No Value Does Not Equal Free – It Equals Sold!

The journey of this quilt is legendary. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you’ll remember the controversy I first caused at the end of 2013 by suggesting through my costing sheet that it was worth more than anyone else seemed to be asking. People got feisty, let me tell you! I put some people on blast (owning it), and maybe called a few quilts fugly (gasp), but I did so due to my convictions of self-worth, and this quilt’s artistic-worth. I never stopped believing that this quilt could be sold for its true monetary value of $2,252.40 AUD. Nor have I ever doubted that as quilters–artists–we can collectively achieve the same.

During its first exhibition at the 2014 Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair, I didn’t doubt it when another quilter told me straight up that, “it wouldn’t be nearly as magnificent without the quilting.” Well, at least it’s magnificent, I thought. Later that year, it won first prize in the Minimalistic Design Category at the 2015 Modern Quilt Show Australia. Then as my first, and only entry to QuiltCon 2016, it won top honours for Best Machine Quilting, Framed. Obviously, that other quilter was on to something! That last honour came with a $1,000 USD cash prize, that I rightfully so, split with longarmer, Jane Davidson.

So to say I was pleased with the journey of this quilt thus far would be an understatement. Of course, that’s when things got even more interesting! While I was on holiday in San Francisco–a few weeks after QuiltCon–I received an email from a gentleman named Ryan who lives in southern California. He’d seen the quilt at QuiltCon, and after leaving, couldn’t get it out of his head. In one email he had me wondering if this was a prank playing to my ego, or if he had the best taste on the planet:

…truly I love the quilt from concept to execution. It truly is a work of art that incorporates so many elements of design I am drawn towards. Firstly the idea of broad social statement, through the traditional medium of quilting, to a modern global economy in the throws of commoditisation is brilliant. Then there’s the aesthetic you’ve applied to it…truly I was astonished by the restraint, color palette and layering of line and texture.

Turns out, he has the best taste on the planet. (So says me!) He followed up with a simple, “Is it possibly available for purchase?” I think you can guess my answer.

molli_sparkles_no_value_does_not_equal_free_22

Interestingly, when the quilt was started, the Australian dollar was at parity with the US dollar. Today, one Australian dollar buys about $0.76! Exchange rates are funny though; I didn’t lose money because the exchange rate dropped. My own pricing didn’t change at all, in fact. However, the buyer, Ryan, got a 25% discount off what he would have paid in 2013. Which really, is the best for both of us! I got my asking price, and he got it on sale! Don’t you wish retail was always like that?

Despite being presented with a check in the thousands, it was extremely difficult to let this quilt go. It had been part of my family for so long, even when it was tenderly folded in the confines of my closet. But there were really only two options: let it fulfil its destiny of being sold, or spill red wine on it so I could use it without fear. Y’all know I was not about to waste any red wine! So as soon as it had arrived back from QuiltCon, I turned it right back around to southern California. New owner Ryan is going to do it proud though. He’s in the process of having it mounted in a floating frame, and it will be displayed on his wall as art. Respect!

So that’s that: a quilt that started as a discussion between two people, created a conversation amongst a community, and finally found a home for its true value because it demanded what it knew it was worth. I’ll say it again, and please use my experience to further your own journey, No Value Does Not Equal Free.

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24 Responses

  1. Hayley says:

    That is so awesome. Congratulations!

  2. Marieke says:

    Congratulations!

    Ryan is a lucky man!

  3. Susan says:

    Right on!

  4. Jayne says:

    Congratulations! You can always make another!!

  5. That is really awesome – congrats!! If you haven’t had a chance to watch my MQG webinar on modern machine quilting, I included your lovely quilt as part of the presentation 🙂 So it will live forever!!!

  6. Jen B says:

    Yay! Congratulations Molli.

  7. What a great journey this quilt has had. It truly sounds like it has gone to the right home!

  8. Nicole says:

    Congratulations Molli and thanks (and Sam too!) for the discussion and awareness of our art. How much fabric can you buy with the cheque anyway?

  9. Doreen Haywood says:

    This quit is absolutely gorgeous and worth every penny.

  10. Dee Whyte says:

    I do remember the awe shock and gasps!! Congratulations Molli. Thrilled for you!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Oh Wow!! I am really happy for you! You got your price and Ryan now has an amazing piece of art that he truly appreciates. Win win!!

  12. Sarah O says:

    Oh you sold it! Wow, that’s awesome, and a bit sad. I loved the discussion this project produced, in fact the value of the conversation was priceless. Well done. x

  13. Susansquiltstudio says:

    Wonderful, congrats to you, your la quilter and the purchaser – a win for all!

  14. Debbbie says:

    Wow. What an awesome and meaningful life your quilt has lived…

  15. Amoreena says:

    Yay! Congrats : )

  16. Adrienne says:

    I love this whole story and I think it has come to its rightful and beautiful end. I have followed the controversy from the beginning and have always been on your side of the court, so am pleased that in the end, your quilt has been recognized for what it is. Art.

  17. Karen says:

    This is exciting news for everyone – especially you! Congratulations and yes, lucky Ryan!

  18. Lisa says:

    Wonderful , exciting news. Congratulations…when they grow up you have to let them go.

  19. Congratulations on the success and sale of this legendary quilt. And thank you for once again reminding everyone that their work has value. And that above all else we should value ourselves.

  20. Brenda says:

    Congratulations, Joshua. You were certainly on the right track, and you probably undervalued the quilt originally. I’m glad, though, that both buyer and seller were satisfied and that the quilt will have a good home!

  21. Congratulations. It sounds like it has found a home that will appreciate and love it.

  22. Tish says:

    Congrats! It’s so much easier letting go, when you know your creation is headed to a place where it will be loved (and that love can mean many things). And props to you for standing your ground and believing in yourself and your work of art. We do not do anyone justice when we sell ourselves short.

  23. Kathy says:

    I am so very happy for you! This has been a fascinating journey for this quilt and now it will be in a home where it is appreciated. Bravo!!

  24. Colleen says:

    This is amazing! I’m so grateful for your eye-opening journey with this quilt.

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