Thursday, March 15, 2012

House Hunting and Modern Quilting...a Parallel

After we sold our house in Kansas I started cruising houses online.  I would open house even if I wasn't looking for a home.   I thrive on seeing how others decorate, organize and lay out their homes.  It's so great to not have to get dressed or get in a car and still see hundreds of homes. My favorite time to walk Bruno is at dusk when I can see inside people's homes.  It's dark enough to see inside, but right before they need to pull their curtains to get some privacy.  I'm a house peeper.

As I'm looking for a place to live, I have a picture in my mind of the perfect place.  It's modern, minimal, open, but with character.  The more I look, the more I've come to a place where a house carries an aesthetic with it.  Sure the decor makes a difference, but the bones of a house have an aesthetic as well.  Modern is not simply built today, it's a specific, definable aesthetic.

So what does looking for houses have to do with modern quilting?  Maybe it's a stretch, but I think about quilting all the time and there are a couple of things that I hear repeated often in the quilting community that I don't agree with and my house search has clarified a couple of those for me.

"There is nothing new in quilting."
I see this phrase all the time and I think the opposite.  There are new things in quilting all the time and I believe that modern quilting is contributing to the options available to us as quilters.  There are new designs, new techniques, new tools, and new ways to run a guild.  It's like in homes, there are sinks in every kitchen and bathroom, but new shapes, sizes, materials, variations and installations are fresh and add to the "sink culture." It's still a sink, but in its own way it's new.  In every art we borrow from or are inspired by the the past and reinvent, revise or tweek to make something new.  That new ideas are being added to the "culture of quilting" is a wonderful sign that the art and craft of quilting is vital and growing. Quilting has a rich and varied history and tradition and isn't is wonderful that we as modern quilters are a part of that.

"Modern simply means made today."
I looked at a house that is new construction, in fact it wasn't even finished yet, but there was nothing modern about it.  From the layout, to the choice of windows, trim and fixtures, it wasn't the modern aesthetic.  While I'm not sure we are finished defining the modern quilt movement and what a modern quilt is, I do believe modern is an aesthetic.  Some houses have elements of modern combined with elements from other styles.  I think it's the same with our quilts....I believe there is such a thing as a modern quilt.  That doesn't mean a modern quilt can't have a link with the past and that their aren't variations on modern.  It also doesn't mean that one is better than the other...they're different.  It's ok to be different.

Some folks tend to see defining a modern quilt as limiting, I see it as freeing, as an opportunity to push further and explore new ideas. Quilters don't have to identify themselves, I choose to, but that doesn't mean I reject other styles.  My hope is to see quilting continue to evolve and change and develop more styles.  When I read these words I see pictures of each in my mind: Amish quilting, crazy quilting, traditional quilting, modern quilting...the possibilities are endless.

The pictures have nothing to do with this post, but a post without pictures....boring!  I've been doing some experimenting with matchstick quilting trying to develop a method that will work with my home machine on large quilts.  I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

27 comments:

**nicke... said...

i agree. modern quilting is doing what i see in my head, not what i read on a pattern. i loved this post jacquie!

Sonia B said...

Love it. Thanks for helping define and promote the modern quilting movement.

emedoodle said...

Thanks again for the perspective! I'm one who has quoted that "there's nothing new in quilting" even though I know it's not true. There's pleanty new -- and a lot of it is seen in how we think about quilting. For instance, it's freeing to know that I'm not going to be yelled at by the quilt police (ever). :)

True Blue Nana said...

Interesting comments about quilting and modern quilting. I like to walk around dusk myself and see inside people's homes. I try to imagine what they are doing, getting ready for dinner, the father reading the paper, etc. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Artfulife said...

Such a great post! As always you continue to inspore me to think outside the box when it comes to creativity.

Artfulife said...

Inspire, not inspore me ;)

Michelle said...

I love this post. :-) So much truth. And, I am a peeper, too!

Valerie said...

I agree-thoughtful post. I love seeing other people's houses too! Appreciated your parallels between quilting and house decor.

sukie said...

"there's nothing new in quilting" I usually say that when i think I've come up with something original just to find out that someone else has done it before.

Great post! :)

cinzia said...

Interesting post. I, too, see modern quilting as freeing rather than limiting. Modern quilting allows me to express my creativity, to put forth what's in my head and not be limited by traditional patterns, techniques or fabrics.
If I can paraphrase what a well-known home designer said: Good design is about understanding the rules, and knowing when to break them.

beth lehman said...

great post - i'm always trying to work quilting into any metaphor or life change. i see new things every day - new ways of thinking and doing - that's what is so fresh to me about modern quilting.

as for other people's homes - i am just like you - i ADORE looking at other ways of decorating, arranging furniture - again the fresh and different ideas. i hate it when folks have blinds or curtains pulled at night - b/c i love looking in windows, too!!

2ndAvenueStudio-Rachel said...

Hi J-

I recently wrote about my experiences on this subject. Your right Modern is an aesthetic. and I completely agree with you.

Hi I recently wrote a post that got reposted to National. I have about 3 regular readers and this was not really meant as a comment on the National Guild. My post was about "the narcissism of small differences" and self critiquing my own work and not listening to those who think it is their obligation to let me know I don't meet their Modern standards. I wish that I had written a few things differently. I think my post is more about relational aggression, the definition of product and how my Artistic Journey relates to the Modern Quilt Experience.

Having grown up in an Art environment. I feel comfortable with the knowing what Modern means. I also feel uncomfortable making a jigsaw that meets another's definition.
wonderful post.
When I had dogs I walked at the same time... same reason. :)

Suz said...

I totally agree... but onto more important matters - what is that beautiful fabric in the first photo??? Note to self - start practicing straight line quilting immediately!

Live a Colorful Life said...

I love house peeping too. This was an excellent and interesting post. Thanks, Jacquie. Oh, and the pictures are great too.

Living in the Bay said...

I love this post! Thank you for sharing so much, Jacquie. You are an inspiration.

Sharon said...

Great post! I too sometimes say "There is nothing new" but that has been in response to what I've been seeing in my magazine subscriptions, (which I have let run their course). I love what you, V, Gwen M, Nifty Quilts and all the other "modern" quilters are doing, it stretches my quilting world.

Nikki said...

Lovely post.
I'd also like to admit to nightly house-peeping! While the dog is smelling the ground, I am gazing in thinking about beam ceilings and layouts. I like to drive to other neighborhoods I admire and take the dog as my "beard".

Paula said...

Agree....Quilting is what you make it..literally and figuratively.

Sara said...

Quilting ideas ending? I don't think so. There are soooo many new things to try!!! I agree with you,great post and I love that you are a house peeper;)

Donna said...

As I'm starting to think about what I want to work on at the CMQG retreat, I find this post very timely. Thanks for being thought-provoking!

Lisa said...

Your words are always thought provoking. I feel like it was a lesson on modern design, and it was very exciting and inspiring. You need to design your next house to get what you want or settle and redesign it. Put the pen to paper and then find someone to build it or tell you its impossible. I really enjoyed this post very informative. Lisa
www.intheboondocks.blogspot.com

Lisa said...

P.S. I love that quilt, it is very beautiful! Lisa

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your very thoughtful post. It's got me thinking.
Debbie R.

Elisa said...

Thank you Jacquie. After last night's MQG meeting here in SLC , the "pending" MQG block challenge for QuiltCon, and my continual struggle/frustration/angst/love with this "movement" your post was just what I needed to hear.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Ans I'm a "peeper" myself.

Esch House Quilts said...

What a great post! The house analogy works so well for me. I've never felt comfortable with the "it's modern because it's now" argument, but couldn't put my finger on exactly why - now I can :)

Also, I love glimpses into other people's homes too - I was a recreational open house attender before we had children and well before we could afford a house.

SusieDW said...

I get it. What we do, who we are, what we see, how we turn out the art and how we see the world. It's all connected. Thank you for a very thoughtful, candid short essay.

Cheryl Arkison said...

I'm totally a house peeper too!