One of these things is nice, and one not so nice.
Let's start with the nice one. It's about that quilt again. You may recall that it was in a London exhibition recently, and as a result of that I had a request to bring it along to Cambridge University and talk for a bit. The person who wrote had a very long title but was basically Chair of Humanities at one of the Colleges and a Senior Member of the Classics and English faculties, and they wrote an influential arts publication. They were interested in quilts and could I felt, help bring quilting to the attention of other influential people who may be unfamiliar with them as an art form.
Of course, I was highly delighted. For me, even if it comes to nothing, its a huge step forward in getting quilting (and I genuinely mean quilting, and not me) better recognized in the art world. It's really important to me that quilts are viewed as another art form and not Women's Work and a craft. This doesn't mean I deny that history, just that it should be valued beyond that. Historically painting and sculpture have been done largely by men, and because of that have become fine art, despite being crafts too, but stitch is seen as female and is undervalued.
Now the yucky bit. About two days later, I went to visit a friend at her quilting group of 10 ladies. All enthusiastic, all keen to chat about the latest techniques and show their work. Wonderful. But as part of their discussions they began to talk about art quilts. They called them (and I'm quoting here) "arty-farty nonsense" The conversation began to get quite heated and I'm not at all sure why. There was talk about "fighting back" and reclaiming quilting for "ordinary quilters". I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I'm still totally baffled. Were they threatened? Were they just showing solidarity with each other? What reason was there for such prejudice and unkindly words; let's be honest, nonsense? A fight might have been in the offing, but of course, I didn't say a word in deference to my friend but I was itching to!
So I've blogged instead! Come on ladies, there's room for everyone. I wouldn't dream of decrying another artist, quilter, painter, writer, sculptor, or anyone for that matter who is having fun, making, or doing whatever floats their boat. Could I perhaps suggest that we're responsible for holding ourselves back too? There's enough silliness in the world. Tut.