Monday, February 06, 2006
In The Ghetto?
The photograph here is a picture of the next stage of the piece 'No Man Is An Island'. It has had a bit of stitch added, here and there, and some couched fibres. It is beginning to come together, now, though I have still to add the text to it. But instead of doing that, I spent today at Helen's studio, playing with my acrylic paints, painting on tissue paper prior to bonding it to cloth, preparing a book for altering. It's unusual for me to make art with other people around; for me, art is a solitary activity. It is pleasant, though, to have company, to talk about life, the work, the universe or whatever comes up in conversation.
Sewing in general, but quilting in particular, has always been considered a sociable activity...quilting 'bees' are, of course, legendary, and I suspect that today's quilting house groups are but a pale shadow of their historical counterparts. For me, and, I suspect for most art quilters, that kind of camaraderie is not on the agenda. Apparently making odd quilts makes me an odd person... (if my son reads this, I'll live to regret that comment!). Perfectly pleasant people who would give all encouragement to someone making a bed quilt, seem to think that it's open season on people like me, who make wall quilts. The reaction I get from traditional sewers who see my work is rather akin to the reaction I get from some people when I admit to suffering from chronic depression. They don't know what to say, get embarrassed, and then invariably ask inappropriate questions. My favourite, though, is the question, usually whispered between two traditionalists, looking anywhere but at me, 'Is that a quilt?'. If I made the kind of disparaging remarks about traditional quilts that are made about my work, it would be rotary cutters at ten paces! Instead, I'm meant to pretend it doesn't matter.
And if I'm really truthful, it doesn't. I make what I make. I don't need anyone's permission or agreement. And, like Groucho Marx, I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member!