Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Quilt Con East, in Savannah, GA. It was an incredible trip, not only because Quilt Con is awesome, but because I’ve never been to the east coast … and because I got to bring my parents along with me!
Savannah is such a beautiful city and their convention center is situated right across the Savannah River from the old Civil-War era cotton warehouses at the very edge of the historic district. It was so amazing to walk through blocks and blocks of beautiful old homes, picturesque garden squares, and see flickering gas-lamps everywhere! There was so much history to take in, that we could have easily spent another whole week there, and still not seen everything!
Now, last year at Quilt Con, I made the mistake of cramming in as many classes as I could, and felt like I didn’t have a great deal of time to take in the conference and show, itself. This year, I decided that I was only going to attend the lectures, which gave me plenty of time to wander around and take in all of the fabulous quilts and booths!
The Lectures …
I attended some really fantastic lectures about the creative process, color theory, the beautiful quilty history we come from, and how to keep passing that history on to those who haven’t discovered the joy of quilting! I was happy to get the chance to see Mary Fons speak again – she’s amazing! – and listening to quilting greats like Elizabeth Hartman and Angela Walters was fantastic! I even found a few new-to-me quilters like Anna Boenish and Thomas Knauer, who gave such inspiring talks.
In the light of our upcoming Gathering Mystery QAL, starting at the end of the month, I did want to share the spirit of one lecture, since I think it gives us a beautiful frame of mind to enter into our QAL journey together:
One of my favorite lectures was “Critique of Perfection: The Perilous Allure of Technique” by Thomas Knauer. He argued that this obsession that we, as quilters, have with achieving perfection is absurd … because perfection is not humanly attainable. Judging any of our works on its closeness to perfection brings dissatisfaction, disappointment, and really does a disservice not only to you, the artist, who spent hours of your life (that you will never, ever get back) creating it, but also to the person you have created it for.
How many times have we shared quilts (or anything else creative, for that matter) and have automatically cast a shadow on it by saying things like, “Well, it’s not very good, but …” or “Don’t look too closely …” or “It’s nothing compared to her’s …”. We aren’t even giving the world a chance to appreciate the beauty we’ve created without looking through our own tainted lens.
Rather, Thomas says, approach your attempts, your projects, your finishes, as a runner might approach his or her races: forget about everyone else running and just focus on achieving you personal best … knowing that you’ll keep working at beating YOUR OWN records each and every time you get out there.
Share your projects with the love and respect they deserve! “I am so proud of my first (second, ninetieth) attempt at paper piecing…” or “this piece is so special to me, because …”. In essence, we don’t need to constantly be on the lookout for tools and techniques that will help us get closer to achieving perfection. Instead, we should appreciate the individual journey we are on and pour our love into the things we make, along with the people we make them for … or with!
Powerful thoughts, indeed!
tHE qUILTS …
And of course, no Quilt Con post would be complete without a little quilty eye candy. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites from the show. Enjoy!