Lover of all things quilty! Maker of traditional quilts and wearable art. Quilt fabric collector, teacher, machine quilter and pattern designer.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Did Someone Make You The Quilt Judge?
This is a long post. It may not set well with all of those that read it but I have to share my thoughts - I ask your forgiveness from the get go if this offends you.
We quilters are a sharing bunch.
We share tips, ideas, photos, stories, successes and failures.
We share things on facebook, via email, at guild show and tell, in quilt shops while standing in line...with a perfect stranger.
We mean well.
We think we are helping.
We only want the best for each other.
But.....ah yes, there is always a but.
I had a great day today. It started with a dream sleep in.
I woke up with two fur babies snugged next to and on me, and the sun was shining. Hubs had decided to go ride his bicycle for 55 miles and I had the house to myself for several hours.
First up, check in on my facebook pals.....oh look at that pretty quilt. Hey what is my friend in another state up to.... I want to make that...oh would you look at that cute quilted purse...
You know the drill.
I stumbled across a post by a friend that lives in another state (with whom I have had several lengthy conversations about all things quilting and life) saying that she was really upset to see and hear quilters make negative comments about another quilters work!
What? Did I read that right? Yes. I. Did!
I didn't immediately post and got busy with my day.
As I was weeding my garden beds I did what I always do....think.
I thought about that post.
It just kept rolling around in my head.
What we say matters. I reflected on my own words.
How many times have I said something to a new quilter or maybe even a seasoned one that hurt their feelings? Or how many times did they misunderstand what I meant? Probably many more times that I even know about. I'm sorry for that.
I'm connected all over the place. I have a couple thousand pals on facebook, most of whom are quilters, many I do not know. I am in several groups on facebook and a few others on Yahoo Groups. I share and talk and post with abandon. When I see something I don't like I just keep moving. When I see something I like I usually tell the person. My friends would never describe me as being shy. They might also add that what you see is what you get and that I'm not afraid to be straight forward.
When I see someone post something about someone's quilt that is negative I almost always find myself adding: The great thing about quilting is we each get to do what WE like, what makes us happy.
I get messages and emails and the one thing that stuns me and breaks my heart, is when people tell me they are afraid to share their work ~ their passion ~ their creativity.
These are the words of a fb friend of mine named Brenda:
...now this is the very reason that I have the hardest time with trying to
quilt... once someone tells you how bad it is then your confidence is
shot and no matter how hard you try and your family and friends try to
convince you of how you are doing a good job... it still hurts...
And more from another friend who is a newer quilter: "there is no way I am posting any of my quilts in that group, no way would my work measure up and I would be crushed if someone made a negative comment."
And another from a quilter posting a pic of their first quilt: "I know it is not as good as all of the rest of you but I had fun doing it and I love it. Don't look too closely as there is a lot wrong with it. But I love it anyway."
And then there is the phenomenon that my best friend Karen and I talk about all the time. It happens often enough that it is cause for conversation between us.
It goes like this: Someone will post a picture of their recently completed quilt and how excited they were to have it done...and in the same post did not ask for input on the quilt. Many times some other quilter will feel compelled to add "oh yes that is nice but I am not sure I would have used THAT color for the border" or "well I like the middle but that border fabric is not one I would use."
Karen and I are seasoned quilters. We know what we like and we make quilts for varying reasons. But we both do what WE like and are at the point where we don't need input on the border fabric we have used. We laugh about it when someone feels compelled to give us that information.
But we are not all quilters. We are OK with the fact that someone might not like a quilt we made or think the colors go well together.
But. Not. Everyone. Is.
Ever go to a quilt show and stand in front of a quilt and say to your friend what you think about the quilt both good and bad? Yeah me too.
One person on that post from my friend had this to say: "Be careful what you say at quilt shows because that white glove person may be the maker of the quilt." Good advise that I personally am taking to heart.
Do you belong to a guild? Do you have and participate in Show and Tell? Yep, me too....not as much as I could though. I am a seasoned quilter of nearly 40 years. I quilt for hire. I quilt competitively and I have done pretty well over the years as far as awards go. I enter competitions because it causes me to stretch and try new things. It has made me a better quilter. I am proud of the hours and hours of honing my skill and love sharing my creations. And yes I hang every ribbon on my wall in my studio - it makes me happy to see them and while some might look at it as bragging I look at it as confirmation that I am doing good work. It's a wall in my home and very few people in the quilting world see that space. Adding to that wall every year makes me happy.
So imagine how it would make me feel to have someone say as you line up for show and tell "Oh great I have to show my quilt after yours - jeeze I might as well go sit down." I am certain they think it's a compliment. They probably are a little insecure about showing their work and are afraid of being compared to mine. But think about those words. They have made me want to go sit down and there have been times when I left my show and tell at home because I just don't need the negativity.
I for one am going to make it my goal to make sure my words matter. And I am going to continue to encourage everyone I meet in the quilt world to keep trying, keep sharing your creations and be proud of each and every one. I'm going to remind quilters to just have some fun and enjoy the process.
And I am going to remember that a pat on the back is often worth more than a thousand words.
God bless and thanks for sticking with me to the end. ~ Linda T.
PS: Any thoughts on the subject please feel free to share.