Hello all, Mary Ellen again.
We’ve been talking about the modern quilting movement and their recent gathering QuiltCon here at the blog of late. One quilt hung in the show at QuiltCon has caused quite a stir among quilters. It definitely “ain’t your grandma’s quilt”! But first let’s back track a bit.
In the early 2000’s a group of quilters in Lawrence Kansas wanted to erase some of the “goody two shoes” from the image of quilters and worked together to make a quilt depicting the demise of Sunbonnet Sue. Many quilters were incensed by this attack on the beloved traditional pattern. Apparently some parts of quilting are to be held sacred. Here is a link to an image of the quilt, now residing in a university archives in Michigan.
At the International Quilt Show in Houston in 2010, Rochester quilter Randall Cook caused a commotion with his art quilt depicting a nude male. Quilters felt the subject was inappropriate. You might enjoy seeing images of Randall’s quilts from his website gallery. Many interesting and lovely quilts, some showing nudes. Nothing obscene in my opinion, and the gallery shows a wide range of quilting styles. There is nothing worse than what you would view in many art galleries (or along an expressway near you). click here to visit the gallery.
Yesterday I visited Joe Cunningham’s blog. I first found out about Joe back on the long gone Simply Quilts show where he would appear now and then to demonstrate hand quilting. Gorgeous work, done in the old fashioned Amish style. Now I run across Joe’s work in modern quilt context. His quilts have definitely evolved, and he has added computerized machine quilting to his repertoire. Following his most recent blog entry was his February 24, 2013 entry in which he talks about a quilt at QuiltCon that stirred up a bit of controversy, and his feeling about the entire issue. I knew of this quilt in particular, which has blocks showing the F-bomb word in many styles, perhaps 2 years ago. The whole story of the professor’s exploration of words in our language and their impact is very interesting to me. There are no upsetting images-it is more a compilation of typography. Each block within the quilt was contributed by a different quilter. I am amazed by the vitriol that I have heard around this quilt. Within Joe’s blog there is a link to an image of this “F” quilt, should you care to have a look before deciding your position on this controversy. Does freedom of speech apply to quilting? While this word is offensive to many of us, the quilter who made the controversial quilt certainly has the right to do so. I can’t imagine this quilt “threatening the future of our art form” as I read one quilter saying. I suppose this is what many artists of controversial works deal with regularly.
All in all I think it’s great that quilting is beginning to be a main stream art form-not just something that old fuddy duddies do. We have as wide a range of styles as many other art forms-from the tame to the controversial. Controversy means that people are seeing quilts, thinking about what is shown, and forming opinions. Better than having our work ignored?
Do you have an opinion?