I spent Saturday and Sunday at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. The LMQG was very lucky to have been offered a gallery space so I spent most of my time there talking to the many many visitors we had.
Sadly it meant I didn't really see much of the rest of the show because I was so knackered I didn't have the energy or brainpower left at the end of the day on Saturday to look at much, but it also meant I didn't have time to spend much either so that was very good for my bank balance.
I got to talk to so many wonderful people and if any of you are stopping by here, thank you so much. I enjoyed talking to you all but it did become a complete blur.
The experience left me thinking about a few things in a lot more detail than I have ever done before and I will address a couple of them here.
What is modern quilt and is there any different really to traditional or contempory quilting?
The answer to that is I don't really know. I found it very hard to define it and I believe the display we had showed such a variety of quilts that they couldn't all be simply lumped into a set of rules and definitions. While there is an aesthetic element to it, I also believe there is a state of mind around it.
Yes, it's about solids and modern prints and negative space and functionality and putting a twist on traditional blocks or not having a block structure at all. However, I'm sure what was being done in the 70's was considered modern to the generation before and likewise going back in time. I remember some of the Victoria quilts at the V&A show had prints that would be snapped up today as designer fabrics they were so bright and funky.
So as a title I've never felt very comfortable with it and that came home to me this weekend why. In another 20 or 30 years what we do will be old hat and the next generation will be wondering why we call what we did "modern".
But I mentioned a state of mind as well - this I think ties into the next question that came up a lot. Why did we form our own guild and not join the established ones?
When I first started quilting I explored my local guilds. Apart from the fact they all had waiting lists, their meeting arrangements didn't suit me. Either they met on weekdays or weekday evenings. Not suitable for someone working full time, especially as I frequently work away from home and stay away all week.
I learned to quilt on the internet and then became part of a quilt community on the internet. Eventfully I want to meet people in the real world as well who shared my passion. Who didn't think it was weird if I stroked a cushion in a shop and who could gets as excited as I did over new prints and designs.
The established guilds near me didn't seem to be offering me the sense of community I was looking for. I went to a show near me which was lovely but I had an experience which put me off. They were asking people to hand piece some 9 patches at a table and I sat down to do one. A very nice lady who was there volunteering told me how I should do it. And I mean it when I say she was nice, but she also assumed that I needed telling and didn't ask me. I knew how to nest my seams, I had learnt it on the internet. It became clear to me that as nice as people were there, I didn't feel I fitted in even if their meeting schedule was suitable for a working woman.
I dont need to attend a guild to be taught things. Apart from some classes at the fat quarterly retreat and some workshops at FOQ I have never been to a class for any craft. I have alway taught myself but the rise of the internet has made it much easier to find new ideas and different techniques.
I have the mindset that there is no right or wrong way to do anything, just the way that works best for me. I love quilting and it is a total passion, but I do it for fun and it would not be fun if I felt there were rules I have to follow.
The LMQG has given me the opportunity to meet people who feel the same way as I do. We use social media to share ideas around the world and also get to stroke fabric together in real life. It's about being part of a community that I feel I fit into.
This has become a lot wordier than I intended so thank you if you are still reading. I wonder what modern quilting means to you and if you are part of a guild what you get from it?