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.
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.