Wednesday, 1 April 2015

to be or not to be Modern

… or I’m  having an identity crisis

I’ve been quilting for almost 15 years now.  I was a knitter, dress-maker, embroider before I discover quilting.  But until recently, I never questioned my ‘modernity’.

Here is where it come from:

  • this post from Jacquie Gering from Tallgrass Prairie Studio
  • and this article in a local news site
  • and a few more discussions I’ve overheard…

And I started to think: do I fit in my guild? Am I an imposter there? Are they going to find out that I might not be ‘Modern’ and kick me out? Am I ‘modern’ or aren’t I?

Then I breathed deeply, and remembered that it is not high school (note-to-self, I did not go to high school but lycée so how could I remember?…), I am not in a popularity contest (or am I?).

But what would make me modern?

  • Using negative space – OK I always wanted to do that, I always want to make a whole cloth quilt. I have done French traditional Boutis in the past and it was a pain because the wadding was not as bouncy as today and you had to fill up the designs with extra cotton. And it was entirely done by hand.
  • Using solids– which remind me of Amish quilts.  Solids are now bold, thanks to modern dyes.
  • Exploring new techniques like EPP – what is that? English Paper piecing, OK I can do that and have done that.  I used to call it granny hexagons.  I remember evenings with my friends, cutting hexagons out of old magazines because the paper was thin and it was easy to go through while sewing.
  • Creating ‘made-fabric’ – I’m thinking crazy patch.  Again, I’ve done that and I love the ‘don’t over think it’ technique that goes into this kind of quilt.
  • Using embroidery, contrasting threads in the quilting – how much I love traditional Provencal quilt with long, thick cotton stitches.  My first teacher back in 2000, introduced my to the use of DMC cotton to quilt and decorate quilts and it has been my go-to method when hand quilting.

I’m sure I could go on and on and find more examples.

So traditional, art, modern quilters from all over the world, just few things to remember:

  • I never met a quilter (or crafty person) that I could not get along with;
  • I’m sane because everywhere I lived, I found quilting groups and quilting friends who welcomed me and helped me settle down in a new home, new country.  I sewed with French, British, Belgian, German, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, American, Spanish, Italian quilters and seen the same light in their eyes when we start speaking fabrics.
  • I am glad for modern tools.  When I started quilting, I drafted blocks on lined paper and then cut templates out of it, i did not use rotary cutter or plastic templates (and no I’m not from Neanderthal).  Now I have a [large] collection of rulers for all purposes  (I’m getting more and more tempted by the accuracy of an AccuQuilt).  My sewing machine is a smooth, fast beast which cuts thread, sews a perfect 1/4”, has easily retractable dog feet, knee lift foot presser…

Then last week, I tuned up to the MQG webinar – Alternate Gridwork by Heather Grant, I loved it.  I loved the fact that Heather belongs to the MQG and to a traditional guild.  The same week I went to a cooking demonstration at the Cordon Bleu and I really related to the cook’s  message - ‘adapting tradition with better tools’, and sounded so right.

So now I know, I’m not traditional, I’m not arty, I’m not modern… I am CURRENT, embracing all that have been done before, taking full advantage of all the new tools and techniques.

000 Temp1

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I read both articles...interesting :) I had my own identity crisis a few years back, and I've only been quilting 5-6 years. I love your term "current." I may have to steal it ;-)))
    Michelle

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  2. I think it is freeing to work in any style and as many styles as you feel like!

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