The quilt for Miss Stinky is done and at the quilters and I am safely ensconced in my childhood home for the next two weeks. Every good road trip starts with unwinding at Mom and Dad's right? Plus, there are puppies and brothers here.
Also, a sewing machine. I had my old sewing machine tuned up before leaving town and have brought it to my parents' house. This will be its new home.
My mom knows how to sew, but has not done much of it in recent years. This is partly due to busyness on her part, but also due to the fact that her supposedly rather nice sewing machine stopped working properly before she got her money's worth out of it. I am hoping that using my old machine will revive her interest, it is also nice for me to have a machine to use while i am here.
I brought along my strips from the kelp quilt and am planning on finishing this top next week.
These strips are from the Mid Mod Bee. Speaking of mid-century modern, in the comments to the Modern Day Quilts interview, Rachel said,"I see the correlation to mid century modernism being very clear in modern quilts but other modern inspirations not being so well represented. Is this a personal choice? A fashion of the time?"
This is a question that I have as well. I love mid-century modern design and so it does tend to be what I am inspired by. I do sometimes see some more minimalist work and things that are more beatnik or mod. I think I start to lack the vocabulary for some of these though...if someone could recommend books or documentaries that tease out the threads in modernism, I'd be eternally grateful.
Kate wrote, "Crafts, to a large degree, have also changed from a handed-down tradition to an individual pursuit, in the vacuum of the craft room, with input from the internet."
Does anyone know if this is true? I have been looking for, and failing to find, any rigorous studies of craft traditions and the extent to which they have been solitary, community based, or mediated. I have a mental picture of Laura Ingalls Wilder learning to sew from her mom, and the novice of today learning from YouTube, but anecdotes and easy-conjured mental images aren't evidence of how craft works in people's lives. Have there been histories that document this rigorously?
Quite a few people wrote about craft vs. art.
These words just seem like "master's tools" for elevating what rich white men do with their minds and bodies (it's art!) and devaluing what women and other minorities do with their minds and bodies (craft!). Am I wrong? When and why is this distinction useful?
Rachel said, "One of things I love about the 'quilts' I love is how well crafted they are. Sometimes I am kind of freaked out how badly some of the Modern Quilts are made. In photos, its hard to tell the level of craftsmanship so it doesn't seem to carry any weight. I get great joy from the 'making' and have been repeatedly told that 'craftsmanship' is a 'traditional' value. Is this so? "
Well, I can't really speak for how much "craftmanship" matters to other people, but I can answer for myself and speculate a bit. For myself: I piece improvisationally, so i don't need to have PERFECT scant-1/4-inch seams on everything, because blocks are always going to get cut down and squared up as part of the process. I make good, stright seams that will hold up to wear. I press carefully and resew on the rare occassion that a seam is too skinny to be durable. I don't have puckers or stretching or fudging.
From what I've seen in pictures and in person, most modern quilts are well constructed.
I think that craftmanship carries weight. However, I don't think that modern quilts are celebrated for their technical achievements, but rather for their designs. So, I don't really care if you tackled inset-seams unless I love the result of that tackling. It's all about how it looks in the end, not how crazy you went trying to get there.
Also, what does not carry weight with me as far as craftsmanship goes is any notion of how things are "supposed to be done" or are "supposed to look" that doesn't add to a quilt's longevity or strength. I will show stitches when I want to. Combinations of colors, prints, and materials are of my own choosing. If I'm confident that the fabrics won't shrink unevenly, I will combine voile, quilter's cotton, linen, and more.
The traditional quilters that I know are far more interested in following rules.
One last question from Rachel: "I love print and tend to believe 'more is more' having been told that 'solids is Modern' do I have to put solids in my quilt to have it be Modern? isn't it more about the design? "
I think the use of negative space is one of the bellwethers of a modern quilt. This is usually accomplished with solids and near solids. However, I don't think that using solids or lots of negative space is a requirement of modern quilts--you can have the disease without manifesting that symptom, as it were.
Dana noted, "It's interesting to me that so few people notice that 'Modern Quilts' are so heavily influenced by African American quilting and African fiber traditions."
I have seen that influence noted repeatedly and in the lecture I gave on modern quilting listed it alongside Japanese aesthetics as a major influence. Perhaps it should be brought up more often so that people can pull at that thread and rediscover those quilts. What other influences do people see?