This article was published Thursday November 15, 2012 in the Times Free Press of Chattanooga TN. The writer has some serious misinformation regarding quilting in general and more specifically the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
One event immediately came to mind as I read the article: Quilted Northern came up with what is essentially a very clever campaign promoting their toilet tissue, a group of quilters with knitting needles “quilting” the toilet tissue. Quilters responded with calls, emails and letters helping to inform the marketing department of the company that we quilters do not quilt with knitting needles. It wasn’t long before an updated version of the commercial made it’s debut and still runs today with the quilters having a variety of conversations. I, for one, would like to help the author of said article learn about the quilting community and why the International Quilt Study museum is not only important to quilters but to the history of our country.
In the authors view quilters, quilting and the museum are of the era of Ma Ingalls, Aunt Bea and the Waltons. The median age of quilters is somewhere between 55 & 62, as of my last birthday (a mere 4 days ago) I’m still in my 40′s and have been quilting for 19 years. Then there are the quilters I know – not only my local guild members who are amazing in their own right and can be visited Renee and Mary Anne, then there’s Paula, Angela, Lisa, Randy, Ricky none of whom fit the appearance and quilting style of the Ingalls, Taylors or Waltons.
The author reminds us that memories can be created in video and photographs. The author is right, this is one way of creating memories and these methods are great. Nothing can comfort a person who is suffering from loss, illness and grief like a quilt. A quilt wraps a person in a handcrafted love when images will not do. Photos will not keep a person undergoing chemotherapy warm while a quilt will. A quilt will wrap a grieving mom, spouse in an embrace from people they may not even know. A quilt will remind a veteran how much we appreciate their sacrifice in a way that photos NEVER will.
The author wonders why dump hard earned taxpayer money into a museum that no one in Chattanooga will ever visit – a very quick google search reveals 10 shops that come up within 40 minutes of the Museum. Ten. Ten shops within 40 minutes. Hmmn, that gets me wondering if there are any quilters in the area who might be interested in visiting the Museum? Paducah, KY is a mere 6 hour drive and any quilter would know why I mention this little factoid. I’d like to visit both, which would mean spending money on hotels, restaurants and local quilt shops essentially supporting the local economy.
Quilting has been a part of American History coming in with the first colonists and continuing through with women primarily making quilts to keep their families warm through the cold, snowy winter months. Listening to Kim Brunner’s lecture quilts were very much a part of her family’s survival during severe winter snow storms. Quilts were very much part of surviving keeping people warm during the very cold winter nights in homes that had little to no insulation. As our country moved toward manufacturing inexpensive blankets, homes became better insulated and more and more women were working outside the home quilting became part of the periphery of American society, never really dying out. The renaissance of quilting beginning in the early 1970′s in preparation for our Bicentennial year in 1976.
Quilting since has not only gone through a resurgence but is more than ever part of American Society being featured on CBS Sunday Morning (Ricky Tims) and most recently on the Today Show in a humorous piece with Hoda. The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is a small part of that. I hope to visit and perhaps teach at the Museum soon. Thank you to the author for continuing to remind me of the importance of quilting. I do hope that the authors inbox is flooded with responses from quilters, that comments are made in response to the piece and that more importantly the author finds the importance of quilting.
PS – in a few days I’ll be hosting a blog give away