I must start by saying I have a terrible cold. I really can’t believe it. I have not been sick since I started writing this blog (more than TWO years ago), and it just doesn’t seem right that I should be sick now, but there you have it.
I plan to spend hours dissecting the quilts of the show, but being under the weather and all, I am going to take an easy route today and share something special and hopefully easy on the eyes.
Bill Volckening gave two talks and one tour about his quilt collection during the 2015 QuiltCon. I attended both lectures.
The first lecture “Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s with Bill Volckening” was a wonderful look at some new additions to his collection of 250 plus quilts.
Like Bill, I am a child of the 1970s, and I clearly remember celebrating the Bicentennial, flower power, and the Brady Bunch.
I get it and know that it is truly a part of my quilting aesthetic, so it was great fun to see Bill share his collection.
The second lecture Masterpiece Theatre: Modernism in American Patchwork with Bill Volckening encompassed the whole of his collection which begins circa 1860 and continues on into the present. (NOTE- As Bill mentions in the comments on this post, his collection actually BEGINS in 1760. WOW.)
I’d grown up seeing quilts like these and to now see them hanging in an exhibit strangely brings all sorts of things full circle.
Those of us who know double knit polyester first hand have got to have conflicted feeling about the fiber.
Yes, fire is the only thing that will destroy it.
But it does not breathe.
It has always felt like a bit of a con to me.
And perhaps that makes sense.
The 1970s were certainly a decade lived under the influence of war, political confusion, drug usage–basically a hang over from the 1960s.
And what fiber could say that better than polyester?
Polyester looks good after being washed, but it never ever really feels good to touch no matter what.
That’s the double edged sword of polyester.
And having been there as a child it is wildly nostalgic for me. Who in their right mind would dedicated time to making a bedquilt out of double knit polyester?
Well, someone who thinks a pop T.V. band like The Partridge Family should have a number one record that’s who.
It goes like that in the seventies.
Of course, all of this had me thinking about what will quilt historians think of minimalism and negative space and the modern quilt movement? This is a double wedding ring of the 1970s.
And these are the double wedding rings of today. We see ourselves as original. And we are in our time in our place.
But we are also products of our environment.
No polyester–but loads and loads of quality quilter’s cottons in every color imaginable. Will this treasure–this over abundance–weigh heavy on our work? Will the consumerism of our times be reflected in our art?
I hope I am around to see that retrospective.