Pillows · Quilt Shows · This-and-That

This and That • February 2022 • Sticky Issues

It’s February, so I’m leading with hearts…quilted hearts.

My first finish for February, and it seems, like the whole of 2022. The sludge I’m walking through these days seems to be rather marshy and thick, filled with Instagram rabbit holes, fascinating detours, some sighing and looking out the window, but certainly, no energy to Get My Stuff Done (best video ever). All of this is to say, I’m celebrating this pillow’s completion.

It’s month two of a new year for the Gridster Bee, and Shelley has autumn leaves on her mind, as did all the people doing the Riley Blake sampler quilt. I was off to a great start.

Not.

I wasn’t the only one having trouble with getting this block together, and I wonder if it was the pattern? My 7th grade Home Ec. teacher taught me that one–that sometimes it IS the pattern and not us.

Got it right, but that wasn’t the first mistake I’d made, either. Back to the pattern thing.

This popped up. It must explain why my energy level is so low, if I’m only getting about three hours of sleep per day. It’s because I’ve been writing patterns. One pattern is massively overdue (Borders for Tannenbaum), but I’ve finished the third draft and it’s 12 pages (I like to explain things). The other is the ongoing (and upcoming) release of Part 2 of Heart’s Garden. I have had hundreds of people get their free download of the Part 1, so look for the next installment very soon. Very Soon. Now to address two sticky issues.

Sticky Thing #1
In my last Road to California blogpost, I celebrated Linda Anderson’s quilt art. I still celebrate it, but my friend Dot commented on how one of the photos in her recent Piecework Magazine was a twin, a clone, to one of Linda’s quilts.

The above photo in Piecework, taken by Eric Sebastian Mindling.

I didn’t see any attribution on Linda’s title cards at the exhibits, so as realization slowly dawned that perhaps this quilt might have been a quilty copy of someone’s photo, I began looking for other similar examples. I found the following photograph online:

I couldn’t find a direct link to it, but it seemed to lead to Eric Sebastian Mindling, who has lived over twenty years in Oaxaca. You can see it behind Linda’s head in the photograph I took of her. I wrote in that post about the moving picture of the mother and child. I found that one on Mindling’s website. And here, below is another photo from Mindling:

This one is Linda’s.

I wrote back and forth to Dot about this copying without attribution. Dot offered, “Perhaps Linda was on one of his tours, and they both took photos of Maria at the same time”? But there are too many instances where the poses are exactly the same, the perspective the same.

When we enter any quilt contest now, we are asked to identify the sources of our inspiration. When I submitted SHINE: The Circles Quilt, I mentioned the ceiling of that church in Ljubljana, Croatia with all its painted circles. I don’t think it takes anything away from any of our creations to acknowledge the spark that led us to our make our quilt. In Linda’s case, and the way quilt shows are run now, if we use someone’s pattern or use a photo, we have to get their permission. It’s a mystery as to why this was not done in this instance, as the quilts are beautiful in their own right, even if they were taken from someone else’s photo.

Sticky Thing #2

This is the title of Mary Fons latest contribution to the quilt world, and is from the short video she recently put up on YouTube. Fons is commenting on the trend that has been around for a few years now: of cutting up old quilts to be re-made into clothing. She has some hilarious examples, some designer examples, some hideous examples. I get that not every quilt is beautiful (I’ve known that for a quite a while), and doesn’t deserve the “heirloom” treatment of a museum storage in acid-free tissue. But does that mean we are all destined for the scrap heap? The cutting room floor? The comment I put up there in support of Mary’s video was quickly rebutted by someone else. I wrote back to the commentor:

“But [Mary’s] larger point, which often seems to be subsumed in many of these tit-for-tat [comment] responses, was the query: is our craft merely to be a tool for someone else’s particular novelty, fame and glory? Or do our quilts, from now and back into the ages, have value by themselves? Can we acknowledge them and revere them or are we quilters just part of the excessive consumer machinery? Perhaps both, but I prefer to think that what I spend time on, and what my mother and grandmother spent time on, have value, and carry their particular history.”

Watch the video. See what you think.
Happy Quilting!

11 thoughts on “This and That • February 2022 • Sticky Issues

  1. Firstly I’m sorry you’re not feeling tip-top at the moment. At least you have a finish for 2022, which is more than I have! Your cushion is gorgeous,! ❤️The discussion about using vintage quilts, albeit cutter quilts, is indeed an interesting one. I have a dear friend ( Jenny @tossedbutnotsunk) who rescues old quilts and beautifully restores them. Then we have modern quilters (Lorena of Sydney) who don’t see anything wrong with it. ( I think she’s taken her post down). I certainly agree with your words, that even our most amateur efforts have value and each tell their own story not matter how old and tattered. Sticky thing #1- I noticed that Linda uses the name Maria, as does the photographer. It is a perplexing conundrum indeed. Take care my friend. S

  2. I remember back in the 1970s when there was a big flap when Ralph Lauren cut up some old quilts to make jackets. There was quite an uproar. I agree. We should appreciate all work, not just the heirlooms.

  3. “Quilt Clothes Must Die” is a provocative title, sure to draw those kinds of “tit for tat” responses when more nuanced, thoughtful responses would be preferable. I think your response is excellent. Heirloom quality quilts should be respected and preserved for as long as possible and potentially restored, if damaged. (Who gets to determine what is an “heirloom” is another whole discussion, but getting an appraisal from a professional is advised!). The rest – both bed and wall quilts – should be used and enjoyed as long as possible. When they are worn out or no longer loved and not likely to be loved by someone else, I see no problem with repurposing them to “whatever” if that’s what the owner chooses to do. Let’s not get too wrapped up in such a minor battle.
    As for L. Anderson using Mr. Mindling’s photos, I sure hope she has his permission and that any venue showing her work is aware of that. If so, there should be attribution stated somewhere in the exhibit. If not, that’s a problem, and any awards she has won, especially if her art was considered original, should potentially be rescinded. Hope that’s not the case!

  4. So many thoughts….it is the harsh responses to those who disagree with cutting quilts that left me cold. Who am I to judge what someone else values?

    But I also take exception to the disingenuousness of those proclaiming all these cutter quilts as ugly, not worth saving, etc. An ugly quilt would make an ugly coat. And you need a goodly amount of quilt to make a coat with the blocks artistically placed. And I feel like the point was missed in Mary’s video That this is not about some artistic effort of someone to reuse and give new life to an old quilt. I am so for that. This is really wholesale destruction of a generation of quilts for money. Not art, not sentiment.

    As I said, so many thoughts….

  5. Your heart cushion is adorable – perfect for Valentine’s Day. Great finish for the month. I have been admiring the leaves popping up on IG. They will make a fabulous quilt. That’s A LOT of screen time! lol We need to figure out a way to work in our sleep or add more hours in our days. Interesting tit for tats! I have never understood why it is so difficult for people to give credit where credit is due. As far as quilt clothing goes….most of it, I wouldn’t wear anyway. 🙂 Seriously, I’d likely be devastated to see one of my favorite quilts used like that, knowing the time I put into making it, but to others it may be a new art form. We will never all agree which is what “makes the world go round.”

  6. Yes, Sticky Thing #1 has become even stickier, with the additional photos you found. It was such a coincidence that the Piecework article was published in the same month as the exhibit at Road. Otherwise no one would have known. It makes one question ALL of Linda’s work.

    The Piecework article by Eric Mindling is worth reading – a hopeful story about the revival of an ancient art.

    I think part of the problem with the clothing made from vintage quilts is that it is a temporary fad, and the garment will be quickly discarded again, when the next thing comes along. The quilt was “used up” for no good reason. It’s not like the quilted jackets of the 1990s, or whenever it was (!), where you made new patchwork to construct your garment.

  7. Can I say that your screen time has me feeling much better about my own?! Ha, ha. But seriously, I’m sorry you’re feeling overwhelmed. I know that can happen when mentally committing to do something related to quiltmaking – such as writing patterns – but when push comes to shove, it’s not what one thinks, nor takes the time it actually does. Your catch with those quilts is something! I’ve never encountered that myself, expecting that quilters will do “the right thing.” It’s apparent quiltmaker Linda has not. As for the quilt clothing issue… I started to watch Mary’s YouTube video, but couldn’t finish. I don’t enjoy ranting. I’m a “to each her own” sort of person, and again, expect that quiltmakers will do the right thing. Apparently I have too much confidence in human nature.

  8. I’ve had Mary Fons pegged as a nay-sayer since hearing her contribution to a panel discussion at QuiltCon some years ago. This didn’t encourage me to give her another chance. On a happier note, I loved the “Get My Stuff Done” video! And for sure sometimes it’s the pattern!

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