//rant mode ON
On the Today show this morning they showed the winner of the $100,000 quilting challenge http://www.quiltingchallenge.com/ and now the quilt art list is full of posts by women who are aghast (AGHAST, I tell you!) at the fact that Al Roker had the absolute balls to TOUCH the quilt! How dare he! What was he thinking! And they shot the segment OUTSIDE! IN THE ACTUAL SUNLIGHT!!!! The fact that it was a white-on-white whole cloth quilt and was exposed for a short period of time apparently escaped them. And the fact that quilts were originally MADE to be touched. And the fact that it's a cotton quilt with no doodads. And the fact that Al probably washed his hands at some point this morning. And the fact that it's a quilt, people! We wash them. We sleep under them. We fold them up. We toss them in the trunk. We even (GASP) throw them down on the ground and eat on them! I have a ratty ass quilt on my bed that's at least 50 years old and has had NO special handling. I don't doubt that the eventual owner of the winning quilt will display it lovingly and take care with it, but why in the world are these women sending emails berating the Today show for handling a quilt exactly the same way they were originally intended to be handled? If it isn't meant to be tactile, paint it on wood. If you make it out of fabric and then add texture to it with the quilting and put the batting in to make it soft why in the HELL would you NOT want people to touch it? Comparing it to a "work of art" and Picassos at the MoMA and telling them what idiots they are for displaying it to the public does nothing but make quilters come off looking like a bunch of elitist old ladies who probably use antimacassars on their sofas/couches/davenports/divans and use plastic runners on their carpets too. If it's so delicate it can't withstand being shown on national television she needs to use a better quality fabric. Besides that, comparing handling a quilt to handling a painting makes no more sense than comparing handling a painting to handling a sculpture. Different media require different handling.
Get off your high horses and admit that this may be a beautiful, breathtaking quilt, but I simply don't see it as a work of art on the same level as a Monet.
And don't even get me started on the women who obsess over the 100-year archival quality of fabrics and materials. I want ALL the love and softness and use in my quilts used up by the time their 100 year birthday rolls around.
//rant mode OFF
We're defeating one of the defining elements of quilting if we take away the comforting, tactile aspect of it. If we lose (or drive people away from) the warmandfuzzies of quilts, we're creating something different and just calling it a quilt. I, for one, would hate to see that happen.