I love seeing quilts and the art of quilt making portrayed in a modern way in the media. All too often the art of making a quilt and its finished piece is thrown into the catch-all phrase of ‘craft’. There’s nothing wrong with the word craft except that when used with quilts, and all too often for my liking, the thoughts of granny with grey hair and a quilting frame making a traditional Irish chain quilt comes to mind. “heavy sigh’. This is written not to in any way insult or malign that image, I would just like people to understand that quilts and the art of quilt making are so much more than a stereo-type. And it’s artist like Victoria Findlay Wolfe that are changing that stereotypical image.
I recently picked up a copy of ‘Traditional Home’ (October 2016 edition) and found much to my surprise and delight an article and photographs of Victoria Findlay Wolfe in a piece called ‘Wild for Quilts – Artist Victoria Findlay Wolfe drives quilt design in a new direction’ http://www.traditionalhome.com/. It spoke about how her sewing skills came from a very traditional background in quilt making (she learned to sew from her grandmother and early in her life made crazy quilts using synthetic fabric) and how for her, the traditional turned into a modern interpretation of tradition with a twist. The quilts she makes now are still functional yet artistic pieces of art to be hung on walls and admired for their innovative design and creative use of pattern and colour. Many of her works now are commissioned though she continues to make quilts for the love of it as well. She’s written two books with a third in the works, teaches and designs fabrics, threads and acrylic templates. She is one busy quilter.
What I sincerely love about her process is her artistic approach to making a quilt. She says she rarely uses a pattern, preferring instead to rely on her instinct into the progression of the piece and where it wants to go. She says her quilts start and end on her design wall. I love that. Though I am no artist, I too prefer my quilts to evolve as well. Though I start out with a finished idea in my head, the quilts that I make of my own design never end in the same vision as it started. Like writing, the words, or in this case the fabric and how it is used as a building block, takes on a life of it’s own.
Recently I’ve found myself becoming a lazy quilter. I’ve relied on the creativity and the tried and trued designs of others to take a front row seat in my quilting life. I’ve become a block-of-the-month junkie. It’s time I think to take a step back from adopting the vision of others and begin again to formulate my own concepts. To a let a quilt evolve from beginning to end with my vision alone. Reading about inspiring quilt makers such as Victoria Findlay Wolfe gets my creative juices flowing. And being in a Guild is like getting a monthly injection of inspiration when I see what others are working on and hear what the latest big topics are in the quilting world through their conversations.
It’s time I think to dust off my design wall and dream….