To be continued…

imageTo be continued…don’t you just love those words? Well, OK, maybe not always, and maybe not at the end of a suspense-filled show, but sometimes! They promise something more, something to look forward to!

So I think it is with the subject we talked about yesterday: Rules, or lack thereof. There is always more to say about it, isn’t there? And in that vein, I am thinking about Quilt Police.

The name Quilt Police keeps popping up everywhere, in nearly every discussion about quiltmaking. I use it, you probably do too. But I got thinking, do we mean the same thing?

Who are the Quilt Police? When you hear the term, who do you think of? Are they hideous, nasty people? Or are they someone whose help you could use now and then? Are they real people? Or are they just some mythical creature made up by someone who wants to rail at somebody?

I’ll start. When I use the term Quilt Police, I am thinking of those people who walk through a show criticizing every single quilt they see. They get up close and note that a point is off by two threads, or that THEY would never have put those two colors together. I envision people not really interested in providing constructive criticism or celebrating the joy or the accomplishment of the maker. I see them as people who build themselves up by denigrating others. They sound nasty, don’t they? Yeah, to my mind they are. Do they exist? Sadly, yes. I have heard some of the nastiest comments ever at quilt shows, often unwittingly made in front of a maker. I have decided in future to remind them that the maker might be nearby and that their comments would be infinitely more
helpful if they were more positive. I will say to them, “Didn’t this maker do a great job expressing joy in this?” Honest, I will. Our job is to build each other up, not tear each other down. Ever.

I’m looking forward to a discussion here. As always, speak your mind, but be nice!

(And if you want to keep up with the comments and more to come on this subject, sign up for my email list!)

  • Tim Latimer

    I have overheard those comments myself. I often think that the people who find the need to criticize everything must be rather sad people. I also find that most often they do NOT have one of their own quilts in the show so there is a bit of jealousy mixed in too.

    • Lori East

      Yes, Tim, just a little sour grapes, maybe?

  • Taryn Faulkner

    I’ve sat behind some snarky ones at the local guild meeting while they kept up a running (negative) commentary about the speaker’s quilts. Boy did I want to ask them why they bothered to show up that night. I find the quilt police most oppressive on social media…they are the ones who speak in black and white: “do this,” “never do that,” “you can’t,” “you must…” Last spring I saw an exchange that declared those who purchased quilt kits only knew how to use their checkbooks and an iron. Talk about tearing people down. We are all learners – if we are wise – and need to remain open to the ideas others bring to our exchanges.

    • Kate Bacon Endersbe

      I purchased kits for several years because I lacked confidence in my own color sense. With a kit, I could concentrate on my skill building and know that the finished quilt would be nice. I’ve grown in my skills and don’t use kits anymore. It happened very quickly, suddenly I looked at quilts and thought, “Well, that’s nice but I’d like it better in xyz colors, or with different quilting.” Who am I to decide when someone else is ready to give up the crutch and walk their own path?

      • Lori East

        And so it happens for many of us, Kate! It is kind of funny to me how that happens. It’s a journey for all of us, and we all get where we get at different times and in different ways.

    • Lori East

      I agree completely, Taryn! I like your words, “We are all learners…” And so we are!!

  • Linda Thielfoldt

    I have heard those comments many times. One show I had quilted a beautifully made quilt in an all over pattern. I would not have chosen it but the person had a limited budget and yet wanted to use the quilt she had made. The conversation went like this: Oh what a pretty quilt. Yes, but who quilted it? Oh look it’s Linda Thielfoldt, The Quilted Goose!, OMW what in the world is wrong with her, I would never put that kind of quilting on this nice of a quilt, she .

    Imagine their faces when I stepped around the quilt and said I was the quilter and that not everything is as you think it is. I said that is all her budget would allow for and isn’t it great to see it hanging in a show? Oh and do you ladies have any quilts in the show?

    Um that would be a NO!

  • Collin Fellows

    I like one point you brought up. Criticism isn’t the problem it is kindness. Instead of saying “what an awful color combination” how about “I’d love to see this pattern in x/y colors” we have, sadly, become a society of quick responses. We have lost the art of contemplatitive conversation. Let’s all work, not to stifle out opinions, but to try and find the kindest way of expressing our thoughts. I bet we would be a much happier people.

    May your day be seam ripper free.

    • Lori East

      Absolutely, Collin! One of my favorite lines is, “Because Nice Matters…” and it really, truly does!

  • Bill V.

    Sometimes I think of the Quilt Police as those who value technical accomplishment over expression, but in the most negative sense it would be like you said– those who try to build themselves up by denigrating others. The funny thing is, what are they really building? The people who made vile comments were heard, but did they realize who heard them and what it really got them? They were heard by editors, publishers, curators and other people who would never engage with them after seeing the comments; the same people who have handed me a whole world of opportunity! Ah, the irony, that those Quilt Police are actually locked inside their own prisons.

    • Lori East

      “Locked inside their own prisons.” Perfect. They are, aren’t they? It’s sad that they can tear others down so much and refuse to see the joy. I can only wonder how miserable they are with their own work.

    • Tim Latimer

      good point….they are, and it is sad