quilters are artists… in 1961 and 2018

a kindred spirit recently offered me a copy of her mother’s Woman’s Day magazine from November 1961… 57 years old and 10 cents as the purchase price.  it happened to feature an article by Rose Wilder Lane about quilt applique… The Story of American Needlework – Applique.

front cover

the magazine was a delight to look through, old advertisements revealed a window into our past… but what delighted me even more was that Rose, writing 8 years before i was born, shared my own belief that quilters are artists and must first acknowledge and then celebrate their place in art!

“Any scene that an artist can paint on canvas, an artist can put on cloth in applique, and many thousands of homekeeping women have been, and are, artists.  If you think you aren’t one of them you may surprise yourself with a bit of applique.”

applique image 1

Rose goes on to encourage her readers to make their own art, to be inspired by the world and the shapes and designs around them, to make their quilt a piece of their own art…

“Now the design should be your own. You don’t know half the joy of needlework until you create something wholly yours.  Then whether it is as subtle as an arabesque or as naive as a Grandma Moses painting, it is honestly you own idea, your design, your satisfaction; it is a work of art.  It will not be original because nothing is; it will be unique because you are.”

Aim for unique, don’t obsess about original… love that message!

Rose knows that we all have artistic ability inside us, waiting to be asked to come out and play…

“You need not be able to draw a line (though probably you are; nobody knows if you haven’t tried).  Wherever you look you see shapes and colours; take what you please where you find it. — cut them out of magazines and seed catalogues; enlarge them from snapshots; buy patterns from museums; but arrange them to please yourself and work them in colours that sing to you.”

Rose is kindred spirit and reminds me that as quilters we need to stop diminishing, undervaluing and even under pricing our work.  i feel that we are the last group of artists to stand up and take our place beside the sculptors, painters, potters, architects… we all love design, we all create and we all want to make the world a more interesting place.

quilt artists unite!  celebrate your art!  claim your space in art, there is nothing stopping you.  the world is waiting.

let’s make 2018 the year of the quilt… artist 🙂