The past two weekends I have been conducting workshops with Modern Quilt Groups. I had expectations of who I would find in these groups, of what materials they would be using and the kind of quilts they would make. As I engaged with the groups I found so much more than my expectations. On the way home last night I found myself wondering what the definition of "Modern" actually is because my perception going in changed going out because wasn't exactly right. Not that I had a negative impression, I just had a preconceived idea. How often does that happen in life? We think things are as we imagine... that we know it all from surface dwelling.
Wendy were driving home from Wollongong talked the whole way about what we had learned and together we came up with this definition:
Modern Quilters are kind, open minded, eager to learn, curious about what they don't know and willing to try new things. Some are chatty and some are quiet. They laugh while they sew, help each other with techniques, share their fabric and generally are great fun to be around.
Some Modern Quilters grew up sewing. Some just started. Some are young and some are old(er). Some are confident with their technical and creative skills and some like to ask a lot of questions about how they are going.
Many Modern Quilters machine quilt....but some like to hand sew. Some use computers and some don't. Some like to recycle fabrics and some like to buy everything they see. Some shop for fabric in shops and some on the internet.
Modern Quilters have a huge variety of fabrics. Some use clean bright contemporary fabrics. Some use homespun and tone on tone prints. Some use traditional fabrics...black and whites...funky or straight. Some like random, some like points, some like big and some like small. Some hand sew and some only machine and others do both!
All of them like to make quilts. Funny that.
One of the funniest surprise realisations we had was that...wait for it...we think we might be modern quilters! All this time we thought Modern Quilters were only young, internet driven and used white with color only. OOOPs. Life hands us opportunities to learn about "Other people."
I am struck by the similarity of this situation and a few things I always teach.
1. If my quilt isn't going the way I want it to go...I go where it is taking me. What I mean is...expectations lock us into a way of thinking that might not bring about our best performance. It is always good to have an open mind and to listen, learn and enjoy surprises.
2. Stories we read when we are kids often give us a path to a happy life. For me it was Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr Seuss. That book also has another story, What was I afraid of? Which also rings true. Sometimes when we see different we are afraid. That is a human reaction but just like building biceps, we can exercise that reaction out of our lives and find friendship and similarity in what is different. It expands our horizons.
We may look different, act different and assume to think different but we are all quilters and that is a connecting thread that makes us all friends. I very much enjoyed learning as I taught the last few weekends. If you have a "traditional group" and "modern group" in your area, maybe it would be a good idea to have a joint meeting every once in a while to see what the other group has to offer in the way of new and old combinations. You too might be surprised!
So if you are interested in learning more about the Modern Quilters movement in Australia (or anywhere really!) how about putting this on your calendar or even better..how about entering a quilt in the show!!!!
Gotta be in it to win it! Get on board...
That reminds me, I got a few lessons on Instagram this weekend as well from some lovely modern thinking gals. Worth a few giggles...follow me on @matobsgirl and maybe I'll get the hang of it! dashing off. k