Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Quilties" and "Inchies"

The word "quilties" took me by surprise a year or so ago. It means, no surprise, small quilts. I was then aware of both journal quilts [about 10x12"] and quilt postcards [about 4x6"]. I had, before I heard of either, made a year-long, daily diary of 4x6" quilts -- or perhaps I should now call them "quilties". The size worked to make a small statement meant to capture one feeling about the specific day. It was an enjoyable project that now sits unseen but not forgotten in a few boxes in a closet. I think of these smaller forms of quilts as the equivalent of very short stories compared to a novel, or in the case of my diary pieces as a kind of visual haiku. I made about 350, not quite one for every day, but close to it.

About a year ago I was in a quiltie swaps and so made a couple with subjects based on interests of the person they were to be sent to. It was an interesting exercise that required far more inspiration time than making time. I've just completed another swap of quilties. The top picture is the one I made which was inspired by the poem that is on it -- a poem in the form of a short note from Delilah to Samson. This is largish for a quiltie at about 10x14". When I finally found a "Delilah" to copy onto fabric, to color and fuse to the background, she was a good 7 or 8 inches and needed space on the fabric. So this is what I made.

I received what I believe is a "quiltie-r" piece, the one here which is a more distinct violet and pink than this photo suggests. It has delicate embroidery and lovely lacy border plus a small butterfly atop the printed butterfly. In many ways a better quiltie than mine.

I don't especially like doing quilties. I can imagine doing a series of smallish quilts based on/incorporating poems or bits of poems. I've thought of doing it but probably won't. It seems to me such projects require display as a whole. And display of what are essentially art quilts is an iffy matter in most communities. I greatly admire serious art quilters who enter contests, seek display in galleries and spend time marketing their work. These women and men are artists and endure the hard but emotionally rewarding lifework of artists. I am not among them.

I have heard of and seen pictures of little constructions called "inchies". They are, as the word suggests, inch square constructions with a few tiny additions, buttons, embroidery, beads, tiny shapes. To me these are less than haiku, they are doodles. I am happy making wall quilts in the 30x30" size range, but smaller pieces mostly seem like a cramped canvas. Oh, I know about miniature quilts and drop my jaw in amazement at what some quilters accomplish. I don't understand the impulse except in a competitive way that some people will always try to do something amazing -- smaller, more pieces, larger, made of matchsticks, made of marshmallows, a great flower bed laid out like a Mariner's compass quilt design. It's like people who write entire novels never using the letter "e" -- someone did that! Who cares? The person might as well walk the Appalachian Trail on his hands. Enough of that rant.

1 comment :

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I have always done small things in my paintings, my sewing, my crafts. Don't know why except that I get bored easily and making 35 blocks of the same thing bores me. So inchies or plus size inchies when done with fabric are quite easy for me. Thanks for putting my quiltie on your blog. Quilties and one block at a time do interest me.