Friday, 29 August 2014

Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild!

For the past month or so, a group of wonderful ladies and myself have been working behind the scenes on something I've been dreaming of for a few years - a Tasmanian chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. As much as I love the online quilting community, I have been craving a group where we could meet face to face, share our quilts and ideas and build friendships. The online quilting community will always be a huge part of my quilting life, but it just isn't the same as a local quilt guild. When I started teaching (and now working!!) at Frangipani Fabrics earlier this year, one of the most common topics of discussion that came up was our shared desire for a modern quilt group in Tasmania. 


It was just an oftthought idea up until a few months ago when I entered my local quilt show, in which the choice of categories was Traditional or Non-Traditional. I actually entered four quilts (those scattered through this post), two of which I nominated for the Non-Traditional category (more because of how I'd quilted them than the design), but the convener chose (with my agreement) to change the category of all four to Traditional, because they were all block based quilts set in a traditional way. Now I personally don't consider myself a traditional quilter - yes I do use traditional blocks in a traditional setting most of the time. But I don't consider my fabric choices, or quilting style to be traditional at all. I understood why they were placed in the Traditional category (because they didn't fit the criteria of Non-Traditional) but I don't believe they are really traditional quilts.



I've been struggling with whether or not to write about this on my blog, but it is kind of catalytic in why we are forming a local MQG. So I'm putting on my big girl pants and talking about it. First up, I do want to be honest - I didn't enter the show expecting to win prizes. None of the quilts I entered where made to be 'show' quilts, and had various flaws - the main one being that I never tie off my quilting threads, I just do a few stitches on the same spot and snip my threads (terrible, I know ;o) ). I entered to support our local quilt show and to see my quilts hanging in a real show (which was very exciting, especially when you hear people talking about your quilts. Not that I stalked them, promise :o) ). I didn't win any prizes, and this is the part I've been struggling with whether or not to share - I was quietly told that one of my quilts was considered prize worthy, but that because I'd left some sections un-quilted, it wasn't able to win a prize. Obviously I'm a bit disappointed about this, but also thrilled that my skills are good enough to almost win a prize. And it isn't going to make me change how I quilt my quilts - I more often than not leave areas of my quilts un-quilted as a deliberate design element. Unfortunately that is all the feedback I got - they don't give out the judges comment sheets for our local show, which is disappointing as that was another reason I wanted to enter. I'd like to hear feedback on where I can improve my quilts from a judges point of view.



Probably the best thing that came out of my quilts hanging in the show was that it has kindled a lot of interest in forming a local modern quilt guild, and possibly having a modern category in our quilt show next year. I met recently with a group of wonderful local quilters to discuss starting the Tasmanian MQG, and things have started moving really quickly. Thankfully we have had the most amazing support and interest, from both the Tasmanian Quilt Guild and from local quilters. I am beyond excited that my little dream of a local MQG has actually become reality :oD



If you do live in Tasmania, we are holding our first meeting next Wednesday (3rd September). We have a Facebook page if you'd like to keep up to date with events, meetings, workshops and sewing days - and all the details of the first meeting are available there. I'm starting to put together a blog as well, so I'll share all the information about that soon :o) 

xx Jess







12 comments:

DeborahGun said...

Oh this is super exciting Jess! Quilt shows seem to be funny things from what I have read on-line - I would definitely not consider your quilts 'traditional' but I guess everyone has such different ideas about this that fitting quilts into categories in the end doesn't work that well! I am glad you were encouraged by the comments :-)
Love the new look of your blog too!

Amira@littlemushroomcap said...

I have similar Idea of Modern quilter. I would not call myself a tradiational quilter either, but I love quilts based on classic blocks. Although the one seemingly modern would be those with improv piecing and free design, I think there is still room for those using traditional blocks combined with non-traditional colours/fabrics (often we call modern fabrics)in the modern quilter's world. I belong to Canberra modern quilt guild. As much as I want to be doing more modern piecing / mprov etc, I find myself falling for traditional blocks again and again. LIke your quilts, they are certainly of my taste. I would not see them as traditional in my eyes. So, I guess the definition of a modern quilter is still vague. Anyway, I believe, do what makes you happy - forget the title modern or traditional. And forming a guild has no limits as well into what type of quilting you do. even if it is called the modern quilt guild. I believe most of us has many of the same taste and surely would be lovely to gather among us at guilds! Have fun with your guild meetings Jess!
Hugs,
Amira

CapitolaQuilter said...

Congratulations on making the local MQG a reality. I too enter my quilts in our guilds show to have them shared and (hopefully) enjoyed by others and prefer not to be judged because I know the criteria wouldn't be the same as what's important to me as a quilter. Your quilts are beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Katy Cameron said...

Ooh, have loads of fun at the new guild! Having entered shows where did get the comments sheets back, I'm not entirely sure it actually told me anything to improve on particularly, just a few ticks dotted around, but no explanations on what exactly caused the opinion to be good or bad. So I guess I'm saying, I don't think you necessarily missed anything without getting the paper back!

I have to say that I'm never quite sure why people tell you things like 'you could have got a prize but...' where the reason is entirely down to someone's taste rather than a cut and dried fact - ie 'you're quilting wasn't their taste' versus 'you failed to stitch down about an inch of the binding at the back', I've never found that particularly helpful either, other than that you know your style isn't to their taste, so either you have to change your style or change your judges!

Lisa said...

Your quilts are beautiful. I'm especially taken with the Roundabout Quilt. Your story is a really interesting. Interesting to hear why you came to enter the show and what it has led to. I think one of the most interesting things about modern quilting is the sharing aspect, particularly through the internet. Good luck with your guild.

Renee said...

I'm sorry to hear that the judges felt that the unquilted areas meant the quilt wasn't worthy of a ribbon! I like entering my quilts, but more often than not I'm disappointed by some element of the process. Congratulations on starting a MQG! I finally this year joined my local chapter and am on the fence about it. I like some parts, and I don't like some parts. I'm also a member of the longer standing, more traditional quilting group here and am definitely the youngest member. I basically don't really feel at home with either group.

Hettie's Mum said...

Your quilts are gorgeous and very worthy of a prize. How frustrating not to get feedback as this is how most of us learn! What a great idea to get a local guild with a modern slant going. excellent! All the best. I really like you blog. Thanks!

Farm Quilter said...

Congrats on getting a modern quilt guild going!!! Traditional/non-traditional...what was their definition of these terms??? Defining "modern quilting" has been difficult...is it the fabric choices, fabric placement, quilting, colors?? Until those in the modern quilting movement come up with a way that everyone can immediately tell if a quilt in modern or not, there will be confusion. I'm with you on the judging - tell me what I am doing right and what I can do to improve!!! I'm with you, sometimes I leave an area unquilted as a design element - I want that area to stand out (that's why I also used a double batting!). Guess we need to put that information in our description of our quilts!

Leanne said...

I love all four of these quilts, and I would not call all of them traditional but the modern or "non-traditional" category is still developing most places. I am with you on the judging, and it is especially hard when the part that is seen to be negative was a deliberate design choice but that is no reason to change your great design choices. I am very happy you have a new guild.

Newbie Jen said...

Good for you, Jess! I am so glad you will have the group that you've been longing for.

I think you are completely prize-worthy, and I am surprised about the comment of leaving some parts unquilted. I like to do that too as a design choice. I am reminded about the judges comments from the first Quilt-Con, and how many of the judgments did not really conform to what Modern quilting seems to be about. Perhaps, judges, who I imagine need years of training to be qualified, are just not up to speed on the changing environment of the quilting community. Give it time, and persevere in your art - because it is awesome.

Willit Neverend said...

I think it's a great idea to have like-minded people to hang out with. Enjoy.

Sarah Fredette said...

Congratulations on starting your own guild!!! It's a lot of work (I started one in June), but it sounds like you have a lot of like minded people who will hopefully share the burden. :D It really is worth it (even if I'm just counting the 'free' lessons in patience!)