I just returned home from Pacific Grove, California after teaching for a week at Asilomar. Asilomar is a special place with inspiring views of the ocean, opportunities to hike the dunes and walk on the beach, and most importantly a chance to teach the same students for five full days. It was my first time and I found it so satisfying to get to know the students as people, as artists and quilters, and to work with them over an extended period.
I taught a new class called Composing With Line. It combines some techniques that I teach in my Slice and Insert Improv class with some new techniques as well as design exercises and lots of good information on designing with lines. It's hard to test a full five day class, so the students were sort of guinea pigs for me. They were awesome to work with and were also willing to give me feedback on pacing and the activities we did during the week. I'll be going back to Asilomar in 2017.
I'm pretty excited about the five-day class concept and I'll be teaching Composing With Line again in this format this August at Madeline Island School for the Arts. It will be my first time there too, but I have a feeling the experience is going to be just as great. The setting is different, but just as beautiful and inspirational. There's something pretty awesome about learning and working in a beautiful place. It's like you can relax into your work and absorb not only the surroundings but the opportunity to learn and create. Look where I'll be.
MISA, short for Madeline Island School of the arts is on Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. It looks to me like it's definitely worth the trip.
I finally got back to the blog and I was approving loads of comments that had built up and was getting ready to write a post about a new book that I am thrilled to be a part of and then I read this. You know, I should let it go. Why can't I? Maybe Taylor Swift is right.
Linda left a comment on my Modern Manifesto post. Maybe she didn't read the post. I was surprised by the anger in her comment. It's comments like this that make it hard to blog sometimes. Some days I feel we have made such progress in helping all kinds of quilters understand and respect each other, and then I read words like this. They sap my energy. I know she's only one person, but are there others out there who feel this way? I'd like to think it was simply a misunderstanding. How does setting a direction for myself put her down and merit this kind of sarcasm and meanness?
"I am trying very hard not to bristle at "modern". All of the words you use describe not just modern but amazing characteristics of quilters far back into history. It feels disrespectful of you since quilting has been evolving and changing for many years and we have all benefited. I feel put down by you. Sometimes I feel that modern has become buying a matching bundle of fat quarters and making a quilt - not as hard as trying to use your limited scraps and the little selection of fabrics they had available. Perhaps being wasteful of resources could be included in the description for modern. A spoiled society with disposable income that fancies themselves as innovative but are simply one more cog in a wheel. I'm disappointed that you are so anxious to separate yourself and that you see yourself as so different from women before you."
So my message to Linda is this:
I have to admit I am confused by your comment. This is a personal quilt and is about my artistic journey. The words on that quilt are my personal call to action to motivate me to learn and grow as an artist and a quilter this year. I am part of the evolution in quilting to which you refer as are many other folks who are quilting today and throughout the history of our community. Each of us who quilts makes a contribution in our own way. We have all benefitted so why don't you want me to speak about how I might be able to continue to contribute?
I am hurt that you assume that I don't value and cherish those that have come before me, that I am being disrespectful to my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who taught me to sew and my father who instilled in me a love of making. You don't know me and who I am as a maker. I am different and I am the same as all that have come before me. We are all unique in our journeys. I don't disparage how you came to quilting or your style or how you work; why do you feel the right to do that to me?
My goal is to be who I am as an artist and be a part of this amazing community. I am not a cog in a wheel. I am one member of the quilting community and I am contributing to the growth and development of the art and craft of quilting by creating, learning and sharing in a positive way. If you bristle at the word modern, I don't believe you understand what modern quilting is or how the modern quilting community respects and embraces our history. My email address is in the profile of this blog if you'd like to chat. Maybe we can work together to understand each other. I may be writing this to the wind, but sometimes the wind carries messages.
I've closed comments. I'd like Linda to know how her comment was received and after than I'd rather us not say any more, but let's take action instead. How about doing things like this?
Share what you make and why and how you made it.
Encourage others to sew and quilt.
Grow the community.
Make what you love, and love what you make.
I know that's what I'm going to do. I'll share the book in another post. It's nice to be back. I've been sewing up a storm and I'm happy.
My folks live in a small town on the edge of the tallgrass prairie. Today my hubby and I finally took time to venture out to the Konza prairie trail just outside of Manhattan, Kansas. It's maintained by the Nature Conservancy and is an opportunity to hike through the Flint Hills which is some of the last native prairie in Kansas. We hiked for miles to the top and enjoyed the beautiful vista below. It was chilly, but the sun was shining and it made for a wonderful time together. For those of you who have never experienced true Kansas...it's not flat. Most of the hike was either hiking up, or down.
There are trees in the hollows where the runoff from the rain allows them to grow. This one is probably hundreds of years old.
Trees in the flint hills find a way to grow. This one was growing from the middle of a rock.
This one was totally burned out from a prairie fire and it made a nice frame for me or a home for an animal or two.
I think my husband said it best. It was a soul filling day. Lifted my spirits and inspired both of us to leave the holiday behind and head back to work energized and happy. I am a prairie girl at heart.
I'm calling it done. I'm working on pieces that have been hanging in the closet for too long even though I'm long over them. I've moved on, but they weigh on me. I experimented with a new quilting design and I think it's a fail, but as my hubby says not all pieces are homeruns. He's right. Each piece is a learning experience. It's washed and dried and ready to snuggle someone's little one. I'll add it to the donate pile and move on.
I do a lot of thinking about who am I as a modern quilter, how I fit in with the aesthetic, what my voice is, where I want to go and how I want to evolve and change. Next weekend is my last traveling for about a month and having that much time to sew finally gives me a chance to create some of the pieces I've been thinking about for the last year.
I had the idea to make a quilt that is my Modern Manifesto, a personal mission statement that could guide my work for 2015. I've thought long and hard about the words that might appear on this quilt. This is my first stab at the design. It's a lot of letters on a quilt, but I think it could work.
My boys inspired this new design. I went over to their house a couple of weeks ago and they had a decorated tree, their mantle was adorned with greenery and lights and even the hornless unicorn that hangs over the fireplace was sporting a bright red Santa hat. They are home for the holidays for the first time in many years and they plan to make the most of it. Last week they hung lights outside and even braved climbing the roof to make it happen.
It's heartwarming for me to know that my husband and I have passed on the tradition of embracing the holiday spirit. "Home for the Holidays" means something to my children.
This holiday tree quilt is retro inspired for sure and it has the simple shapes and clean lines that I love. I'm happy with how the triangles create a subtle "roundness" for the tree. I think it's bold on the black background. Best of all, it's for me and no one else. It feels good to sew again and create something I'm proud of.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a happy one! Thanks for being here with me.
I'm so happy to be able to introduce you to another new book, Optical Illusions: Innovative Designs for the Modern Quilter published by Kansas City Star Quilts. It's a unique concept and contains quilts from nine quilters, many of them from my Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Can I say how proud am I? I'm happy to be one little stop on this tour through the book.
The beautiful photographs throughout the book showcase the quilts and the scenery of Lawrence, Kansas. This books makes me feel like home both in the location and the aesthetic of the quilts.
Jamie David's Aura quilt is my favorite in the book and I'm not surprised that it was chosen for the cover. It's spectacular in both color and design. I don't say this often about a quilt in a book, but I will make that quilt.
I also love Mary Kay Fosnacht's Tangerine Tumbler. I love the illusion that her quilt creates. It's simple and complex all in one and has such a strong visual impact.
Take a look at Jessica Toye's Water Ripples quilt. Isn't that a fantastic illusion of movement in this quilt? Stunning, and constructed with only one simple block.
Optical Illusions contains just nine quilts and their instructions, but it is a tightly written, well curated set of quilts and I think for those of you who love graphic, interesting quilts, it's a book you would love as well.
Be sure to check out the whole tour and I have a Kona color card to giveaway to my readers today just for reading about this new book, so if you're interested, leave me a comment on your thoughts on this new book. I'll choose a winner on Monday. Enter by Sunday, midnight central time.