A few days ago, the powers that be at The Modern Quilt Guild decided to school the troops about copyright and derivation and inspiration, and it's becoming a big mess as people are trying to decide whether to be insulted or pleased. I have many thoughts about the post, which are complicated and not amusing in the slightest, and which, frankly, bore me to tears just thinking about. So, I'm gonna just stay over here in my pillow bunker and do my thing and ignore the drama. But in case you missed it the first time, here is my ode to clubs, groups, cliques and movements:
I believe that we are on the verge of a new movement in quilting, a revolution in the way we think about and construct quilts, and this movement is growing, ready to burst forth and take over the quilting world. As a pioneer of this movement, I feel it is necessary to define what this movement is and place all kinds of legal restraints on the name of it so I can start suing anybody who tries to horn in on my completely new and original movement. I also plan to say ”movement” a lot.
I’m talking about, of course, Traditional neo retro post-industrialist modern punk quilting, or TNRPIMPQ for short.
TNRPIMPQ began in the streets of Hoboken and the backyard of a modest rancher in Tuscon. It was essentially a reaction to the reactions to modern quilting which all went, “So what? I’ve been making ‘wonky’ blocks ever since I had that unfortunate power drill injury back in ’92 but no one ever called my quilts a movement.” This made many quilters roll their eyes and reach for the tequila, but others responded by trying to get all academic and shit and this made the tequila drinking eye rollers huddle up in dark corners muttering about wanting to be left alone to quilt in peace.
These eye-rolling, tequila-drinking, huddle-muttering quilters began to slowly organize, though they were still considered an underground movement since none of them got quilts accepted into QuiltCon. And when I say, “organize,” what I mean is, “not give a good goddamn.” Several leaders in the movement briefly considered starting up, at the very least, a Facebook page where quilters could frankly not give a shit together, but then realized that someone would have to make up a rule or two and that this would quickly turn into fascism. The Facebook idea was scrapped, and while some members went back to bitching in private, others kept up a campaign of loud, vocal apathy.
Splinter groups quickly formed as some quilters professed a firm belief in “doing it right” and others espoused a more relaxed philosophy of “if it doesn’t fall apart when you breathe on it, it’s good.” This led to the Great Hissy Fit of 2013, but the many ruffled feathers were smoothed over when it became clear that even American Quilter magazine was being taken over by Kona solids.
Then, in 2014, as more people started to realize that arbitrary rules made up by a very small number of self-appointed people were extremely restrictive and that bitch-slapping each other over the internet about whose quilts followed those rules was rather childish, membership of TNRPIMPQ began to surge, except nobody actually knew they were a member because I hadn’t told them so yet. As of right now I am guessing there are at least 10 or 12 of us, and if that isn’t a movement, I don’t know what is.
In order for a quilt to fall under the aegis of the TNRPIMPQ movement, it must:
- be made of fabric
- and thread
- batting should maybe be in there somewhere too
- be your own design
- or someone else’s
- have a coherent composition
- or look like it came out of a meat grinder
- use lots of negative space
- or lots of positive space
- or no space whatsoever, if you can wrap your head around that
- be used on a bed
- or a couch
- or a dog crate liner
- or as a wall hanging
- or whatever the hell you goddamn want
- seriously, mop the floor with it if you want, it’s still a quilt
- be utterly free from any expectation or limitation except what you put on it yourself
And it must, without question, make YOU happy.
But if it also has an octopus on it, then it’s extra-TNRPIMPQ-y. Because I said so.