Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due

Here are two details from the work in progress [WIP] in the previous post. Often I do not quite know what I'm doing, i.e. I haven't defined what my action and expectation is. In terms of this quilt I haven't defined it's antecedents either and they deserve to be given credit. I called it the "hexagon quilt." I should call it my Second Maxine Rosenthal quilt. I have been inspired by One Block Wonder, her book which shows examples and gives directions for quilts of this sort. I am especially thinking about what I am doing because, as this second quilt is on the design wall, I am actually quilting #One [Ive shown it before and will show it again when I'm doing quilting it].

Maxine R. follows in the footsteps of two well known quilters, and adds her own creative approach. First there was Paul Nadelson, a true quilt artist of the first important generation of late 20th century quilt artists. [Not that they are fossils, all are still much among us and still creating]. Paula's kaleidoscope quilts were laboriously cut and sewn and became iconic -- so much so, she was copied by a carpet manufacturing company who she had to sue for the royalties she very much deserved. Many years ago I head Paula speak of her laborious construction methods -- carried out in a crowded Bronx apartment amidst all her family duties. I was in awe.

Then came Bethany Reynolds and her "stack and whack" method [it should have a copyright sign affixed but my program doesn't have one for me to insert]. Bethany is a technological creator. She made Paula's painstaking methods easier, although not exactly super easy and not as complex. I have used Bethany's books and her methods several times and I've had a wonderful time making quilts with her technique.
Maxine Rosenthal uses Bethany's cutting technique but handles the resulting kaleidoscope-like hexagons or octagons differently to create a more abstract, exciting pattern than those Bethany offers in a more traditional block quilt tradition.

And where do I fit in? I'm a quilt hobbyist who has a bundle of fun making these quilts. I love the development of the kaleidoscope patterns and then the arrangement of them in the whole. I am neither an artist nor an innovator, I am an enjoyer, a recipient of others' wonderful talents. They have enriched my free time when I sew these quilts, and have expanded my artistic ability to arrange the hexagons in pleasing patterns. Too often, I think, people like me who learn something new from either a class or a book, imagine ourselves to be artists. No, we are artisans, we are enjoyers, and we should give thanks as well as credit where it is due.


jennyk said...

Thank you for reminding me of that useful word "artisan". I tend to say that "I am not an artist, I'm a crafter", but to many people "crafter" is a disparaging term suggesting someone who just dabbles in a hobby. I like "artisan" much better, with its implication of pride in our skill with our hands.

Diana said...

Artisan is a good word. I agree with jennyk that the term "crafter" is often used in a derogatory sense, which is unfortunate since we need a term to describe what we do. Artisan might fit.

BTW, the kaleidoscope blocks are really fun, aren't they? I find them quite addictive.

Marie aka Grams aka Gramarme said...

Thanks for the pep talk, June, and thanks for posting the information. The one thing I know is that things continue to evolve and there's no end to the creativity. Here's to more...