- - - - - - - - - - Summer 2018 - - - - - - - - - -
Note from the Editor
In my 12 years at this company, I’ve come to loathe the phrase “Not your grandma’s quilt.” Okay, maybe “loathe” is a bit dramatic, but “strongly dislike” just doesn’t have the same effect.
There are a few reasons for my aversion to the phrase, the first being its sheer overuse. I mean, a quick Google search of the phrase will turn up around 455,000 results, if that’s any indication. And because a part of my job is monitoring and reading articles written about quilting and quilters by mainstream media outlets, I’ve simply encountered it far too many times. It’s a lazy headline; a phrase used by non-quilters to describe any quilter who doesn’t fit their stereotypical version of what a quilter should be.
And that brings me to reason number two for my strong dislike: After 12 years, I know what a quilter looks like, and the truth is that she/he can look like anyone. It doesn’t surprise me to meet a quilter who isn’t a “grandma,” because I already know what you likely know as well—that there are quilters in every age group, every culture, and every segment of life and society.
For that matter, no two grandmas are alike (other than, literally,
the shared occurrence of having grandchildren). And the phrase,
at least to me, seems to imply that grandmas can be neither cool
nor interesting, or that they aren’t creating works worth discussing
or admiring. I’m here to tell you that I and my two amazing—and,
yes, cool—grandmothers would have to strongly disagree with
One of the great things about social media—at least in our world—is that it can bring to our attention quilt artists that we’ve not encountered before, like college student Rayna Parks, whose work we recently came across on Instagram. Rayna (who is also featured in this edition of Friends@Festival) is a self-taught quilter who found instruction among Pinterest tutorials and inspiration in the album artwork of one of her favorite musicians.
Also included in this edition is the fascinating story of Brazilian-turned-Canadian quilt artist Ana Paula Brasil, whose journey to international artist/teacher/quilting personality was anything but typical.
For the record, it was Ana’s grandma who first taught her to sew, and Rayna’s grandma who showed up with a brand-new sewing machine when she first expressed an interest in learning to make a quilt. And both women first learned to quilt using the time-tested patterns and techniques with which quilting is largely associated. That’s right…your grandma’s quilt.
So, maybe the key to overcoming my dislike of the phrase isn’t in trying to prove that it’s cliché or that the stereotype upon which it’s based is outdated (we already know that, don’t we?). Maybe it’s in working to prove that what many non-traditional quilters are creating is remarkable and interesting and cool, and that just as many of your grandma’s quilts are as well.