe the WDW & DL versions are the same, and I'm getting to do a passholder preview on Wednesday (the DL one is opening later for some reason, while WDW is already open). Can't wait to get my geek on!

MJ said...

My grandmother was my inspiration to quilt. She used polyester fabrics (because they were perceived as more exotic than cotton ~ the pioneers disliked cotton because they had to iron it) and often went to the Salvation Army to pick up fabrics for her quilt. It wasn't the fancy/coordinated and detailed quilts that I love but the reality the older generations faced was that they needed blankets and it was about recycling fabrics. With all our drive towards being artsy (and the vanities that can come with it), we tend to forget the quilts' simple history and the love, memories and labour/struggles incorporated within them. At the end of the day, this is why I love quilts. My grandma's quilts may not be aesthetically pretty (& being polyester they aren't that warm) and they wouldn't be publishable by today's standards, but I can't bear to get rid of them.

IMy comment reminds me of Dolly's song ~ just substitute "coat" with "quilt" see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zJzr-kWsI

PS: I love Dolly's book "Coat of Many Colours" as well... and I'm not a huge country/western fan...

Cristin said...

Oh man, I had no clue there was this huge debate over QUILTS! Geez people!
I've only been quilting for 2.5 years and I still consider myself a beginner, but I have tried a few "more complicated" blocks and I find them tedious and way more time-consuming than I care to think about. After all, I enjoying just FINISHING a quilt every month or so... ok, more like every 2-3 months, but whatever. I like the simpler designs... lets the fun fabrics stand out. Maybe its just the age difference among quilters that gets everyone up in arms? Wow... dang. I'm floored.

BUT moving on - what lovely quilts you've gifted! well done ;-)

Thimbleanna said...

Ohmygosh -- you've parted with the rocket fabric -- you're a braver soul than I am LOL. Have a wonderful time at Disney!

deb said...

well said!!!! as a newbie who pretty much decided to quit because of mean people, its refreshing to hear that it does not have to be perfect!!!

Beth said...

Wow, I am also a bit late to this talk becasue I havent really heard all this buzz!

Beth said...

oops, last comment posted early!

I really can't beleive this is really an issure or debate! I love the challenge of something requiring more difficult peicing like hst or pebbling instead os tipple but I also love to make simple line quilts too!

For the car trip you should ge some new movies, some easy snacks like crackers and some fun new dollar store toys. Thats usually my go to for all our long car trips!

Oh, I love love love you Prints Charming quilt too! Sometimes a simple quilt pattern is needed to show off an awesome print!

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