Everything old is new again…finally!

July 15, 2010

I’ve been a quilter since the early 70’s.  It was my life-I lived and breathed quilting.  I taught in classes, at workshops, for community events, at civic organizations. 

My proudest achievement was making a quilt by hand inspired by the antique quilts I couldn’t afford to buy.  I patched together scraps to make pieces big enough to cut the patches from, just like they used to years ago.  It was of new materials, but many of the fabrics were part of a reproduction line so they looked the part.  I hand quilted it, then entered it in a show.   Throughout the day, as I worked at the show, I heard women discussing whether it was contemporary or an antique…so I knew I’d succeeded in making my very own ‘antique’ quilt.

Since that time, I’ve moved to contemporary, one-of-a-kind quilts…quilts for walls.  Inspired by clean modern art, by color and line, I created my own graphic statements.  Maybe I should have been a painter, but fabric was my medium, it was all I knew.  My second proudest achievement was creating a quilt that was accepted into the very first international quilt show.  It went to Salzberg, Austria for the huge quilt fest and then traveled for 2 years. 

The quilt scene became so crowded after that.  So many shows, so much money involved, so many hundreds of quilt artists who made these fantastic quilts…I couldn’t help but wonder, would they have made them had there been no show, no $10,000 prize for them to try for? 

I felt very stifled and overwhelmed.  I stopped going to shows, quit my quilt groups, dropped my magazines.  I wanted to create, but I didn’t want to be influenced or amazed by everything out there.  There was so much talent and so many awesome things being done…I basically dropped out and worked on what I wanted, when I wanted, IF I wanted…and it wasn’t often.  I would work furiously for 2-3 months, creating maybe 15-30 pieces, then walk away and do nothing the rest of the year.  I did enter  a show during that time and got in; a friend sent me a picture of the quilt.  I have no idea where the quilt is now, if its sold or if I even still own it. 

But here, this is coming back to the root of it all.  Alabama Chanin is doing it again, but in a new way…simple but so expressive.   Seeing her work excites me and makes me want to go back and do it again.   Check out her blog and give it a go-it will enrich your life!

Alabama Chanin's Indigo Star


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