Thursday, April 25, 2013

V and Co: what kind of quilter are you?

confetti by V and Co.
 this last weekend i was given the opportunity to speak to a group of lovely ladies in the Des Moines area. i was asked to speak the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild.
me and my i heart you quilt at the modern quilt guild in Des Moines

i get nervous over these things. the thought of "will they think i'm too traditional?" always crosses my mind. as well as when i get asked to speak to a non modern quilt guild i get nervous and think "will i be too modern for them?"
i get asked one question a lot.

what kind of quilter are you? are you modern or are you traditional?
houndstooth by V and Co.

it's probably one of the most asked questions i get.
even for magazines i'm quoted because i've had to give answers on this matter.

so  when i was asked to present to the modern quilt guild my take on using traditional blocks in modern quilting i was super excited to talk and share my thoughts.
as i started to create my powerpoint on modern quilters and modern quilts using traditional blocks again i was hit with the thoughts of "this has been happening since day one. since day one someone got cold and needed a cover. then they needed to make it bigger or fix it and thing led to another...and now centuries later we have quilting not just as a way to keep warm and cozy, we also create art with fabric."
i heart you by V and Co.

i spoke about how colors, textile prints, and arrangement of blocks, or lack of blocks, or making it have a less than perfect (wonky for a lack of word) block can create a completely different look to what starts off as a traditional quilt block.

my message to them was that quilting as they already know is usually categorized into two groups, modern and traditional and really this is good in some ways and not so good in other ways. it's good because well, on both sides, we find others who like the same looks in quilts, and who like the similar color combos, techniques, and we help each other and support each other get excited about this wonderful sewing and quilting thing.
bubbles by V and Co.

it's not so good because you sometimes feel like you can't learn from the other group.
that is sad to me.

have you ever seen someone teach because they love something so much? even if you don't necessarily find what they are teaching, pleasing to your eye? that passion they have is real and you can always walk away learning something from someone either the material they teach about or about that person and their passion.

my message is the same today as it was the first time i learned to sew. this sisterhood of traditional, modern, or in between quilting should be just that. a sisterhood. seeing quilting for what it is, a wonderful art, one that has been around for centuries, one that we can continually keep changing, bringing back old customs with new colors combos, techniques, new tools, or shortcuts.

yes, i'm excited that we have a "modern quilt generation". there will be a stamp on what quilts will look like from this era. but we can not be so arrogant to think that traditional quilters are dying out and modern will take over. as well as traditional quilters can not be arrogant in thinking that these new wave of quilters don't know how to do a thing or two.
i've learned so much from both sides. and this has always been my message. do not shut out the other side.

rembrant vs picaso.

both artists but very different look.

so when i'm asked what kind of quilter i am...modern or traditional?
kaleidoscope by V and Co.

my long answer is this:
"i am traditional quilting and modern quilting who got married and had kids. each of my quilts has it's own look, it's own personality, and is a product of both parents. that's what kind of quilter i am."

my short answer is:
i'm just a quilter.

thank you to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild for asking me to come and speak. it was so much fun getting to meet you and see all your beautiful projects, and the wonderful things you are doing as a group.
barn dance by V and Co.

i love to be surrounded around quilters of all generations. i hope my daughter will be able to appreciate the things i did when we were considered the new wave of quilters and i can't wait to see what her generation will be doing when it's their turn to make a stamp in this forever timeline we call quilting and the art of it.


Megan said...

Well said, m'dear, well said.

Claire said...

Very well said Vanessa. We should all be able to accept the beauty, craft, skill and art in each and every quilt we see, whether it is our 'cup of tea' or not. Here's to the sisterhood!

trish said...

Beautifully said. I have such a wide range of appreciation of quilting and admire both sides so much. Your analogy fits my tastes perfectly. :0) It has been fun sampling all the different fabrics and styles. :0) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

BrianG said...

Thank you again so much for coming! It was really fun to meet you, hear your take on quilting and see your beautiful work! :)

Leila said...

Oops! I didn't realize that my husband was signed in! :)

Elizabeth Dackson said...

Awesome answer! Very well said :)

mascanlon said...

Oh yes, it's aout the quilts and friendship not about the labels. thanks Vanessa!

Esch House Quilts said...

Great post! While I do answer that I'm a modern quilter, for me it's a short description of the kind of quilts I make, not a label excluding others.

It's all about the love of fabric and sewing!

sonia said...

You are smart! That's a true answer. Besides I love seeing all these quilts in your post. Love them all! You have amazing patterns!

MalinisQuilts said...

Beautiful post! I totally agree with you, when I started quilting I just did whoever was teaching the quilt.So, my initial quilts where based upon their point of view.

After few quilts, I got inspiration from traditional quilts and turned it around to my taste and current. You're so right about its all about quilting and not just the label.

I please myself when I'm making quilts and I consider that to be modern.

Happy Quilting.

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Good answer. I'd say I'm the same...I don't think I'm as modern as most "modern" quilts, but I really don't have the patience for truly traditional patterns either.

terrieannie said...

I am neither and I am both... I am not interested in making Civil War reproduction and I am also not interested in sewing wonky for wonky's sake. But I do love the clean open spaces of many modern quilts and I especially love seeing a traditional block, like the churn dash for instance, made up in fresh, lively solids and modern fabrics. It's wonderfully awesome to have so much opportunity to feed each person's creative soul!

Anna said...

love this vanessa. you are so smart. :)

janequiltsslowly said...

You said it perfectly. We are quilters and the legacy of all the quilters before us is what inspires our quilts today. I love the modern quilts I see because I can see the echoes of the past.

Catherine said...

Vanessa, I love your work but until now I never really thought about why. Now I realize it is precisely because you are the best of both words. I love how you take traditional techniques and mix them up with a modern sensibility. Your work inspires my creativity. Thank you for that!

natski said...

so true :)

Anita said...

Love your quilts!

Elsa said...

I like your response ~ 'I'm just a quilter'. That's how I feel too.
For a while my quilt guild had a question when you shared your quilt ~ 'what makes your quilt modern?' and I decided not to share any of my quilts. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Who cares? I just make things because I like the fabric and pattern I might be making at the time. I thought of saying 'because I say so'! tee hee.

Sarah @ said...

Here here! I love doing both types of quilting- and especially combining them into the same quilt. There are a mind-blowing variety of ways to cut up fabric and sew it back together into a blanket.

I want the freedom to do it all! I hope that question ("are you modern or traditional?") goes away!

Carolyn said...

I'm a blend of both, but I'd probably have to say I'm leaning modern.

elizabeth said...

You've put my thoughts into words - better than I even knew them! :)
I tried a modern guild in the area and found it somewhat snobbish to traditional quilting... as if all that came before was somehow totally now irrelevant. I'm sure they didn't mean to refer to 'Grandma's quilts' in a derogatory way, but it really did come across that way. Sad. There are so many things to learn - from so many people.
I wish we lived closer! I'd love to quilt with you :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking at our guild, Vanessa! You were awesome. I love your answer about quilting. I feel the same way you do. I'm just a quilter, too. I feel equal parts traditional and modern. I like both and always will.

Unknown said...

Very well said V. I say I am a fun quilter. I do it for the fun of it, each quilt is pretty much my own design from someone elses inspirations. I have original thoughts and do it!
I like both .

Amanda said...

I always think "I'm just a quilter." Glad to know I'm not the only one. I just make cozy blankets for people to snuggle under. As long as I like 'em and the recipient likes 'em, who cares if I'm in the club.

lori said...

lovely! you placed into words so eloquently and simply what today's quilters are. thanks for you.

Haley DeHart said...

I am also Just a quilter! Well said!

Rebecca Grace said...

The French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin famously said "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." I disagree with Gauguin -- I think that art lies somewhere in between those extremes, with creations that are influenced by what came before but with a new interpretation, a fresh twist, taking the old aesthetic in a new direction. Creating an exact reproduction of an antique quilt is an excellent learning experience and can help us better appreciate our predecessor's work, but an exact reproduction of someone else's design and creative process is not art in and of itself. Yet I'm not a fan of the other extreme, either -- I think if an artist's sole purpose in creating is to destroy the aesthetic of the past, that's not really art, either. Even the most radical contemporary quilters are influenced by and reacting to the centuries of quiltmaking that preceded them. I agree with you -- those who are overly concerned with labeling themselves and other quilters as "traditional" or "contemporary" are only limiting themselves and missing out on opportunities to grow as an artist and as a quiltmaker.

V and Co. said...

thanks guys for your lovely feedback! :) such great comments!!!

Stevii said...

Perfect comments V.
I think I'm going to join Nanci in saying that I'm a "fun quilter" because in the end that is what it is all about!

Michelle said...

I am a quilter. I don’t hear art quilters going around saying “I’m an art quilter”. I just have a weird-ass design and colour aesthetic that somehow throws me into the modern quilting category. I don't understand why we have to categorise ourselves, except of course it applies if you want to join a modern quilt guild. I'm not a member of the modern quilt guild in my town, but we do have a modern quilting group under the umbrella of our main guild, and while not everyone is a "modern" quilter in the true sense of the term, we all throw ourselves into learning and sharing with so much passion that it honestly doesn't matter! We range in age between 30 and 76 and it is honestly the best quilting group I have ever been a part of - perhaps because no one is labelling each other, and no one is defining "modern" as a young people's thing and "traditional" as old people's thing.

Thank you for your post. I've found it really interesting that I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Unknown said...

I've decided that as much as color and block placement and negative space seem to define "modern" quilters I think what really defines us the most is HOW we connect with each other! Blogs, Instagram, Twitter.

I feel like you, quilting is quilting. Very little is new - it's just reinvented! And we all still love it. :)

hydeeannsews said...

i love your answer. i think a lot of us "inbetweens" struggle to define ourselves. you are so right about appreciating everyone's ideas and passion regardless of taste and technique. maybe i'm an "open-minded quilter"?

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