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Battling Traditional with Art Quilts

Last night I attended a terrific guild meeting.  Susan Brubaker knapp showed slides of her work and lectured about art quilts.  It was really an amazing presentation, and if you’re looking for someone in NC to come and speak, she’s definitely worth having.

Susan mentioned an experience where she was coming into a meeting where she was going to lecture and over heard a traditional quilter complaining that it was “one of those art quilters” coming to speak that night.

And this made me start thinking.

Do traditional quilters hate us?

I can understand if they do.  We stretch beyond 100% cotton fabric and batting into a world of paint, thread, yarn, and no rules or even rulers (unless we want them).  I can see how listening to an art quilting lecture might be boring to a traditional quilter.

They don’t need to be told to think outside the box or embrace the fear of creativity!   They’re quite happy to make quilts using their tried and true traditional patterns, thank you very much.

But this is what I loved about Susan’s lecture and slides – she does both!  She’s already known far and wide for her traditional patterns. I especially liked her Tulip Bag pattern – if I carried a purse, that would be the one for me.

I’ve also started wondering why there seems to be so few traditional quilters that do lectures.  Maybe this is just my limited perspective, but it seems that there are far more art quilters coming to visit than traditional.

What really is there is talk about with traditional quilting?  Piecing seams?  This would work great for beginners, but most of the members of my quilt guild are very advanced.

What about design?  That would be terrific!  Lecture and teach about how to create traditional quilting designs of your own.  That would be a lecture that would make everyone happy.

For me, art quilting is my battleground.  I become more myself and stretch further out of my comfort zone every time I create an art quilt.

But traditional quilting is still apart of my life.  It’s like curling up with a comforting book on a rainy day.  I can lose myself in a traditional quilt, totally at peace with 1/4 inch seams and my favorite 9 patch blocks.

Regardless of how you stack it, Susan Brubaker Knapp gave me a lot to think about.  Thanks Susan!


2 Responses

  1. Hey, Leah, it was great meeting you last week. Thanks so much for your kind post about me!

  2. You’re welcome Susan! Keep the beautiful quilts and inspiration coming.

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