Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When you realize you are now a dinosaur

Since I am not far enough along with Aunty Green and really do not have any other quilts to share right now I have decided to share a secret I had hoped never to admit to anyone. Quite some time ago I realized that I had become a "Dinosaur" "Traditional Quiltasaurus, species Tyranappliquerex, sub species Handquiltaraptor. I am not sure when this became my reality but I think I know how it began.

Perhaps the seeds were planted in the late seventies and early eighties, before I became a quilter but began to to attend quilt shows in order to find needlework patterns and books to add to my "stash" of of embroidery items.

Quilt making was becoming popular again when many people made patriotic quilts to celebrate America's birthday. I attended my first quilt show and knew instantly that I would moving beyond the small sweet quilts I made for my babies. Beyond the simple patchwork for my adolescent daughter in green, yellow and and orange gingham which she treasures today almost thirty years later. Beyond the "Make This quilt In a Weekend" pattern for a Log Cabin design published in a popular women's magazine. before rotary cutters this project took more that a weekend to cut out! Even using a quilt as you go method it was months before this quilt warmed the dreams of my active little boy.

As I walked that show in Santa Rosa California, I was drawn closer to the position I am in today, teacher, lecturer, hand appliquer, hand quilter.

Now please understand that a non-traditional quilt was a purple Ohio star. So , imagine my utter shock when I entered a large room, and encountered a group of animated women gathered in front of an unusual quilt hung high above their heads. It had to be a quilt, because it was a quilt show. But nothing in my experience prepared me for what I saw. On what I assumed to be a fabric foundation there were attached garter belts, girdles and bras of every conceivable color size and style! I was stunned! Listening to the conversation around me I heard disbelief to match my own and then two words, "Art Quilt!" In addition, "This Will Never Fly!", " Art Quilts are not going to work.

Well, they were wrong! Artists began looking at fabric and quilting as a way to express their passion and Art quilts were here to stay.

When I walk around quilt shows today I find myself counting the traditional entries. Turn the corner and "be still my heart" a hand applique quilt so beautiful it takes my breathe away and across the way another. No wait, on closer inspection I find it to be machine done. A traditional red and green design, machine appliqued and quilted Also takes my breathe away. It's that good! So, I am not threatened by the newer species on the block. I am always attracted to great work and there is a lot of that around.

Still a dinosaur, not very smart with technology but a whiz with a needle. Have you got a story? Come on share it with me and anyone else who happens to come by and read what we write about the passion we share.


kym said...

I don't want to be a dinosaur. I believe that when there are only machine quiltmakers, quilters will be dinosaurs themselves. Young quilters can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars to make a baby quilt for their first baby, they'll buy it instead. No hobby will survive that requires thousands of dollars to buy the necessary sewing machine to quilt. I enjoy taking my time to produce my heirloom for my granddaughters. They are worth the time and I love thinking of them and spending time with my family handquilting and hand appliquing instead of locked away quilting on the machine. I want to quilting to survive another generation or two instead of going the way of the dinosaurs. I love your blog and quilts!

John said...

This is very interesting, Nadine. I'm thinking you should write a book. Now, who could we get to help you with that....

Anonymous said...

To each her own.

I'm not very good with a sewing machine and find hand work more relaxing anyway. I think there will always be quilters like us, maybe not many, but there will always be a few.

I love to see what other quilters do, and applaud their efforts even if it isn't something I'd want to make myself. I'm happy so long as no one tells me what I should be doing.


Threeundertwo said...

I love hand applique, and hand piecing and hand quilting. I've still got three children in the nest though, so my handiwork time is limited. I dream of the long uninterrupted hours someday when I can quilt like the dinosaurs. In the meantime, I have at least one hand applique, one hand piecing, one redwork and one machine quilt in progress. I just work on whatever I have time for.