UnChained Melody

Picking the binding took longer than deciding how to quilt it!
Most of the quilts I make I make for a purpose.. I make them for me or my home. I feel free to do with them as I will since I  don't give a shit ( or "flip" for you with delicate ears) what others think about them since I am making them for personal reasons- this is very freeing.

My quilts spring from a thought or a memory or a synesthesic experience ( an excellent reason to get your groove on if there ever was one!) In practical terms this means I sew, piece and quilt in a way that pleases me without a care to what a quilt judge might think. 

I might even be so bold as to add a second back or God forbid a ruffle instead of binding around my quilt both of which in most cases would get my quilt tossed from a lot of competitions no matter how amazing the front was.

I happily share the steps of my quilting adventure, showing photos and techniques, mess-ups and glories - I love to share and have been told in no uncertain terms that I should not be doing so if it is going to be a " show quilt".

I also tend to hide symbolism in my quilts.. in both the piecing and the quilting. Some of it very endearing like the six  hearts scattered in Roy G. Biv to represent my six children  but some of it  rather rogue  like the sexual reference in my newest quilt. While some judges would find it funny I am thinking that others - not so much unless they too are` platinum level customers at Good Vibrations.

The Grand Experiment 

 With this knowledge in mind I entered the quilt show world with a good bit of trepidation and an idea.. my ~grand experiment  6 quilts or shows to see how I felt about things. To see what I could learn and see if it was a good fit for me. 

 Since lets face it none of the reasons cited above make my quilts or me  ideal for the show circuit and even during my short time of this ~Grand Experiment~  I have determined that show quilting is not the life for me.

Even with this creeping realization  and against my better judgement I decided to make one more quilt just for Quilt Con.  In creating this last piece for just this show I was stumped, stymied and doubted my choices at every turn. I weighed each choice against what I thought the judges would want to see.. and it made me sad.  

It came to me that I did not want to quilt that way.. to quilt for the sole purpose of trying to win, to quilt not for someone or something.. but to win. I have never been competitive in that way.. I detest sports so I am guessing in that way quilting to compete feels no different to me.

 I stepped back and started again - The result is UnChained Melody-  this time creating it with a person in mind and no care to what the judges think. - that feels right to me.

This quilt as well as  What Stella Knows and Roy G. Biv's Dresden have made application for jury at Quilt Con as part of my experiment. In my mind I am already discounting  Roy since he was already Juried into The Road to California quilt show as part of my ~Grand Experiment~ so I don't think I want the stress of getting him back home and then off to another show. ( Heck I might not even send him to R2CA since I would really like to get him hung up in my home where he was made to hang.)

Has it been worth it?
 I would say yes, my time and money to check out the world of quilt shows has been worth it from the standpoint that I feel a lot more clarity about who I am as a quilter and what I want to do as part of the quilting world.

In total ( not even counting fabric and personal labor costs) I can say that the quilt show world is expensive, shipping quilts back and forth, insurance, packing, boxes and the time to do so take its toll. This is time I wold rather spend on something else.

Yes it is amazingly flattering to be jurried in and I was quite excited (shocked) when my quilts made it into shows but almost as soon as the excitement  subsided I realized I felt uneasy and out of place. I came to the choice that at the end of this Grand Experiment that I would not be quilting FOR competition anymore.

Yes, here and there you might see one hanging in a quilt market booth or just to be seen but my days of competition were short but happily done.

If you like it...put a Pin on it!

For that reason my newest quilt is titled UnChained Melody... unchained from the never ending and always changing expectations and rules that govern quilt shows. Unchained from the judgement of if I do or don't bury my threads, use matching top and bottom threads or what makes something an art-quilt vs any other type of quilt.

Please don't get me wrong.. if you love to compete, please go for it. I will cheer you on I will jump up and down for you or even give you a shoulder to cry on if it does not work out the way you want. I love the folks I have met from this world, I just don't love the rules of engagement that come with it. .

In the mean time I am going to work on expanding  my idea that celebrates quilting without competition.  I am not sure if it will fly...but I am ready to give it a go and that feels very right to me.


Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Thank you for sharing your show Journey. It does seem like another world. Your Quilting is gorgeous!

Maddie Kertay- The Domestic Anarchist said...

Thanks Alycia... I am feeling very good about my choice :)