Houston Recap!!!

I can’t believe how fast time goes by at an event like International Quilt Festival. Not only did I have a lot going on at the show, I’ve had a super busy time once I got back.  Now after a little rest I’m ready to jump back in!  Here goes…
Cheryl and Speed I guess the biggest thrill for me is to have a quilt at the show!  Geschwindigkeit (Speed) was hanging in the show in the “An Exquisite Moment” special exhibit.  Yes, I did that thing where you hang out in front of your quilt and listen to what other people say about it (it was all good).

IMG_1159 I was part of Open Studios (sponsored by Craftsy) and had a great time showing everyone all about my cartoony quilts, dimensional sewing, and light up quilts!  Lots of people asked me if I teach and lecture (YES!) and a bunch asked if I had a Craftsy class, so I guess I’ll have to look into that!

Make It U - Houston 2013 Check out all of these awesome light up trading cards made in my class!!!  I LOVE student work, it’s so innovative and I always see something new that someone wants to put a light into.  We had a great time. Big thanks to Superior Threads for the conductive thread (check out this link for tutorials and more using their conductive threads)!

Make It U - SOLD OUTI’m always nervous to be the first Make It University class of the day, but I didn’t really have to worry.

IMG_1177The other awesome thing I did was to demo in the Cherrywood designs booth!  People came by and learned how I make my little cartoony people with Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics!  I worked on the cast of the Big Bang Theory during my demos, and had a great time showing people what I do.

houston1Then there’s my friends! This is a big part of the show for me. Clockwise from the top left: Judi Hurwitt, Pokey Bolton, Ebony Love, and Deborah Boschert!

houston2Even more fun is to be had at the “after parties” like the Gala on the Green on Saturday (top) and the Dinner @ 8 Artist dinner for those of us in the “An Exquisite moment” exhibit.

IMG_1135Of course, there’s my friend Catherine, who travels with me, is a fab roommate, and has her own “quiltie adventures” while at the show.  She did lots at the show this year too (like teaching and demoing) and you can read about her version of events on her blog! (How is it we get no pictures together, Catherine?)

IMG_1171I had a great time and I will miss it… until next year!!!

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See My Work at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach!

If you will be at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, CA this weekend, be sure to look for my quilt ,Geschwindigkeit, in the special exhibit “An Exquisite Moment”.  Please be sure to stop by here and tell us what you thought of the show!  I wish I could be there, but there’s so much to do here at home!

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Riding the Fringes

So, I have been thinking very much about this post from Stephanie Forsyth’s fabulous blog, and even Melly Testa’s follow up on her blog.

When I started quilting, and especially when I moved back to Chicago from Baltimore, I found that I wanted to find a group of like minded people to share my work with and learn from.  Instead of feeling included, I feel like an outsider, riding the fringes of their pasttime.

op2And if that’s not enough, though some people would think I’m in some kind of “inner circle” of quilters at shows or meetings, I am not.  Even there I have had instances of rejection, times where people are in on some secret group that I’m not privy to, who look at me and decide to sit somewhere else.  And though some of these are more like minded folks art wise, I end up again feeling like the outsider who’s riding the fringes of acceptance.

Last year at Houston I had a catchphrase that I have since extended to my daily life:

I do not need your acceptance to have a good time.

This mantra helped me in several situations at Houston, and the time I had exceeded the time I had the year before (which had real downer moments, even though my quilt was in the show).  I have since discussed this topic with a few select people, and there are a few things I’ve boiled it down to that could be what set some outsiders apart from general “acceptance”.

  • They just don’t get the concept of our art, and because they don’t get it, they decide they can’t be seen liking it, even though they may think it’s amazing.
  • They are intimidated.  You can take this however which way you want.  Intimidated because I’m at this stage in my art at the age I’m at.  Intimidated by the types of art I create, or the electronic materials I often use.  Intimidated because I wear a skull on 99% of my clothing and therefore I must be “subversive”.  And feel free to replace “intimidated” by “weirded out”.  Don’t hate on me or my art because you personally don’t want to use lights in your quilts.
  • Their own need for acceptance by their perceived group of peers creates a “high school” effect, where they exclude others for the air of exclusivity.
  • That because I work a full time job, I must not be a “real” artist, and therefore not part of the club.  (um, Lisa Call, Lynn Krawczyk, and many many others… and I fucking dare you to say they are not artists)

I could spend my whole life psychoanalyzing others to figure out why I always feel like I’m riding the fringes of accepted quilt society.  I spent my whole school career being a “nerd” girl who liked boy things and never wore makeup… who joined the “strange” groups like Drama and Chess Club…who read comic books and played Dungeons and Dragons.  I know exactly what it’s like, and why it feels “bad”. But I’m a grown ass woman, and I don’t need people’s acceptance to be happy.  I’m not going to change who I am to try to fit in to these groups anymore.
Open Studios 2012 HoustonThe “nerds” are starting to see our day in the sun in pop culture, and so are we “outsider” quilty people.  We are testing your limits.  We do not look like the average quilter.  We are younger, we are weirder, we are using that materials you would never use in your quilt.  And I’m proud to be part of that group.

Stephanie touched on something that I have felt for a long time.  Her persona in person is different from her blog “voice”.  I have so much admiration for Megan Dougherty and Maddie Kertay who blogged with full on “salt” from day one of their blog.  I self censored because I didn’t want to offend clients or buyers of my work, lectures, and workshops.  Those ladies both have huge followings.  It made me think…the people I’d have to censor for, are they really my audience anyway?
selfnot usedI recently decided to redo my head shot (the one at the top) and I felt so strongly to wear my skull t shirt in it.  It’s more “me” and it’s more how I am everyday versus the trussed up “clean” web version of myself.  I think it’s time to do that for the blog too, and I hope you will stick around and ride the fringes with me.

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