All right, so I just wrote out a long(ish) comment on Jacquie's blog about the great Dumbing Down Quilting debate, and it got eaten. Honestly, I don't even think it's a debate. For some reason, some quilters have set up dividing lines in their minds about "us" and "them" and people are mostly talking past each other. I hope that we are able to listen and hear each other, because seriously why should there even be a discussion like this? (Oh, if you don't know what I'm talking about? Google "dumbing down quilting" and you can find out for yourself.)
Anyway, here's what I think about what I read tonight and last night. There are a lot of women criticizing the younger/modern/contemporary quilt bloggers for "dumbing down" quilting. They are saying they keep seeing the "same 7 quilts" on quilt blogs, that people are using too much negative space or white or gray, that the new, modern quilter's aren't interested in improving their skills. The criticisms even went as far as saying that certain modern quilt styles are ugly.
I honestly don't think these people are actually spending any time actually reading any modern quilting blogs, at least not enough to get a sense of what one person's body of work or time spent on quilting is actually like. I read a lot of modern quilt blogs and I have for a few years now. People are not making the same 7 quilts. Wonky log cabins, done right, aren't easy or lazy. White and gray solids in quilts look great, and if you don't like it, why do you feel the need to cut other people down? And finally, this is the one that really rubs me wrong, is the assertion that younger/newer/modern quilters don't care about improving their skills. The quilters I know, and the ones who I know through their blogs, and myself, we are all trying to improve our quilting skills! How dare you suggest that just because we like white, or are intrigued by the look of a wonky star block, or we want to make quick projects (because sometimes these seemingly quick projects become amazingly time consuming when we have to fit them in between toddlers, school age kids, and the rest of our lives), that we don't care to improve our skills. It's just rude to say that, and it's not true.
I challenge any of the traditional quilters who commented about us lazy modern quilters to spend some time trying to get to know us, to subscribe to some of our blogs and look through our photos on flickr to see how our work has grown and changes, and try to really see the effort, care, and skill that we are using in our work. Try to appreciate a different aesthetic, and if it's still not for you, then at least have the courtesy to stop criticizing our work just because it's different from yours.
(Wishes all quilters could just get along and support each other in our common love for fabric/thread/design. But hey this makes life a little more interesting, right?)