I came home from QuiltCon with mixed feelings. Yes, QuiltCon was great! Yes, I came home inspired! Yes, I came home with inner turmoil!?
Let me explain…
Thomas Knauer, straight-up off-the-bat turned me inside out. His lecture on “modern vs. Modern” disturbed me tremendously. Don’t get me wrong, this guy is amazing. A former professor of design, he’s now a fab quilter and fabric designer, among other things. I loved both his lectures and could’ve/would’ve attended a third had there been one. But at the end of day one, I went back to the hotel feeling a little dejected.
Later that night, I sadly said to my husband, “I don’t think I’m a modern quilter.” I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but it did. I guess I just wanted to be one of the cool kids. And, yeah, modern quilters are cool kids.
|One of the cool kids: Thomas Knauer
Thomas Knauer’s lecture was jam packed with information and whether he meant it this way or not, I interpreted his words to mean that to be considered “modern” your work/art/quilt has to speak to the questions of the day. In my notes, I have the following jotted down:
“…not just of its time, but about its time.”
“The fabric doesn’t matter, the reference does…”
“…it’s not just about design and pretty…”
So this makes me wonder…If something is just pretty, does that mean it isn’t art? And honestly, “just pretty” in itself is hard to do. I can make an ugly quilt with my eyes closed. And while I hesitate to call the quilts I make art (that’s another discussion in itself) the quilts I do make are mute. There is absolutely no story behind them. Pretty, for my purposes, is what they’re all about.
I am in no way suggesting that the message given was “don’t make anything unless it has a message”. Actually, as Thomas wrapped up one of his lectures, he said this:
“Make good things. Sometimes they will be modern.”
Below is a photo of my quilt at the show. My foot was on the same playground. But in the scheme of things, being able to label myself a Modern Quilter just doesn’t matter. It won’t change the fabrics I use or the way I put patterns and colors together. It won’t increase my enjoyment of creating. And it won’t make the recipients of my quilts love them more.
And you know what? That’s okay. I can still hang with the cool kids.
P.S. After several comments and emails, I must defend Thomas! He didn’t define modern as this or that, but simply discussed ideas as we have related them to art and the world around us for decades. Following his lecture I had a 20 minute discussion with the woman beside me. What a great thing! That’s exactly why I went to QuiltCon in the first place. To share ideas, to get out of my box, to shake it up…goal achieved!
And read the follow up to this post HERE.