Friday, April 7, 2017

Politics (and quilts - I mean ON quilts)

I'm not going to make this a post about politics - well it will be sort of.  But it's related to quilts.

Here's a story that was published in the Chicago Tribune earlier this week.  It's Quilt Festival in Chicago this week so it's only fitting that there would be some news about quilts in the local papers. It's always exciting to see the publicity about our craft/hobby/trade to help raise awareness of what we do!

I don't agree with everything in the article.  Some quilters feel that the statements put forth by these so called political quilts take away from the comfort traditionally associated with a quilt.

For some quilters, the process of making a quilt is a healing process.  Making a quilt from a loved one's shirts, for instance, is a healing process and the resulting quilt becomes a tangible memory of that loved one. Something you can wrap yourself in to get comfort.

For non-quilters, having a quilt made also provides them with a tangible memory of their loved one. I've made a quilt that involved cutting up clothes from a deceased person and hopefully, the quilt has provided some comfort to the recipient. It was a weird process!  

Other quilters are using the quilts as a medium to create ART. Do they see the end result as an object of comfort?  Would they wrap themselves in a quilt that had the image of a gun on it?  It might totally depend on the thoughts and emotions that played in that person's mind when the quilt was made. Imagine a family member was shot to death in cold blood in broad daylight while sitting in his car TWO days before Christmas. That family member was 26 years old!   TWENTY years later, his family finally has closure as someone was found guilty of the murder. Would this family find physical comfort in a quilt with the image of a gun on it?  Probably not, but if that quilt brought awareness of gun violence to others - they may get emotional comfort from that.

Making political statements has been around forever. Probably even on quilts. Modern quilting is making these quilts that much more visible. If political statements on quilts help to raise the awareness of the quilting industry in general?   Go for it!!!  We want this industry to continue and let's remember the percentage of political quilts to regular quilts is pretty small.

Would I make a political statement quilt? I like the idea of having my point of view made known, but sometimes I think my point of view (I'm very opinionated) is very strong, I don't want to be on the receiving end of the backlash.  It takes a lot of courage and guts to make a political statement and put it on display for the world to criticize. But we live in countries where freedom of speech is available to us. Yet at the same time, we need to respect those around us.

Is there an answer?  Nope - but just because a few people are using quilts as a medium to voice their opinion doesn't mean that the world of quilting is going to hell in a hand basket!  It's just that - a medium to voice an opinion!  There are those of us who will continue to make quilts for the sake of making them and to provide comfort to those in need.

This little quilt is hanging in my office at the moment and it's the strongest statement I've ever made on a quilt.  Someone made it for me years ago when I was running a weekly sewing group!  I love it and so should anyone come into my office to complain about something - I'll just point to the quilt!

And the example I gave above? About the 20-year-old murder?  Hard to believe but sadly it's true.  

Have a super day!!!!!


April 8  (Saturday) - West End Modern Quilt Guild (unofficial title!)   will be meeting from 10 AM - Noon.  This is the first meeting and we're trying to get a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild started in the west end of the GTA.  The meeting will take place at Streetsville Kinsmen, 321 Queen Street, Streetsville.   Going to be an open discussion of the guild objectives, show n tell and how traditional quilts are the groundwork of the modern movement. A small fee will be charged to cover the room rental. E-mail me if you can't make it and want to be added to the e-mail list.

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