QuiltCon Reality Check

It’s that time of the year again when the modern quilting debate roars to life via the acceptance and rejection letters for the Modern Quilt Guild show, QuiltCon. To be honest, I’m just all pretty bored with the whole conversation. I don’t say that with disgust, apathy if anything, but maybe some confusion as to why we are all still so caught up in the throes of relying on others for our own quilt-worth? “Oh yes, that’s easy for you to say, Molli! Your No Value Does Not Equal Free quilt was accepted into QuiltCon. How’s that supposed to make me feel, bitch!?” Simmer down, my precious quilt princess. You’re right, it is a bit hypocritical for me to sit here and talk about how acceptance into a show is irrelevant, when I’ve been accepted into that very same show. I get it. And yet, I don’t.

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I made the first blocks for my quilt in August 2013, and it will be February 2016 before it hits QuiltCon, two and half years later. This is my first entry, and hell, I only became a member of the MQG about a month before the entry deadline. Not for a single moment of time has having a quilt shown at QuiltCon, or any quilt show for that matter, influenced how I make, or what I make. My style hasn’t become more modern simply to fit prescribed moulds of another group. (If you are doing this, you are not being true to yourself, so stop it!) Being part of QuiltCon hasn’t made my quilt any better, or any worse than it was the day before it was accepted. It will give my quilt a bigger audience, although, one could argue that you don’t really get a bigger potential audience than this little place we call the Internet. So I say all this because you need to know that if you love your quilt, then love it. Love it sick. Tell the world how incredibly awesome it is, and how you’re hot shit for making it, regardless of any acceptance or rejection letter. Those letters will always come, the sting will wear off, so just remember they do not define you, or your quilt. You’re better than that!

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Oh, and let’s leave the Modern Quilt Guild alone regarding what qualifies as “modern,” please? Every serious art movement has a style guide (or rules as some of the more cynical amongst us imply), and that’s just art. Just art. And shouldn’t we be ecstatic that our passion, our driving creative force, is being elevated to a finer art? I certainly am, but I’ll love all my quilts despite any category I, or anyone else, chooses to put them in. So congratulations to all those who will have more eyes on their quilts at QuiltCon, and congratulations to all those who will be wrapping their loved ones up in quilts at home. They’re all fabulous, just the same!

9 Responses

  1. Congrats on your acceptance, Molli! I also have one in the show this time around and while I’m excited, it does not define me as a quilter. I understand why people are upset in some regard but at the same time, in a show this big, they simply cannot accept *all the quilts.* I am looking forward to a time when positivity might reign more over this discussion. I’m proud of the people who entered their quilts for the first time for judging. That alone in itself is an accomplishment!

  2. Well said and congrats on getting in! I can’t wait to see it in person. 🙂 I’ve included a list on my blog of other shows with modern categories, so hopefully those that didn’t make it into QuiltCon can enter other shows to get more modern quilts in front of more eyeballs!!

  3. Shauna says:

    Well said, I think sometimes people get so caught up in the hype they forget to love the quilt for what it means to them. If you are only quilting to earn some type of recognition you will be disappointmented more often than not. Love what you do, and if you get recognized great, but that shouldn’t be the focus.

  4. Jayne says:

    Congratulations! There are so many gorgeous quilts accepted and many more that were not. There were the usual group of regulars that make it, but the real excitement for me, seeing the fresh faces in the show!!

  5. Linda says:

    I dont know if its my age (>50) but this all wears me out. Such a waste of energy that could be put to better use creating, learning new skills and taking time to learn something from constructive criticism. I hate when people yell its not fair. How about responding with – what can I learn from this so I can do better next time? I am so glad that my generation didnt feel a need to separate from quilters that had a different style from others – I sometimes feel we’ve created a monster with this so called modern quilt movement.

  6. Kitty says:

    Right on, Molli! You nailed it. If you love your quilt sick (love it sick!!) then who cares what anyone else says. And if you don’t love it sick, then make another one. I have yet to enter a quilt into a show, and while I imagine I one day will, I’m not letting it dictate the quilts I make. I create because I have to, and because I love to make beautiful things. Love trumps all, and it’s in the eye of the beholder. I’m beholding my quilts! LOL

  7. So right! The whole discussion is a waste of time and energy. (Congrats on your acceptance!) What about a division/branch called the Shabby Chic Modern Guild? It would include bright modern fabrics with a traditional spin or pattern. Or the “not quite modern but almost there division”. I have tried “true modern” and it’s not my style, and the whole stay true to yourself thing really resonates with me. So I have my bright shabby chic traditional pattern thing going and it’s my style. Insert: hair flick, and hand on hip , done in my style as well 🙂

  8. One of my *favorite* guiding principals of the modern quilt guild is that modern quilts are made to be used. It’s in almost every one of their discussions about what defines a modern quilt. And I am realizing more and more that ultimately what fills my quilt making heart and soul with the most happiness is seeing my quilts used, loved, cuddled, and muddied.

  9. Serena @ Sewgiving says:

    Hear, hear … and ditto.

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