Friday, April 1, 2011

Response to the "Dumbing Down" of Quilting Conversation

"Dumbing down is a pejorative term for a perceived over-simplification of education, news and television (among other things), or as a statement of truth about real cultural trends in education and culture. According to John Algeo, former editor of American Speech, the neologism dumb down "revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence" was first recorded in 1933 as movie slang, and dumb up in 1928.[1]
The concept "dumbing down" can point to a variety of different things but the concept always involves a claim about the simplification of culture, education and thought, a decline in creativity and innovation, a degradation of artistic, cultural and intellectual standards, or the undermining of the very idea of a standard, and the trivialisation of cultural, artistic and academic creations."


A friend told me today about the conversation that seems to be sweeping the net about the "dumbing down" of quilting. My internet is so slow I can't get on blogs very easily, but I took the time and read the original post and the comments. At first, I wasn't going to engage and then I read one of the comments that I'm pretty sure referred to one of my quilts that was in my first gallery show a few years ago. It may not have been, but the description was pretty right on. The implication was that the quilt didn't deserve a spot on a gallery wall. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and can exercise their right not to attend my shows. It's hard not to take those kinds of things personally, but I stand by my work and can take criticism. The sad part about a post like this is that it seems to encourage this attitude of "I know what's best for you and everyone."

There's some talk in the post about lack of technique, seeing the same things over and over again, what is beginner, intermediate or advanced quilting. Is a half square triangle and a pinwheel block challenging? There is talk about bloggers wanting their egos stroked, doing a disservice to quilting by offering simple quilts or making "simple blocks" seem complicated. She encourages us to make quilts that require "focus, concentration, accuracy." Despite the repetition of the idea that she makes and loves simple quilts, the implication seems to be that if quilts aren't complex or technique laden that they in some way "dumb down" the art of quilting. She doesn't seem to like that some bloggers make simple quilts and are praised for them. Why not? If people like a quilt, they can say so.

None of what she is encouraging quilters to do is bad...but attaching it to the term dumbing down gives it a negative connotation.

I guess my response is I make what I love. Challenge yourself if you desire. I am a quilter and I choose what I want to make. I challenge myself because I want to, not because someone thinks I should or it's the right thing to do. I share my work with the quilting community simply because I want to share. If they like it, call it inspirational, or liken it to Picasso, so be it. If they don't like it, so be it.

It's a quilt, some fabric, some thread, and batting and may keep someone warm. What's the controversy in that? Calling it art?



115 comments:

Lisa said...

I really agree with you - people quilt for all kinds of reasons, and what's the harm in that?

I love looking at amazing quilts that people have made - for example, I visited the museum in Paducah twice - but for me the result from pressuring myself to strive for something similar meant I just stopped quilting.

I'm making my first quilt in 2-3 years - a simple split rail - for me the challenge became getting myself to start again and ignore all those voices!

MyLittleBlueDog said...

Hello! Not sure what this relates to, but I would like to say that I am very new to quilting, I love really simple designs, easy or not, it's what I like. I have a friend who makes the most amazing quilts very intricate, lots of applique and fussy cutting, they are great, but not to my taste. Quilting is about self expression, do what you like, who cares, don't judge, life is too short.

Susanne said...

Do you mind me asking where I can read the conversation? I'm so intrigued.

jacquie said...

i didn't know all this was going on either...clueless me...just google dumbing down of quilting and you'll find lots of links to explore the conversation.

Kim said...

I see simplicity to be a growing trend among quilters. It seems that many quilters are really into the fabulousness of the fabric, the color, the fun prints, the style. Much of this is lost once fabric is cut into small pieces to make quilt blocks, so less pieces, larger strips and squares and more fun fabric shining through in these "dumb downed" modern day quilts...not so dumb I think. I can appreciate all types of quilts. But what I truly love is that there are so many quilters enjoying the love of quilt making in some way shape of form.

Lisa said...

I hadn't even heard of it, I think mostly just my personal friends read my blog anyway. It's a way to keep family & friends updated. I do what most would probably say are simple, but I am enjoying the process. And the giving to make friends happy. After all, a quilt keeps you warm. Isn't that the real point? Oh yes, I do use them for pretty things to look at too, but simple or complex doesn't matter. Rather than simple or complex, I feel all quilts are fun- some just more time-consuming. Sorry if your feelings are hurt, it's frustrating to spend so much time blogging to share, and then have people slam you. "If you can't say nothin nice, don't say nothin at all".

Angela said...

I've definitely heard this expression tossed around a lot as well. At times there is some validity to it I suppose, but I think that a more accurate description is accessible. People are making quilting very accessible. And that is a great thing. A craft/art will be lost if no one can participate. And a craft/art should grow as technology grows. That's truly what I see happening.

The Tulip Patch said...

Ruh-roh...the civil war of quilting! My take is "modern" quilters are really into fabric and "traditional" quilters are very into pattern. The modern people can be as snobby about fabric as the traditional people about perfect points. I am just glad there are all kinds of people out there because that means more fabric choices for all of us. That doesn't mean I am not tired of seeing people make the same three quilts over and over and over, but I have a choice not to add them to my reader- choice is a beautiful thing! Jacquie, I do not make the kind of quilts you make but you're on my reader because you are never boring and you make beautiful quilts that are a treat to my eyes. PS unrelated, if I were to go on an internet tirade it would be about color value :)

Sew I Was Thinking... said...

IMHO, I personally am overjoyed that younger generations are embracing this art form. Let's face it, most young people think of quilting as something their mothers or grandmothers did... I know I did, before I started quilting. I agree with the previous comment that the modern trend's focus is more about letting the beautiful fabrics shine through and not get lost in the intricacy of the design. This debate is comparable to the controversy stirred up generations ago about the new "rock n' roll sound"… and that didn't turn out so bad, did it? Music continuously evolves and so can quilting.

Gabrielle said...

I raced over there and gave her a piece of my mind. Thanks for posting about this. Generally, I always thought the movement towards "simple" quilts was aesthetic. We like simple art, and simple buildings, clean lines and fresh colours. Quilting is part of that evolving world of taste and design right? Your quilts are beautiful, and I know you won't be discouraged by a few negative bloggers, but still, you are very inspiring, thank you for all the hard work you put into your blog posts!

Cheryl said...

Jacquie, your quilts are beautiful!

I think there are two current trends in quilting. One is a fairly minimalist look. This should not be confused with dumbing down! I would say that a lot of your quilts fall into this category. I, for one, think they're gorgeous and not as easy to replicate as people think.

The other trend is everything being fast to make. If there were a problem, this might be it, but I think the people who the fast and easy patterns appeal to work during the day or have otherwise very busy lives, and if it weren't for fast and easy patterns, they wouldn't be quilting at all! The art form needs as many fans as it can get, and if speed is impotent, so be it. Most likely, in a few years when they have more time, those quilters will be challenging themselves. But for now, the important thing is, they're sewing.

Cheryl said...

Ah, autocorrect! I meant "important," not "impotent!"

Ms. Knitpicky said...

There has definitely been some unwarranted meanness masquerading as, "constructive criticism," out there lately.

I'm a huge fan of minimalist design in most things, so it's no surprise that I like the more modern quilts. I love huge blocks with simple designs that focus on the fabric. I can look at a fussy, perfect quilt and enjoy it for what it is, but at the end of the day, it doesn't win my heart. Even if not to my taste, I do not feel the need to denigrate the quilt's creator when expressing that the style isn't for me.

While I realize other people feel this way for the opposite aesthetic that I do, I do not understand having to be cruel. I'm younger (and am rather sarcastic and snarky), but I feel it's in poor taste to be mean spirited while expressing that something isn't to my liking.

Alissa said...

Just the fact that we had no clue this was going on means it's just the traditional quilters having the conversation. If they actually paid ANY attention to the leading modern quilters they'd realize that we are all moving past the wonky log cabin block - much less boring pinwheels!

The course of the world is that things progress and those who are still doing the old thing are threatened. End of story.

Simple is not the same thing as easy or dumb. Gah - the whole thing is so frustrating and making me maaaaaad.

Barbara said...

Your response is right on. There are some quilt snobs out there who sit in judgment of the work of others rather than focusing on their own art and their own quilts. It's supposed to be fun. If it isn't fun, then why bother? To each his own, I always say.

Debbie said...

This conversation continues to be unbelievable.
The quilting community is growing into a modern hobby, embraced by both the young and the young at heart. The quilts people are making and showing on blogs are so creative. I love the simplicity of the solids, the wonderful new fabrics being made into picnic quilts, and the challenging quilts with more than triangles and using special rulers.
I pulled out an old "tied" log cabin quilt dated 1983 when my grown daughter returned from London for a visit. She cuddled up in it all weekend long. She said it was her favorite. (It used to be on her tiny daybed as a child.) While I have made appliqued quilts and ones with one inch fussy cut squares, plus some from those wonderful tutorials and book suggestions on blogs, I have enjoyed each and every one. I have watched these newbie quilters become published authors with quite the following, and some even have fabric collections.

I love this hobby. It is one that each quilter can succeed and smile at their accomplishment. I need a simple quilt to work on inbetween the complicated ones. It is just like reading a cute little romance novel while trying to finsh "War and Peace."
Variety is the spice of life. Let's live!

Debbie in Oklahoma

Traci said...

I hadn't heard about the conversation until now, but can I just say "ugh." It's ridiculous. This is about BLANKETS. If people like a style, it will gain recognition. If not, it won't. Whenever I see people running their mouth like that it tells me that they think that there is a finite amount of recognition or success in the world, and they are mad that they are not getting their 'due'. I like simple quilts. I think they're pretty. I don't like complex blocks or traditional layouts with sashing and borders. When I see something like a tumblr block quilt or simple square patchwork or strip quilts in beautiful colors my eyes are happy and I know I'd love to sit beneath it. If someone else doesn't feel that way, they are free to make and comment on whatever the hell they DO like. But quilting does not need to be an elitist sport, where the quilt is proof of your skills. It's supposed to be fun. Perhaps anyone concerned about the status of the quilting world should turn their eyes to things that are TRULY upsetting.

Kate said...

Interesting. Lots of trains of thought. How wonderful that we are free to have this conversation. Was it conversation the person wanted or controversy (hence "dumbing down" rather than another term)? Also, it presupposes that we are each in one camp or another. Are there camps? Or is it a big wide world of options and choices and wonder and fun? Surely the latter: the freedom to pick and choose at will and put our time and energy into what gives us pleasure.

Lisa said...

Some of the mean spirited commentary out there that is masquerading as 'constructive criticism' is pretty horrid, and truly not necessary. We all make what we like, as much as possible. So where's the harm? I think those of us who do alot of quilting also make things in a variety of styles and techniques. I love needle turn applique, but I also just finished a simple half square triangle quilt. The only thing other than support for your lovely work and good self that I wanted to add to the debate is that for all of us quilting is something that is not stagnant. The type of quilt I make today will not be the type of quilt I make in five years time. My tastes and perhaps my income will change. And my personal situation. I have a lovely friend who has made many fine traditional quilts, at the moment she is suffering a deep grief and has turned to making simple quilts that she doesn't have to think too hard about. She makes wonky log cabins and simple square block quilts and they are really beautiful, many she gives to children's charities. It's just the place she is in at the moment, and this kind of quilting is giving her the comfort and space she really needs at the moment. I don't want to imply that all modern quilting is easier, just that some simple shapes sewn together and quilted is sometimes all we need in our headspace.

Carol T said...

I for one do not think that any of your quilts look simple or easy. The one you did with the birch trees looks so real.

Lynn said...

"Focus, concentration, and accuracy" ... if I quilted with those in mind I'd never get anything done and I know I wouldn't have half as much fun!

badlandsquilts said...

I agree...the point I left via comment to some of those posts was this... Of these quilters that these people seem to be looking down on, I bet almost all of them quilt their own quilts. There are lot of traditional quilters that send even a small table topper out. I don't want to start a banter back and forth but if I did this is the point I would counter with. I think it is so great how many people quilt, however these choose to do.

Kwilt Noob said...

Brava! Brava! Brava! Well said!

Becky said...

Well said. The thing that saddens me the most about all the conversations and blog posts are how mean people can be. I would like to think that all quilters are wonderful nice people, but I'm learning that some of them are just as mean as the evil girls I went to high school with. Maybe they are the same girls, now women, who knows. Do what you like, try what you like. I use quilting as therapy, fun, and a means to gather with people I really like and am inspired by.

Anonymous said...

Jacquie, I think I found the comment you're referring to and it made me think of how I felt in middle school when my family visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and there were three pieces in the modern collection that were canvasses in mottled blue, red and white respectively. "I could have done that in kindergarten," I told my dad with a shrug, and figured myself quite brilliant. And I dunno, maybe I could have...kids can be pretty good at looking at things in different ways since they haven't yet learned what the 'same' way is. But now I love going to that gallery, which I work a block away from, and drinking in the art. Even the mottled colors in those three paintings.

I know you, in your parental wisdom, must have shrugged off many an adolescent insult before. I'd encourage you to do the same here, whether that commenter was speaking of you or not. I don't have the impression that you're in the blogging (or quilting) business for the ego-stroking, but I'll join many others here in saying your work is some of my favorite anywhere, several of your quilts have made me catch my breath in disbelief at how you've used shape and color in beautiful, unexpected ways, and I look forward to seeing your work as an inspiration for both ideas to try and directions to strike out.

Thank you for that.

Wendy said...

How sad that someone has to criticize someone else's art just because...oh, I don't know, they think they are better (because that is what it sounds like to me). I am a fairly new quilter (less than 2 years) and I am incredibly inspired by the modern quilters who use simple design to create amazing quilts. Who says there has to be a ton of technical sewing to make it a "real" quilt? My favorite quilts are the ones that use color well, in simple ways...the straight line quilting is some of my favorite. Good for you for speaking up!

liz said...

Jacquie, yours is a blog I search out almost every day when I'm looking for inspiration.

I'm a 50yo new to quilting and I love your style and appreciate you and your blog!

I wouldn't be embracing this lovely hobby if I was concerned with fussy patterns and perfect points. I am drawn to simpler quilts that do showcase the new modern fabrics.

Different strokes - please don't be discouraged by the naysayers!!

Laura said...

I am a self-taught beginner quilter and I have learned so so much from reading quilting blogs. If everything I read on here was complicated I probably would have given up and not ever jumped into quilting!

irene said...

How distressing that quilting is being defined by perfect points and 1/4 in seams. I have probably never done either one with any great precision in my life. But what I do is quilting, original design, origninal color choices with a composition plan for wall hangings and bed quilts alike. And horrors I consider myself an advanced quilter, even throught I have never followed a traditional block pattern or anyone elses for that matter. Perfect blocks, that's what "squaring up" and rulers are all about. And what is really funny is friends that I quilt with all consider my work very dificult and advanced, if not impossible!

I try to get friends to become more original but they are happy where they are. So all is right with the world!

Karin said...

bravo Jacquie! I wanted to touch on the subject myself too, but I am just going to say here - that I make quilts because I love creating! I don't make intricate quilts that take hundreds of hours because I don't have the patience for that! I like quick quilts that give me satisfaction of creating something! Everything I have seen you create, I love! Even the peace quilt with the ''happy accident''.

Melissa said...

I am still new to quilting but do have a bit of experience with sewing in general and with papercrafting. Art is what you make of it:) If you like it and feel good about your creations, that really is what most matters. I admire any attempt at creating- even when it turns out to be not so aesthetically pleasing.

Keep creating for you:) Your opinion of your work is, at the end of the day, all that truly counts:) Thanks for inspiring me!

jill/marny said...

Modern Quilting can be seen as a shift. Much like modern art early in the 20th century. Artists had traditional skills but chose their own paths. Fully capable of incredibly realistic and skillful pencil drawings they might choose to interpret each line they saw or movement they witnessed in simplified line forms with splashes of paint. I can churn out points, traditional blocks, etc. with the best of them, but that is not my desire. Our quilts are hopefully representative of simplified modern design--with a bit of the unexpected. There is plenty of space for all types of quilters. Remember that, and enjoy your own direction. Thanks Jacquie.

Vicki said...

Thank you for your perspective on this! I am all riled up right now, and wishing people would be more kind.

Blogger wouldn't let my first shot a comment post, and it disappeared, so I wrote a blog post: http://www.sewinspiredblog.com/2011/04/dumbing-down-quilting-my-thoughts.html

Theresa said...

I so agree with your sentiments Jacqui....actually more than that, I think you've atriculated it perfectly. At the end of the day, surely we quilt because we love it, the process and the fabric choices. We blog because we're proud of our achievements. In my case...because I don't have a massive following...to keep a record of my quilts and achievements for myself and my family.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the conversation you are referring to, but I am unfortunately not surprised to hear that it exists. I am a designer by trade (not in the quilting arena) and arguments about style are unending, across the board. I think that people confuse minimalism and restraint with easiness or laziness. Some of the modern quilts I see may have been simple to put together, but that doesn't mean that their design lacks validity. I think there is something to be said for things that are "of their time." I would never turn a lovely antique or passed down quilt from my home. It represents a time or a person or a way of life. At the same time, I personally wouldn't make one of the same design, because I am in a different place and would want to represent that. Any art form that freezes in time becomes stagnant. I think it's wonderful to see people "breaking the rules" of quilting from time to time, because that is how things evolve. I am a new quilter, though I come from a long line of them. To be honest, before I discovered more "modern" quilt designs, I enjoyed quilts (I've slept under them my whole life), but did not see a way that they could be incorporated into my personal aesthetic. Sometimes that even made me sad, because I couldn't reconcile my taste with traditions I knew. Now I do see ways to incorporate quilting, and that new found accessibility isn't due to the ease of construction that may or may not be present, it's due to the variety of types available. There's something for everyone, and while I won't look down on someone who doesn't enjoy quilt designs I happen to consider clean and elegant, I reserve the right to enjoy them for myself. :)

Any thing that changes the status quo is criticized by those who came before. Change is threatening to people, I guess. It's funny, because one thing I like about quilting (as a quilt world newbie) is how nice people seem to be and how it's a way to design and create things that doesn't have to be so serious all the time. I guess I have been lucky in where I have been dipping my toes! I think everyone should just do what they like and let others do the same!

Emily said...

Right on!! You said it perfectly! There is nothing more to say. Thank you!

NorthernStar said...

I come from the North of Britain where "traditional quilting" has been around for centuries and when you see some of the really old quilts the thing that really strikes you is their simplicity. The patching together of scraps from around the home to make a cosy blanket is what quilting is all about. Whether it's tiny fiddly appliqué or big bold modern blocks, all that matters is that it's made with love. Don't let nasty people taint your love of quilts

Anonymous said...

I desperately wish I could post an image as comment, but I will have to satisfy myself with pasting in a link (a clean and safe one, I promise):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35699504@N00/5497977520/in/set-72157626226613468/

Venus de Hilo said...

If "dumbing down" means making quilting accessible and appealing to a new generations of sewers, then I'm all for it! The world -- and fabric stores -- would be boring places if we all wanted to make the same things, in the same way, with the same priorities. There's plenty of room in the quiltiverse for those who want perfect points and intricate piecing. There's also room for folks like me, who just want to see how much fun we can have in the sewing room, while making something we find delightful, whether or not anyone else likes it.

two hippos said...

I wrote about this on my blog this past week and, as several of the previous commenters pointed out, there's a significant difference between minimalism and simplicity. Neither are bad, but the former looks like the latter but is generally harder to accomplish well. I think there are some legitimate critiques out there (though I don't think they're all nicely stated) and I actually think a little debate and dissent can be a good thing, provided it doesn't attack anyone. I've always found your work beautiful and inspiring, and I can't wait to see what you're up to next!

Emily said...

I have the same view of quilts at a show that I've always had at car shows. I don't care for "Model A"s, I prefer muscle cars. But just because I wouldn't put in the effort to restore one, doesn't mean that I can't see and appreciate the amount of time and effort put into the finished product. I will NEVER make a Baltimore Album quilt, but I can see the love and patience (that I lack) in every stitch.

Rachel said...

Wow. Did some research on this one. That old biddy is stirring the pot and wants some attention. Like I told her: intelligent people will research the internet and read the blogs and web sites they like. Who cares what anyone thinks?

Blue Is Bleu said...

I've always felt that when it comes to art and creativity, there's no use in casting judgment. There's no right or wrong because it's all subjective. She has the right to say what she wants to say, of course, but I do question the point of her post. What was she trying to achieve?

And I was talking to a customer the other day who went to a class taught by someone who was so critical and kept ripping apart any work that wasn't precise. It was a class she'd been looking forward to but ended up not enjoying it in the least.

Crystal Hendrix said...

Very nicely said! I haven't heard of that term before...and I personally think its kinda rude! As I grow older, I find that everything is so personalized...one woman's simple is an others complex. Everyone is different and it's okay. Thanks for posting this! :D

Feltsey said...

Interesting conversation. As far as I am concerned all quilts are art, all quilters are artists, and "art is a language anyone can speak." (Thanks to my daughter for that last little bit--kids can be profound.) The more accessible quilting is to new quilters, the better. I've been quilting for years, and I love making both simple and complex quilts. Would you pick up War and Peace every time you wanted to read a novel? No--sometimes a romance novel is just the thing. Ditto for quiting. How interesting it is to challenge yourself this month, then just put squares together next month. To heck with what anyone else thinks.

Nell said...

I haven't read teh conversation. But, surely someone only critcises another when they feel threatened?

Anyway, isn't it all about the enjoyment of doing? I enjoy quilting (and I'm not very good at it!) for the pleasure of picking fabrics and sitting sewing quietly in my own thoughts. And, for making a gift that shows love for my friends and their kids.

And, I echo others above, your quilts are beautiful.

True Blue Nana said...

I saw a reference to this conversation on Handmade Alissa's Twitter. I don't get the meanness but I know it is out there. I have been into quilt shops with my free form liberated quilts and felt very uncomfortable. I do not like 100 blocks made the same way and all points meeting but if that works for you than carry on but let me do what works for me. Actually that attitude kept me from quilting for years. I am not sure what blog has the negative comments you are referring to.

ChrisQuilts said...

As the saying goes - "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!" Soome of us can't make perfect points and don't care - it's all about sewing and being creative and happy with what you have made.

C. Jaeger said...

This is why I am so glad that you are at the forefront of this shift in attitudes toward happiness and respect for our different viewpoints as quilters and creators. Your creative and encouraging voice is the one I want to hear; not the negative and judgmental voices, so please keep doing what you are doing!
p.s.
I get to go fabric shopping today...at Sara's in Lawrence. Pure Joy!!!

Paula said...

Whatever "they" say, I say small minds. What is a creative endeavor if it is incumbered with rules and restrictions. Feel free to communicate with your own creativity. Not everyone will love it but as long as you love it and have rejoiced in your process all is right in your quilting world. I love your quilts and I love my own. It brings true joy and passion to my life. Dumbed down? I don't think so.

KathyB said...

"Make what you like, and make it how you want to make it" has been a very freeing idea for me. Whether other folks appreciate my efforts at sewing/quilting/knitting is really beside the point. Sewing as an expression of my own creativity and spirituality is what it's all about for me. Your blog is always a place of inspiration and encouragement. Keep it up!

mary said...

One of the reasons i like to quilt is that it is a form of relaxation and de stressing for me. I find if I try to do something too complicated it stresses me out and there goes the whole relaxation end of it for me. I truly think there is a place for everyone in the quilting community. we all have our own reasons for quilting. Mine are relaxation and spending time with the "quilting chicks"!! I'm done beating myself up trying to make more complicated stuff, i now just make what makes me happy.

Zegi said...

I wonder at the complaint of "seeing the same thing over and over agian." There is a very simple explanation for that: it is the trend. Think about it...crazy quilts. Baltimore album quilts. Wedding ring quilts. Red and white quilts. If there had been blogs back then people who make this "everything is the same" comment would have been saying the same thing in those times. Also, patterns exist to assist the propogation of a distinct look...and patterns are the basis of most quilting books and magazines. So I have a hard time having sympathy for this "same" complaint. As for whether or not quilting is dumbed down...I don't see that at all. Beginners have long used the 9-patch (i.e., simple squares) to break in. It is easier, than say, curves. If a lovely quilt is the result, so what? If it hooks a person who wasn't going to be a quilter into being a quilter...well then that is awesome in my book.

MissMary said...

Art evolves. Living things change and grow. Dead things do not. On the one hand, there's great value to keeping deep-seated traditions alive. On the other hand, I sure am glad for the innovations that allow modern life to exist as it does today. I don't see the need for argument when both new manifestations of traditional techniques and exact representations of those traditions are coexisting in the same culture. Both are valid. I'm sorry you found your piece as a target, however. I know that must sting. I hope all the positive feedback you're getting from your blog readers is reassuring! Best!

MariQuilts said...

I agree that the term dumbing down is very derogatory. I love your work and am inspired by your blog. I will be checking out this conversation....it has caught my interest.

I love that we quilter's and bloggers are free to put our work out there......I don't understand the need to tear down other people's work.

Kelly O. said...

I'd like to read the original post..who wrote it?

diane said...

Thanks for speaking up for all of us. We all make what we love and are not creating for praise or others happiness. You are so right when you say it's basically two pieces of fabric with a filler and some stitches...the ultimate result is it keeps someone warm and that makes ME happy!

Sharon said...

Just when did quilting become a competitive sport? Is this the trash talking of March Madness?

LittleBook said...

Thank you for this. For me, quilting is a way of expressing myself. I love modern quilts with simple lines. It's my aesthetic. If I had to work with only civil war prints making complicated blocks, I wouldn't do that. Not that I think those quilts aren't beautiful, they just aren't for me. I wish we all could appreciate that there are many kinds of quilters and quilts and differences aren't bad - just different. And, honestly, I feel bad for someone who has to denigrate the work of others. It must be awful to live in a world where you can only appreciate yourself.

Kristy said...

Mean people suck no matter how old you get! Frankly, as a mere seamstress, ;) I am very thankful for those willing to simplify the quilting process. How else to learn and enjoy? No need to read the original here, and glad the post isn't one that will be showing up on my blog roll...certainly not the kind I'd ever be interested in following.

Beth Ellen said...

Whether a quilt is simple or complex, I am often struck by the color and fabric choices the quilter made, and/or how they used what they had on hand. This is as much a part of the process as the block design used.
Think of the Gee's Bend quilts, or Amish quilts. Simple blocks are often combined in astonishing and beautiful ways. This is a show of artistry just as much as the more intricate blocks show a command of artistry and careful technique.

Elsa said...

Found the blog that is the center of all this conversation. Makes me sad that there is so much criticism of each other. One, traditional and another, modern. Makes me not want to participate in either.
I'm very lucky to have such supportive friends who think that everything I make is wonderful (even when I know it's not). They have much more experience than I and have made lots of quilts and know a lot about all sort of techniques. And, they share it with me, gladly!
I think that we should all embrace what is unique in each other and drop the pettiness and criticism of each other.

Jilly said...

What I wonder is what kind of quilts these traditional quilters were making when they had young kids. Were they doing complex hand applique, or were they making nine patch and pinwheel and log cabin quilts that fit within their limited time schedules? Now that they have the luxury of time to devote to their art, I don't think they should denegrade younger quilters who are busy. I have my "wish list" quilts that involve complex triangles and tiny pieces or improvisational peicing, and then I have the realities of having only small parcels of time to sew between working and caring for my young kids. But why should I feel like I"m not a "proper" quilter because I make a lot of quilts with squares and rectangles right now? I love playing with fabric and being able to give my friends happy, snuggly blankets for their new babies. And because I'm making my friends simple quilts, I've inspired several of them to start quilting too. Isn't that the point, to do what brings us and others joy?

Madame Samm said...

I applaud all quilters, modern, classic....does it really matter...?
I keep thinking of my Nanny when I was young " How dull would our world be if all there was -was green jello?" She had a point that I have never forgotten...it is the colors of our personalities, our world, our imagination that makes us sew unique!. Be unique it suits YOU.

elizabeth said...

I piece and quilt because I enjoy it, love fabric, and like giving quilts as gifts. Some see the glass half empty and some see the glass half full. I see lots of creativity out in blogland and I appreciate all the sharing of information and ideas. Your blog is wonderful : )

Jennifer said...

I finally caught up on that whole debate yesterday and my goodness! After going cross-eyed reading all the posts and comments I clicked away thinking "I don't care!".

I make what makes me happy at that particular point in my life. I have hand pieced and hand quilted entire quilts and I have made quick and easy quilts. I love both styles equally because of what they mean to ME.

My other take on that whole series of posts... jealousy plain and simple which is not a flattering quality for anyone.

Good for you for standing behind your work. Any quilter who puts themself into a quilt and then takes the risk and blogs about it for the world to see deserves all the praise that they receive!

Jennifer :)

Lynn said...

I'm commenting again. After thinking about it some more. My quilts that I make get used. I have 3 teenagers and a cold house. They love their warm colorful quilts, I can play with fabric, they create bright spots in my house, kids are warm, everybody's happy. Well everyone except those who tell me my quilting is too simple!

Amber said...

Dang - I missed this whole thing until today - I thought you were talking about the blog that had insulted Malka's work...but I guess they are "related" in their thoughts.

Why do they care how we sew or what we sew....are we hurting them in some way? Can you tell I'm irritated :-)
Guess I'll just go sew some of my "dumb" quilts....

Great post by the way :-)

Courtney said...

I agree with you - make what you like! I love simple quilts. Some of my favorites are strip quilts. The real art is picking the fabrics & layouts. So many of the intricate quilts I only appreciate for their difficulty in making, but they don't appeal to me aesthetically at all. All quilts are beautiful because they are made with love and care. That's the art!

corinne said...

I hoping the blog was not about your quilts, because they are great. But I do agree that a lot of quilts are very simple. But to each his own.

MelanieO said...

I fear this is all my fault. Something that I said on Sew, Mama, Sew set her off on a tangent. She very well might be right about my stupid statement, but the following attack on other quilters I felt was harsh and mean.

My biggest fear in all of this is that people will no longer show their quilting projects on their blogs and flickr. Personally, I don't know if I will post photos of simple quilts I make anymore, now that I know people are snickering behind my back. It's hurtful and I liked the blogging community better when it was nice. I don't think there's a need for this CONVERSATION. I think we should all make what we want and to hell with the haters.

Robin said...

A simple design doesn't make a quilt simple. Some of my favorite quilts are simple in design, but that doesn't mean there conception is any less difficult. And I think some mistakes and imperfection give so much charm. I am new to your blog, but I love it and I adore your work. Thanks for sharing your inspiration so others can be inspired. My own work wouldn't be where it is today without blogs. I appreciated what you shared in this post--thoughts like yours make me feel encouraged to keep on quilting despite what others may feel about my work.

Live a Colorful Life said...

This will "date" me but I just want to be Rodney King and say, "Can't we all just get along??" I appreciate your post today. The wonderful thing about quilting is you can do so many things with it. And you can do what YOU want with it, which can be totally different from week to week, sometimes day to day, depending on what else is going on in your life.

I also totally agree that there is a big difference between simple and minimalist. And believe me, Jacquie--the quilts you make are fabulous but I guarantee a lot of them are not "simple" to make.

Frustrating. Can't everyone just do what they want and have everyone else follow that age-old advice: if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!

Angie said...

I agree with you, Melanie. I'm feeling a little bit self conscious about the quilts on my blog, honestly. I doubt that any of these women are referring to me, but I certainly fit the description. Yes, sometimes I make simple quilts because I want a fast quilt. I also just like the more minimalist quilts. My biggest problem with the original post was the description of "dumbing down." I don't have a problem with the discussion of aesthetics, but with that particular wording, it's pretty hard not to be a bit offended.

Diane said...

I know there are purists out there who believe that only the quilts that display exemplary skills should be in shows but I disagree. There is more to love about quilting. I believe that it isn't just the degree of difficulty of piecing or the intricacy of the quilting that makes a quilt good. For me it's also the play of color and design. I haven't really seen a quilt that I don't find something to love about. I love your quilts for the feelings they evoke - you put so much of yourself in your designs. They are beautiful!

Kate said...

I find this whole "dumbing down of quilting" conversation that has been going on is quite strange. Life would be pretty boring if everyone was the same and liked and did the same things.

Micki said...

I grew up in the middle of this type of argument about quilting. My grandmother made hundreds of very simple block quilts, mostly from scraps or recycled clothing, that were entirely machine stitched and machine quilted. My auntie (other side of the family) said those were not "real" quilts as "real quilts" were entirely hand-pieced, hand-quilted, cut from new fabric, etc. I dunno, it was my grandma's quilts that kept me warm at night. I am so excited by the modern quilts I'm seeing on blogs and going back to my grandmother's quilts for color inspiration. (auntie's quilts tended to be matchy-matchy too)

quiltygal said...

I love traditional quilts ...my decorating style in my house is "old fashioned" so the quilts I tend to make for me are the old patterns...but I love looking at the modern style I appreciate that you still have to cut & sew all the bits together & I have tended to make the baby quilts I have been doing the past few years more modern to suit the recipients....why cant there be a place for every type of quilt...If you dont like a certain style dont visit those blogs!!!
This kind of argument is the exact reason I stopped going to our Local Quilt guild (of which I had at one time been President) because it became all about rules not the enjoyment of quilting...
Modern material needs a more simplistic style so it doesnt get lost if I brought some Maria Horner for instance I would do simple but if I have repo I do repo pattern because thats what I personally like ...some people need to lighten up because at the end of the day its "just a Quilt" not Brain Surgery !!!....

Mego said...

Thanx for posting this. This is not just about quilting but about hiding behind your keyboard and typing like you are some kind of 'expert'. It is happening in all the BLOGS and is making it's way into regular discourse. My goodness, if you don't LIKE something then just move on. If you DO then you speak about it. Sometimes it's the color or the energy or the stitching and yes sometimes the repetition. But as in all things it is a statement of what the artist wanted. Somehow we have gotten to the place where everything is a competition that people believe if they browbeat you enough you will agree with them. Ridiculous. You are wonderful and I enjoy your work immensely!

Malka Dubrawsky said...

So, would it be accurate to say that Amish quilts are dumbed down? I mean, they're pretty simple.
Should I also assume that simple is by it's very nature not beautiful or interesting?
Isn't the point to craft something beautiful and possibly functional out of something as mundane as a bit of fabric?
I get so tired of this kind of pettiness. Thankfully, I never tire of your beautiful quilts, so, keep it up, Jacquie!

mtnhomequilter said...

I think people knit pick just to do it. I may not like all the "modern" quilts out there b/c I don't like odd color combinations or fabric that looks like someone just puked on it, but I'm not going to tell that person that it's awful. If they like it, great! I'm also very symmetrical in my quilting, I like balance in color, size, everything. I'm a Libra to the core, so it's very hard for me to stretch outside the box. I make quilts for friends and family, usually in colors they request, I don't like pink and brown together, but I've made 2 baby quilts in that color and have 1 yet to make. Do I like these colors together? Heck no! But it's what the recipient wants. As long as they are happy, then I'm happy. I also don't like quilts that require you to use all the fabric from one collection in them. Not all fabrics in a collection should go together, let your eye rest for heavens sake! I agree with the other poster who said she had more to say about the color schemes in quilts then whether they were hard to piece together or not. One mans easy is another's challenging. I can't say all your quilts are my cup of tea, but they are impeccably made and showcase your personal touch. That's all that matters. I adore your cogs quilt though and would love to know how to make it, I haven't been able to figure out the geometry on that one yet. Let's all just keep stitching for the love of the craft and not care about the fuddy duddy's who don't like us or our style. P.S. I had an older lady reprimand me for using black quilting thread to hand quilt a black, red, and white quilt. I wanted the quilting to stand out, not blend in, and she tried her darnest to change my mind. I informed her that she didn't have to help me quilt it if it bothered her that much. It's MY quilt, she doesn't get a say. OK I'm done.

johnsoncircus said...

This weekend I had a new friend who is a long arm quilter approach me about piecing a "show Quilt" that she could quilt and we could enter in contests. I declined. I love quilting. I love picking out fabric and cutting it up and then putting it all back together again in a way that make me happy. I dont want the pressure of making the perfect quilt. My quilts are to be loved, used and sometimes hung on a wall to be admired. There is a freedom in being imperfect in our quilting and that freedom allows us to enjoy the process. I may love to oooh and awww over the show quilts of others but I have no desire to create them. I find it sad that some feel that they can narrowly define quilting so as to make themselves feel better about how they do their craft. Quilt how you want!

ecuakim said...

Oh brother. Why can't we just love each other and all our efforts to create beauty all around us? I love your quilts, even though I am more of a traditionalist style-wise. Also, I LOVE your new blog background! You've really lightened up the place and it's wonderful!

ladybugquilting said...

My thoughts exactly!
I started to reply to her post directly, but then thought better of it because no-one will say anything to change her mind!
I too make quilts that I want to make, whether they be simple or difficult.
Why do we have to have someone putting us down all the time?
Why can't we just have happy?
Perhaps I'm too naive!

carol said...

Jacquie, some people "just don't get it"!! Who really gives a rat's ass anyway? You have been an inspiration to many (me included). Can you think of anything better? Eventually, everyone develops their own style and who can say what's right or wrong? Please???? Good thing she and I won't meet in person.....I wouldn't be too quiet then!!

Clothed in Scarlet said...

Woohoo! don't ya just love it when others are so full of themselves that they have to be kill joys;o) Maybe these fun suckers are striving to duplicate original quilts and not develop their own style, pattern or sense of self. Hummm...But, if something doesn't grow doesn't that mean its dying? Are they really trying to regulate quilting to death? I'm just saying lol, Sarah

Kristin L said...

One of the things I love most about quilting is just how diverse it is, and how it can fit the needs of so many. Quilting and patchwork can be simple for beginners, or complex for those who love a challenge. It can be country, or modern, bold or subdued, fancy or plain. It can be done by machine or by hand. It can be embellished, or purely fabric and thread. Quilts can be teensy tiny, or King sized. Quilters can create something intended to be hung on the wall, or something completely practical to be laid on a bed or wrapped around a baby. The maker can challenge themselves by their choice of fabrics, or concentrate on colors, or maybe they like a million little pieces and complex construction; perhaps they are going for a zen-like spare aesthetic. I could go on. The point is, to draw lines as to what is or isn't a quilt or what is or isn't worthy of blogging or hanging in a gallery, is to be blind to the possibilities of the medium.

Sewing Geek said...

REALLY? There are quilting wars going on?? REALLY? Sigh.......

One Flew Over said...

A very eloquent post Jacquie.

I make simple quilts because that is what I enjoy.

Simple should never be coined 'dumbed down' and as Malka pointed out are Amish quilts and the quilts of Gee's bend 'dumbed down' because they are simplistic?

I think not.

Beauty is and always will be in the eye of the beholder.

The Calico Cat said...

Several commenters here have already said what I am thinking on this subject:
1. Malka's post - where they were talking about her products & not being one bit coy about it
2. Many of our foremothers made these simple quilts - Gee's Bend & my grandmothers double polyester "Make due, use what you have" quilts.
3. What kind of quilts did they make when they had a 2 year old right there to help?
4. "Creative Criticism" does not need to be mean - I blame the anonymity of the internet... Seriously, does the cashier at the grocery store need to hear you phone conversation?
5. I have a paying job, quilting is my hobby!
6. I can go on, but I now need to google "dumbing down quilting." (I am a nosey-parker.)
7. Sorry if they were talking about your quilt - jealous? (Not that that makes it any better.)

ing said...

to me quilts are love. i'm often inspired by what you decide to put into the form of a quilt. i'll appreciate your efforts to share with us even more in light of your slow internet connection! there are other quilting blogs i visit regularly even if the quilts are all similar because of the passion or attitude of the blogger. there's a lid for every pot and a reader for every blog.

kristin said...

I've been following this kerfluffle for awhile, and I suppose I can see why some of the more traditional quilters are getting their panties in a twist. This happens in the knitting community a lot, especially during the novelty yarn scarf era. I think some of it stems from feeling under-appreciated for the work they do - their quilting isn't the new, hip thing anymore, and perhaps they were doing it years ago and don't see what the fuss is all about. I know that I sew what I like - solid fabrics, geometric designs, and I knit what I like - complicated cables, crazy shaping. As long as YOU like what you're doing, then nobody else should say anything.

sarah, rsm said...

hmmmmmm, i think i'm glad i've missed the conversation AND i SO appreciate your work and your response! keep on, please ....;)

Meg said...

I wish I understood why people try to turn matters of preference, style and opinion into turf wars. Wonky can be well made with perfectly sewn seams. Praise for a fellow quilter for a simple quilt is about more than just the quilt, it's about community and appreciation for one another's time and effort. As for the criticism of quilt-alongs? Some of us are not lucky enough to have local guilds we can attend, and we enjoy the sense of community we get while working together on a common project.

Ultimately, live and let live. Sew and let sew. My momma raised me better than to think that anonymity makes it okay to be mean to others. Maybe I'm just lucky?

fyek said...

I skimmed the post you're referring to and read many of the comments, and I have to admit that it made me feel sort of sad. I'm someone who's always dabbling in various crafts, which means that I don't really get great at any of them, and that's fine with me. When I make something I like to write about it on my blog, where friends and strangers (a few) will say what they liked about it. Reading her post made me feel kind of dumb, like there might be people out there who would find what I'm doing lame or not worthy of sharing, let alone worthy of being congratulated for making it. That being said, there are all different reasons for creating, and no one should have to justify what they make. We should also be free to say what we like about something without fearing what someone else thinks. There are so many places in this world to find sorrow and pain, why bring those negative emotions into the craft blogging world? Lastly, I liked what some people wrote her her site regarding individual challenges. Part of what makes creating fun is challenging yourself in different ways how you want to. I have a one-year-old, so I'm not about to use his naps to learn difficult techniques or strive for perfection. I'm also not in a position to take classes. And that's okay! I like making stuff, and that's about it! Sometimes the challenge is how fast I can finish something before he wakes up. Is it less than perfect Sure, but I don't really care. If I ever start selling stuff I'll obviously take my time, but for now, it's for me or dear family and friends who don't mind the imperfection or simplicity.

WendyLou said...

Oh, good grief! Honestly! Some people will argue about anything! I say do what you like and move on! That's certainly what I plan to do :) I LOVE the modern quilting movement. LOVE the simple designs - so clean and, well, simple. If quilting were still what it was 20 years ago, I would not have any interest in it. The colors, FOR ME, are so drab and dreary, and the patterns are, well, maw-maw-y. I love all of the young, fresh designs coming out of blogland!

I hit this problem every time I go into my LQS. I get eye-rolls and heavy sighs when I mention learning something online (which is EVERY.THING. I know about quilting!!). But they did have to swallow their pride a bit when I brought in my first free-motion attempt - they did a double take when they found out that I did it myself from online tutorials. And it looked good!! They're gonna have to keep up with the times if they're gonna stay in business. Not a lot of younguns coming up who want Civil War repro fabrics ... just sayin ...

So ... "dumbing down?" Call it what you want ... I call it fabulicious!!!

Dianne said...

This is an old debate and there really is no resolution except to remember as we go forward in life to be unfailingly kind when we speak. There will always be someone with greater or lesser skills and humans come equipped with a wide range of tastes. Love what you love, ignore what you don't and speak in such a way that your words hurt no one.

brown robin said...

I have a friend who is 20 or so years older than I. Her children are my age. She once explained to me that she raised them to understand that their "giftedness and talents" meant that they had an obligation to give back to the world, to be heard, to make their community a better place. I feel that posts such as this one, and others that you have shared in the past make our "community" a better, richer, more accepting space. Thank you. It takes wisdom and guts.

Margaret said...

Well said. There is a lot of unpleasantness in the world; do we have to bring it into something that for those of us that read quilting blogs, love to do? I thought the movie "Mean Girls" was about high school students.

Pinkadot Quilts said...

The quilts of Gee's Bend were on display in the Philadelphia Museum of Art! They are simple and beautiful.....many many people came to see them.I am pretty sure they did not think "oh my those colors don't go, they didn't cut anything straight, nothing matches up and those fabrics are horrible!"
The person who wrote that probably thinks that "art" in whatever form, needs to match the couch too!

Thimbleanna said...

Great comments Jacquie! I laughed when I read one of your commenters call it "the civil war of quilting". Well, it was a sad sort of laugh. There's room for everyone here. My beef certainly isn't with the simplicity or not (I love ALL kinds of quilts), but rather with this concept that we must constantly "challenge" ourselves. Oh crap -- I've already had my say and I'm stopping here, so as not to go on forever LOL!

jmbmommy said...

I like you J! All the more for this post. I read someone's blog post about precision/accuracy/challenging yourself and then I wanted to read yours... To me this seems to be more about a matter of preference and a feeling of exclusion, not that people are being excluded, but FEELING excluded. That is too bad, I say-- I appreciate that people are making things of their hearts and their hands-- wonky or traditional. I don't like grumpy poopy people, but they are always out there (in any field). I was in Sisters OR, the first summer that the Women from Gee's Bend were there. In one of my workshops I over heard these two women going ON an ON about how "those quilts" would be laughed out of their guild. WELL-- I moved my machine away from them and over to some silly people. I had a great day. People grumble and whine when they are not busy doing things that make their soul sing... me, I am going to go and sew myself a quilt! You are an ARTIST, don't ever stop!

Ethne said...

Sometimes I wonder if these critics are able to explore the alternative side of quilting - could this person do what you did with a load of scraps and create something as wonderful as the silver beech forest piece - or would they just grudging just pick through the fabrics, cut them to pieces and made a monochromatic mini mosaic block
Personally I think many are afraid of exploring beyond traditional block guidelines and remember there was a time that each of these traditional blocks were the 'modern' thing and not traditional

QuiltingCyclist said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry over this but think I will have tears of laughter at the end of it. I came into quilting in the early 80's having grown up sewing garments. My mom rejected quilting as it was WORK to that farm girl. I dived into quilting, no patterns and no classes. I found an occasional pattern in Women's Day. As quilt shops took hold, we who were the younger quilters learned to keep quiet about our short-cuts - specifically, machine piecing. The quilt police were after us. There were lots of other rules too numerous to mention. But it was very similar to today's debate. I say there is room for all who love fabric, color, design and wrapping those we love up in our creations. For me, I will always gravitate towards the creations that show careful planning, placement and good craftsmanship. That said, let's have some mercy and allow for different points of view. It's never too late to learn something new.

Susan said...

I read your blog because I like your quilts and there is nothing "dumb" about them. I find a nice mix of traditional and modern and they are beautiful. One of the 1st things I learned when I began my quilting journey was that there are no rules. Period. I belong to several quilting groups and all of us have different styles and I can appreciate the effort others have made in their work. I've also learned much along the way & hope to continue to learn. Quilting is an evolution, not a "do it this way or else" thing. Your work is beautiful, please keep creating. And don't worry about someone who thinks the art of quilting peaked in 1930.

Joan said...

The "Dumbing Down" of Quilting. What a hoot! Attitudes like that are the very reason I am so glad to be associated with modern quilters. . This is exciting stuff and I eagerly await the evolution of this latest tread in the Quilt world. I look around and see folks that are just doing what makes them happy. Go to any modern quilt guild meeting and look at the smiling happy faces as we encourage one another and just have fun doing what we like in the fabrics that excite us. P.S. we won’t tell your Traditional Quilting friends you’ve defected.

I don’t care if you like traditional quilting and feel the need to defend your preference; you just don’t have to make me wrong so you can be right in the process.

April (Polkadot Sparrow) said...

I didn't take offense to that blog post. I understand people's frustration with seeing the same type of quilts everywhere on the internet and people responding as though it were some new invention. Just like with fashion, nothing with quilting is new. It just gets recycled in different ways through different generations. Quilting is Art and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So if you like simple, do it. If you like complex, do it.

Neither parties have reinvented the wheel here. :)

Don't let other people's opinions ruffle you. You are an ARTIST. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

the "dumbing down" thing irritates me to bits... it's that kind of "snobby, quilting police" attitude that holds the quilting industry back... quilting should be for everyone... it should not be about judgement... people should be allowed to create what they want to create, what brings them joy....

i, personally, don't enjoy quilts that are so intricate that they are too precious to touch or use... i remember seeing a winning quilt at a quilting show a few years back, that had taken the lady 10 years of solid work almost every day to make... i actually found the quilt to be quite ugly... i thought her workmanship was spectacular(and i totally appreciate the man hours that went into it), but i also found it kind of sad that the woman had nothing else in her life to show for the 10 years but this one quilt which was to be hung on a wall somewhere and never used.... she must have really enjoyed making this quilt though, so good for her! but it was certainly not my favourite quilt in the show...

for me, quilting is about creating pretty blankets to be used by my family, by rough-and-tumble children- to be enjoyed... since when were these kind of quilts less worthy?

throughout history quilts have been made for many different reasons, one of most popular to use up scraps of fabric to be frugal- to create a pretty blanket... were those quilters throughout history dumbing it down?

somebody please tell that blogger to get off her high horse... there's a reason why simpler quilts are the most popular, because they are the most achievable by most sewers... not all of us a retired with nothing else to do in our day but quilt- but does that mean we shouldn't quilt?
people craft for different reasons! please let us not judge why people quilt- or their finished results...

make things that make you happy and if they make others happy, well that's a bonus- but nobody should be making something because the "quilting police" told them to...

amy

Kritta22 said...

Oh my dear friend, I hope I can call you that. I'm so sorry that someone hurt your feelings. How dare they! Please don't stop what you are doing. You inspire me.
What you said I believe is correct. Well said with humble and not negative feedback. I'm sure I'm saying nothing new to what these commenters have said. I just wanted you to know that I love your quilts. I think they are beautifully creative and wonderful.
Another comment I wanted to add before I close is that some of the most beautiful quilts in the world are the Amish quilts. They are simple beautiful, useful and perfect. I rank your quilts up next to them.

MightyMom said...

uh-huh, noted.

there's a reason why I will never ever put my quilts in a "show" of any kind. I can't stand people like that. and I don't suffer fools well.

pbach1 said...

not sure if anyone can remember the reaction to the gees bend quilts. would those be considered "dumbed down"? if so, i'd rather be "dumb", you know?

katie hocking said...

You know what? I read all these comments and the article that sparked them - and it all comes back to one word - TOLERANCE - if there was more of that in this wonderful world we live in, then we would be more inclined to consider commentary in that context rather than to see it as an opportunity to 'take sides'. Opinion is just that - a persons' right to express his or her opinion based on their own value system, taste and beliefs. Let's not lose sight of that and acknowledge that what floats our own particular boat, may not float someone elses.

~yolanda said...

I would like to THANK YOU for your committment to doing what you love the way you want to do it as you are one of many modern quilters who have inspired ME to do what I love the way I love to do it.

Glynis said...

Jacquie, catching up on your blog, showing my 17yo daughter, Sydney, your latest quilts as we read this post. I grew up with a Grandmother who did tons of piecing, she cut up her worn dresses and the clothes I outgrew, was incredibly resourceful in using every scrap, hand quilted. One of our most beloved of her quilts is also the simplest - circa 1940-50s, full-size, simply made up of 5-inch squares alternated with 9-patch squares of miscellaneous colorful, salvaged fabrics, finished with a solid border and binding, stitched together into what her great-grandchildren now enjoy as their favorite. The simplest of her quilts is to them the most beautiful, treasured, sweetest, most delicious, cuddly, worn quilt.

In the first experience my daughter and I personally had in learning quilting 9 years ago, quilting seemed to be more about exacting, traditional, complex, pre-determined patterns and prescribed borders, etc. My daughter lost interest, perhaps not free-flowing, outside the lines creative and expressive enough for her artistic bent and talents. Your blog, which we found through our dear friend Miss Penny at sewtakeahike, actually inspired her to revisit this art form and sewing in general. We learned that simple shapes with fun, colorful fabric we enjoy produces a delight and "cool" factor. Now we're ravenous - we've checked out the few books from the local library on modern quilting, learning from y'all on the blogs, and picking up book recommendations then adding them to our B&N cart.

Today, as I read aloud the the comments you had seen on another blog about "dumbing down" quilting, Sydney remarked that when women, and men, including cowboys, were making quick quilts for warmth and survival their "FOCUS" was most likely on fitting miscellaneous cuts of fabric into blocks or bands, rather than "CONCENTRATED ACCURACY" on intricate pattern. She surmised that Modern Quilting is actually returning us to those traditional roots. In fact, we recently saw a book on the quilts in the Metropolitan Museum, and were surprised that many from the 1700 and 1800's looked like they were from this Modern Quilting movement. The clean design, simple serenity and beautiful color are refreshing in these overly complicated times, surely as they were in times past. Today this is inspiring a young generation of quilters/fabric artists like I would never before have imagined, as well as busy folks who want to create. Ten years ago I heard people lament that quilting was a dying art. Welcome to the 2010s. While we still enjoy learning the many block patterns that people have all through history created, in addition to the current block styles, quilt patterns, and free-flowing designs, is it possible that Modern quilting may have actually reinvigorated interest, ensured the future of quilting, and returned it to its pure, simple roots? Simplicity, form, function, inspiration.

Karen said...

I would not want your quilts to be anything other than what you want them to be. Making quilts is a glorious pastime. Make what you like and don't worry about a negative comment. You have pleased yourself and probably many others and that is what counts.