Friday, November 6, 2009

The Length of the Stitches

 

IMG_1831 My quilt show opened at Campus Gate Gallery, Young Harris, Ga last night with banjo music (as appropriate to the setting!).

IMG_1833  Many local visitors, college faculty and students came – including the ex poet laureate of Georgia (I’d love to think she rushed back home and composed a poem about the quilts!) and the president of the college – a nice honour.   It’s great to have quilts recognized as a real art form -worth visiting and respecting.  Of course the students came because it would help their grades!!  Good to think that art quilts help grades – another reason for making and showing!  

IMG_1835

One of the local quilters asked me if I knew about the new sewing machines that had stitch regulators as she didn’t think the AQS judge would have liked my work as all my stitches weren’t exactly equal in length.  It was a kind thought….but I must admit I asked her why…now why should stitches all be of equal length? IMG_1834

I’ve always believed in asking “why?” when people tell me “and the rule is…”…..of course the answer was quite clear in this case? “because the judge wouldn’t like it”!   Ah yes…..I asked if she’d heard if they measured the brush strokes when painters submitted their work to a juried show.  No, she had not.   But a musician there told me that when banjo players enter competitions they too are held to a strict “traditional” standard.   Banjo music (and presumably quilting) as folk arts are now strictly defined.  Even though…the original folk artists had the freedom to make up the rules as they went along…we’ve actually taken the “folk” out of the equation and sterilized the art forms.  Sterilized  - as in no more creativity…..hmmm….

well…I for one will continue to be creative in my stitching! In all its ugly uneveness!

If you have been, thanks for listening – and remember those rules (if only to break them!).  Elizabeth

16 comments:

Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

In my mind, the uneven stitches make the work more interesting.
Congrats on you solo show.

Terry said...

I have been stitching uneven, unequal stitches all afternoon. I'm so glad you do them that way too!

The word verification word is "reigular". Coincidence? I think not.

Nellie's Needles said...

Oh, what a treat for the soul it would be to "be there".

My slightly irregular machine quilted stitches have been acceptable to judges. However, holes left by the 100# Schmetz needle have been criticized. What I want to know is why anyone would hold up an art piece meant to be hung on the wall to see those needle perforations? In my opinion, few quilt show judges are qualified to evaluate art quilts.

Colleen Kole said...

Thank you for sharing so honestly with us. Uneven stitches equals brushstrokes, originality and leaves your signature on the work. Bravo! Congratulations on your show.

slkunze said...

Art quilters stitch to the strum of a different banjo. Or to recall the recent, funny Intel commercials, "Our stitches aren't like AQS stitches!"

Deb said...

How did you NOT bash her in the head with a dead cod?

Gerrie said...

Thanks for a wonderful belly laugh tonight.

Nina-Marie said...

Congrats on the show, E. It looks like a great space. I too did LOL at the woman's comments. That said, let's face it, all juried shows have "rules" (official or unofficial) in their head. Traditionalists rules are not the only ones that stifle creativity. After looking over the work of some national top quilt shows, I'm starting to wonder if they juring out any work that doesn't fit what they think an art quilt should be. Hmmmmm - I could be wrong - but it was a passing thought.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

I appreciate your good humored attempt to inform your show guests about stitching but I find those questions absolutely tiresome. Bravo for you Elizabeth. I look forward to driving up for the show.

katiethigpen said...

Oh no! You better please the judges. You want that blue ribbon from the county fair! But seriously, it seems to me that it would be good to vary stitch length depending on the conditions (thickens,length)of the peice that you are sitching but I'm not a quilter. Small minded people need rules, I'm sure you know that. So you should tell her that only Jesus makes things are perfect. lol. That will shut her up

sandra wyman said...

How sad that someone looks at beautiful quilts only to measure the stitches; and how limiting to have to concentrate on even length and miss the freedom of free-machine drawing! A lot of education still to do...

Regina Dwarkasing said...

As for the stitches: In all their splendid uneveness I would say. Congrats Elisabeth! Love your work, your cogitations and your humor.

magsramsay said...

If you have enough variety of stitch size it can be considered intentional and therefore acceptable! Being a conservation scientist I think we should honour diversity in all things!

judy said...

BRAVO. I have two quilts at Quilts=Art=Quilts, and I was petrified they would look awful on the wall because the quilting stitches are so irregular. I have driven myself nuts over this. With 1 paragraph, you made me laugh at myself and feel so much better. I love your thoughts!

Jackie said...

It's great to see your quilts hanging, gives a better perspective than either the postings on the blog or the website, even though on the latter you include dimensions. It's very nice to see them in an environment instead of isolation. Bravo for the show!

virtualquilter said...

Elizabeth,
The best part of knowing the rules is breaking them!
Judy B