Friday, October 05, 2007

Putting It All Together

"I think the most difficult part of managing the quilted line is to control it and make it a part of a bigger whole. Like any other art form, it may be easy to master different segments of the craft, but difficult to put it together into a cohesive statement."

I pulled the above gem out of this post about The Quilted Line. To me, this sums up the difficulties every quilter faces when expressing an idea in a quilt. It is part of my frustration at times. We need to know how to do so many different things well in order to complete a quilt. Choosing the thread and design of the quilting can be particularly difficult. There may be more than one good solution. Get one thing wrong, and it may destroy the impact of the whole thing. Let the quilting take a leading role when it would be better left subordinate, and it may detract the eye from the real focus of the design. It goes on and on.

Some people opt to hand off certain tasks to someone with greater expertise, or at the very least, a greater love for doing that particular task. I find that difficult to do. I feel some sort of obligation, I suppose, that every part of the process be completed by me and only me. Anything else would be like false advertising or cheating. I don't know where this attitude came from. Certainly not from the history of traditional quilting where there is ample evidence of collaboration in all phases of making a quilt. But there you have it: I feel guilty even thinking about passing off my work to someone else to complete.

I realize there is an exception to that. I often ask for input from others during the design process. Sometimes it's just to confirm what I already know; other times I'm stuck and really looking for ideas to jog me loose. The quilt shown in Pam's post is just that sort of a "collaboration." I suppose that doesn't bother me as much as say, letting someone else actually quilt a piece of mine. I guess I think I'm still in control, still making the final decisions, still doing the actual work even though I'm open to suggestions from others.

The more I think about this, the more I have to admit life itself is a collaboration. So should it be so surprising that working on our art would not also show signs of collaboration? It's impossible to work in vacuum, that's for sure.


Feather on a Wire said...

I share the need to complete the process myself. I have it worse than you, I feel if I let someone in at the design stage, it also would stop it being 'mine'.
Having said that, I've got to the point where the design is almost 'all' and the piecing, quilting and appliqué has become work. But can I let that bit go? Not yet but maybe one day.....

PaMdora said...

Thanks for the confirmation! I'm glad some of my late night writing makes sense!

The Wittering Rainbow said...

Interesting post and as I'm in the middle of trying to decide how to quilt a piece I'm working on, very timely! I think because you (we) appreciate the extra dimension that quilting can add to a piece and how vital this can be to the finished statement, it seems impossible to hand this over to someone else - how can they get inside your mind and create something which is right for you? I suppose you could design the quilting and pay someone else to do it exactly to your specifications, but I for one, couldn't afford to do that! Boring though I sometimes find the process of machine quilting I can't quite hand it over because it often develops as I go along.