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Lightbulb Moment [Jul. 17th, 2009|12:06 pm]

I’m sitting here working on the last little bit of my Hawaiian appliqué quilt, and thinking over the gorgeous quilts I saw at Paducah, and the class I took there which mostly involved using inks to color fabric to get the precise look you want.  I was disappointed in the class; in general, I find I don’t like that sort of technique.  One of the winning quilts at the show was done that way -- it was quilted whole cloth: one piece of fabric which had been quilted and then the quilting motifs were colored in.  It was beautiful, but when I got up close and saw how it had been done I walked away thinking less of the quilt.

As I sat and stitched and pondered, I wondered why I think of those sorts of techniques (painting on fabric) as cheats.  Why am I such a traditionalist?  It struck me suddenly: it’s about the frame of the art.  What defines the art?  This is clearest to me in poetry.  The form of a haiku is 17 ‘on’ (corresponding loosely to English syllables) in a 5-7-5 pattern.  If the poem uses 20 ‘on’ because it’s easier to get the effect the poet is looking for, well, it might be pretty but it’s not a haiku, not anymore.  Sonnets can use any words they want, but if they don’t have a frame of 14 lines and regular meter, they’re not sonnets anymore.  Quilting is about making art with fabric and thread.  The challenge, to me, is making the art I want to create within the framework of using fabric and thread to get that effect.  If I have to resort to paint, that’s a failure of craft; that’s taking the easy way out.

(This hasn’t stopped me from taking a class in using oil pastel sticks to shade fabric for an appliqué block.  I enjoyed said class immensely; apparently a little cheating is ok. *grin*)


[User Picture]From: flaviarassen
2009-07-18 03:29 am (UTC)
You are also a fair and honest person.
And getting a quilted blanket & drawing on the actual pattern is CHEATING.
It's not quilting if it's not pieced - who do these people think they are
kidding, just because the fabric is "quilted together"?
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[User Picture]From: catlinye_maker
2009-07-19 05:17 am (UTC)
I did ponder a little more about why some coloring is ok to me, and it is just that, coloring the separate piece of fabric that you're using. So, in my example, I am using oil pastels to shade fabric that will be the sails of a ship. So that's ok to me, but painting the sails on the background fabric wouldn't be.

(I'd add applique to the "counts as quilting" list, since I am an applique-er. *grin*)

Just to clarify, because I was unclear. The quilt I thought less of, whoever made it did design the whole thing and do the quilting, then color it; they didn't use an already quilted piece.

The term 'art quilt' is very helpful here as I can relax my 'rules' considerably for 'art quilts', thereby avoiding offending any number of very nice people who don't share my somewhat rigid views on the subject.

Edited at 2009-07-19 05:26 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mallo_forscher
2009-07-19 03:20 pm (UTC)

Art Quilts AREN'T!

Aren't Quilts that is.

They have more in common with high end Persian or Chinnese rugs then they do with quilts.

If you look at it and can't see your self sleeping under or on it then it's not a quilt. Even though it may be quilted.


No I'm not judgemental I'm opinionated.
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