Friday, October 18, 2013

Aesthetics vs skills

Okay, let me preface this that I have no issue with anyone, anything... the following is just an observation that I've really been noticing lately, and since my husband doesn't know the difference between a needle and a pin...well,  go figure, I need to write about it instead.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it too.

I love blog world.   I love modern quilting.  I love modern style fabrics.  I love traditional quilting.   I like traditional fabrics.   My preference is modern fabrics and clean simple, uncomplicated, minimalistic style.

Lately I've really noticed the oohs and ahhs, fawning over of a super simple quilt made with just the right 'on trend' fabric.    If the quilt is made with a certain trend of the moment designer and white/charcoal, watch out.   It's a standing ovation.  

And then,  a time consuming, technique-based (applique,  hand sewing, variety of difficult piecing) quilt that may not have the on trend fabric of the moment....perhaps a previous year trend -  does not get as much attention or celebration,  oohs and ahhs.    Several times this has happened in the past few months, and each time it is like this loud siren going off in my head.  

I love designing quilts, and really -my sketchbook continues to dictate my simple piecing, graphic designs, etc.  I will never have the patience for the intricate piecing that I so admire, so I'm confused at this thinking I have.   It's this internal conflict -   if a quilt is made with popular fabric, despite the design, it is a more popular quilt?

Am I evolving into another stage of my quilting appreciation?  Have I outgrown something?

Does this happen to be part of my internal struggle trying to identify modern vs traditional?

Does any of this make sense?

What is my problem?  


  1. I do find that I am more interested in how a quilt makes me feel versus how much work goes into it. There are times that a simple quilt makes a big impact, but it has to be really great. When I find appealing things on Pinterest, often they are several years old. While others are brand new. One thing that I have noticed is that the line between traditional and modern is blurring more and more.

  2. Many artist are not popular or admired in their life time. Art is subjective, what you like is what you like, the amount of effort does not always result in how something is admired. I make my quilts to make me happy, if others like them that's great if not it will still keep them warm. Relax, don't worry and enjoy the process.

  3. It isn't a problem. You recognize that there are many "great quilts" and want everyone to be inclusive and recognize the value that each contributes. Sadly some people - maybe most people are unable to understand different values. Like people who do menial jobs are quite often not appreciated, but if there were not garbage men, dishwashers and servers restaurants couldn't get praise and charge high prices and so on for almost everything important in life. You have matured in your understanding of the complexities of all quilting and know that fabric and color combinations come and go and do not necessarily make a quilt special, but you can only appreciate all of them and point out to those of us that are ignorant what is good about all of the quilts you love. Quilting is art and you understand art appreciation. Share it with love and leave the frustration at the door because you can't change another person, but you can give them information to change themselves.

  4. I hear you! I love looking at, and admiring, all kinds of quilts. Out of necessity and out of want many quilts are diffirent from the mainstream quiltbook examples and designer samples. That is how I work too. I certainly am not prepared to pay 20 dollars, or more, per yard for a piece of designer fabric. Sadly that is what it costs here. I make do with older collections and mix and match. The patchwork patterns I use are either traditional or something that I come up with myself. I have got too many ideas in my head. That is why I also love to see those quilts that are original in some way, "doing their own thing". I believe you have learned so much about quilts, their meaning, their aesthetics and attraction that you can say " You know what? That Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci that everyone is raving about, is actually a kind of brown smudged and weird painting!" (Please swap LdV with designer of choice and ML with specific quilt) i have noticed that many of the popular quilts are actually one block patterns. Often I find this boring. Where is the challenge in design, composition and expression? Where is the colourchallenge if you use one fabric collection? How can you make a quilt your own if you repeat what somebody else has already done? That is copying technically. Creativity comes through if you play with the shapes and colours. Okay, so your "problem" ( and all of ours ) is that you are creative and "not afraid to show it"!!!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  5. I prefer to take my time and piece larger, more complicated, traditional quilts. However, I tend towards creating simpler, faster projects when I am giving them away. Selfish, know, but I don't like to think about my work being destroyed by someone who lacks appreciation of the time and money that went into the project. That said, I expect my quilts to be used freely, but please don't give them to the dog for a bed.

    I love that there are so many great patterns and projects out there. It is always easy to find a pattern or designer that appeals to the creative mood I am in. Sometimes simpler, cleaner projects are more visually moving, while the more complex ones appeal to the fussy, creative side of me.


  6. Interesting question that you propose. I have wondered the same thing many times. While I love oohing and awing over the designer fabrics and patterns I tend to not make them. I buy patterns for inspiration. I buy the fabric I like or is on sale and make do. If I start to use a pattern, i never finish it as written, but put my own spin on it. I am not a name dropper of fabrics as are so many bloggers. Sew what you enjoy. Create what inspires you and makes you happy. You make beautiful, thoughtful quilts and that's what counts. Everyone' s tastes change over the years in fashion, decor, likes and dislikes. You can jump on the latest fashions or beat your drum finding your niche that makes you happy and satisfied creatively. (i hope this makes sense). basically do what you want.....who cares!

  7. I have no clue as to what's on trend in the quilting world. I just like to look at your pretty quilts and wish I had the nerve to try quilting. One day :)

    It's just like anything in the bloggy world: parenting styles, cloth diapering, raw foods, etc: whatever is on trend is the loveliest in that moment. The next year it's pase.

  8. To each their own, I think. On trend does tend to get more of the attention and perhaps the visual impact over takes the skill. I certainly appreciate craftsmanship and skill, particularly in techniques that I've tried or that I would never attempt. But there is always the matter of taste, and as much as I may marvel at the time, energy and incredible work that goes into a 3000-patch, handquilted, perfectly pieced, civil war reproduction quilt, with a leaf-edged applique binding, I'm never going to want it in my living room. My eye continues to be drawn to improved abstracts using my favourite colours. My heart sings for the visual impact, the tactile feel... And I will praise best, likely, the things I would want to surround myself with on a regular basis. I want Pollock instead of Renoir, a macbook instead of a antique typewriter, and would rather play with fabric that spend painstaking hours cutting myriad templates and needle-turning. Consequently, the draw of technology (internet included) is that it doesn't always see accomplishment. "New" happens so frequently that it becomes tough to remember the "old." With constant refreshing, and the cursed FB "like" button, what is popular becomes what is prevalent, and the barometer for what we compare to it. And the person who is most likely to spend 300+ hours on workmanship is probably the least likely to show it on your average blog where folks seem to feel the pressure to produce continually. It's thought-provoking, what you've mentioned. I think that there's always been this double-standard of appreciation but we notice it more because of our constant access/exposure to it in this twitter-soaked world.

  9. Interesting post. I think about things like this a lot. And I really appreciate what Carly/Citric Sugar so eloquently wrote.

  10. I consider myself more traditional (I think) but then I look at some of the modern quilts and am just wowed by them - what I have noticed more lately, is that I'm looking at the quilting on the modern quilts with great interest. I don't think modern and traditional are that far apart - if you look at the old patchwork quilts, people made do with what they had - and pieced them together in all sorts of configurations. There is just so much to chose from now, I can certainly get confused myself! What I love about long-arming is getting the opportunity to see and work on all sorts of quilts - each with its unique flavour.

  11. I think about this sort of thing some times too. I think it's part of gaining more experience in quilting and discovering more about yourself as you go. I began this hobby 12 years ago and so many trends in patterns and fabrics have gone past since then. But I've learned what I like, regardless of trend, and take those bis from whatever is "on trend" at the moment.

  12. Great questions! I am rarely drawn to quilts made from a single line of fabric, but instead to scrappy quilts that imply a history of collecting or a frugality that forces the quilter into making choices that stretch their comfort level. when I think of my early quilting adventures, I know that as time went on I've become more confident in my fabric choices. Many of the online quilters are still very new to the quilting world and it would be interesting to pick a few and see how their fabric choices change as their skill set grows.


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