Do You Mock Quilters? Then You're Quiltist

A traditional Amish quilt from Kalona, Iowa
I loved what readers had to say about my recent Etsy post on innovation and craft. Is it enough to work within a time-honored tradition, or is it important, even critical, to innovate? People argued both pro and con, and there were a number of insightful comments. There was one, however, that gave me pause.

The post referenced the anger among the art quilting community over comments by juror David McFadden who described the pieces in a current exhibition as looking like they'd been created in a time warp—that they could have been created 30 years ago. In an off-handed manner, obviously meant to be a joke, one commenter said "How irate could quilters get?!?" There it was, that attitude I've talked about in this post and the lede in this one. The idea that quilters are little old ladies who rock in their chairs and wouldn't hurt a fly and that the worst they could do would be to shake their canes at some young whippersnapper.

A person with those ideas is QUILTIST. This term is akin to racist, sexist, ageist, etc. I define it as someone who makes assumptions about a person based on the media with which they choose to express themselves. Of course it's rooted in sexism and ageism (denigrating quilting as "women's work," seeing older women as ineffectual and incapable of righteous indignation). And of course there are many, many divisive issues like this in the arts world: art vs. craft; traditional vs. contemporary; drama vs. comedy; community theater vs. Broadway;  novelists vs. journalists, etc., etc., etc. But I'm really tired of quilting being the broom and dustpan of the craft world.

So if you encounter folks like these, call them out! "When you make comments like that, when you gaze off into the distance looking bored when I tell you I'm a quilter, you're QUILTIST! And that's a decidedly unappealing characteristic."

LinzeeEtsy, blogs, quilting, quilts