Wednesday, 22 August 2012

FoQing disappointment

Now I KNOW the British Quilting scene has modern exciting work being done - I've seen it online - but that is not what I saw in Birmingham at the weekend. I saw (and I'm not going to mince my words here so brace yourself...) a lot of ugly shit. Boring, trad, ugly, sludgy, poorly constructed... it was all there in various combinations. There were some traditional things done well but that doesn't set my heart on fire.

There were a couple of lovely modern quilts, Lu Summers did her bit with some yummy, modern colourful pieces (thank God for her!) and RatsasBigasCats big white on white piece, but nothing really made my jaw drop. No giant eye of hexagons, no deconstructed cleverness, no funny modern twists or anything of the like such as I saw last year.  It just felt like murky trad hobby hell had almost filled the hall and the good bits had been squeezed inbetween.

Some that won prizes were dreadful, at least one was already in a book available to purchase at the event showing it was made in 2010 and one quilt featured text in Comic Sans. COMIC SANS for goodness sake! That should make for an immediate disqualification from prize-winning (if not society as a whole) in my book.  Maybe I'm being a terrible quilt snob I thought... but then my twitter feed showed some similar thoughts elsewhere. So here I am saying it out loud.

Don't get me wrong it wasn't a day wasted, seeing Ratty with her quilt in the show was touching (as I talked her into submitting it) and the shopping was brilliant! Playing on the machines, asking advice of embroiderers, quilters, trying new products, bumping into quilt chums and the like was smashing and all too... but the quilts are the thing. There were some nice quilts on the stalls promoting the products but not IN the show. I wondered if why? If it's because that means allowing total access to folk to photograph it, to potentially touch it with un-gloved hands, or to send it somewhere uncurated? I don't know. 

It's not the friend-maker thing to say I know and I'm sure there were some very clever things that took a very long time, that I'm failing to appreciate - but this is my honest opinion. Maybe it's an off year, maybe it's my 'quirky' taste being hard to please... but still... We went there to get inspired, hoped to leave with the itch to get sewing and left disappointed.

The answer if you don't like it is, of course, bloody do something about it right? After all I don't blame the Twisted Thread people or the organisation, I blame us for not submitting them.

Modern quilt folk! Please, if you make something exciting, if it creates a stir online, please send it to the Festival of Quilts so that we can see it in person.  It's not about showing off but rather sharing the joy and giving folk the chance to see what's happening now! You should know that I'm going to be relentless about this, so you might as well just accept it now.

I left on Sunday even vowing to submit a quilt myself next year. So there you go, next year - I'm putting my efforts up to be sniped about judged by the trads and griped about by pissy bloggers... for my sins... and maybe they'll hate it. But I'll have tried.  

Motivation comes in strange places huh?  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Let's get quilt blind & shop at the FoQ

Last year I went to the Festival of Quilts at the suggestion of my dear friend Rats as Big as Cats having only really made a few hexagons myself, but nevertheless firmly hooked. I bought my first cutting mat and rotary cutter and a few pieces of fabric there.  Quilt-blindness kicked in several times and we had to have a pint of beer break or two. Yeah yeah I know but honestly I was dazed and confused by the assault of colours, patterns and techniques of patchwork. In fact I was dizzy before I'd taken more than a couple of steps inside - and that was just from the women who had turned up wearing it. Wearing it! Wearing patchwork jackets, patchwork bags, dresses... like camouflage. It is not okay to wear the band's t-shirt to the gig and it's not okay to wear patchwork to the FoQ. The leopard print dress, laser-cut necklace and black studded shoes I wore was, I got the impression, received much the same way by those ladies, so what do I know.

So entranced was I by the monochrome eye quilt I kept just drifting back over and over again to gaze into it, it was awesome, like the untempered schism. Who knows what that did to me!

RasBaC has submitted a quilt this year and I am super excited to see it on display. I will also be trying to over-hear what the quilterati think of it!  If you think "OOoh that's big and white and looks like it'd drive you crackers" that's hers! It's so thrilling to think people will be looking at it now! Not for Ratty mind, she'll be elsewhere trying NOT to hear.

My Google Reader now reveals a loOOoong list of creative makers including people I've actually met, in the real world and interacted with online. The quilt life has become such an enormous part of my life and I'm SO excited to go get back there with a real appreciation for the work, the chance to talk to people and of course the shop-rtunity.

Maybe next year I'll enter something myself, you never know. For now - roll on Sunday!


Friday, 3 August 2012

What do you DO with embroidery?

Doodling with stitches? I love it. It seems that embroidery requires the ability to slow down, sit still and appreciate something that requires patience and time, much like whiskey. So now I have reached the age where all of those things are for me.

I got the embroidery bug off Aneela Hoey at the Fat Quarterly Jubilee Weekend Retreat and recently we've had weather too hot to have big quilty sewing or any woolly knitting on one's lap, let alone to have an iron on! So embroidery has been my drug craft of choice.

Some of the bits and bobs that I've stitched are:

1. Stitchy scruffalo close, 2. Embroidertree - full side DSCF6879, 3. Embroidered Ghostery, 4. Embroiderising the ugly - close

I love the handsewing, it is the control enthusiast's choice, and I'm hooked.

The thing is though... what do folk that don't want (or aren't allowed) hoops going dusty on walls DO with embroidery?  Seriously. This is the big puzzle for me at the mo.

Suggestions welcome!