This Blog post is going to be the sound of me begging anyone 35 and under to take up textile arts and if you have already done so to really research the options and ideas out there for expanding your interest in it! Pleeeeeeease.
Day 2 is now completed on my trip to Quilt Canada. What I can report: Grey hair EVERYWHERE! This is normal for Quilt Canada but I am really noticing it this year and it has me concerned. For real! I have a real respect for the older quilters as huge leaps and bounds have been within quilting in the past even 10 years thanks to people pushing this area of art and design BUT I am worried about the future. Maybe not full on worried but at least somewhat concerned for sure. We need more younger quilters and not just those who take a beginner class and never go back but younger quilters with a real interest in the history, techniques, travel and organization of quilting. I honestly believe that every individual has a creative side to them and one's approach to quilting/textile arts should be no different than those exploring photography, watercolours, pottery, oils, dance, etc. And the more and more I indulge myself into the yoga the more I see our wellness activities intertwining into art and creativity.So come on people!!!!!
I began quilting in about 1999 through my godmother. I was someone with very little patience and I needed to correct this AND I had a good, solid background in art and design (Thanks to Betty Wilcox the art teacher at Sir John Franklin high School in Yellowknife!). What other high school art program do you know of that has regular art history lectures; no different than those at universities?!?! I taught myself to quilt with one simple book which was a Double Irish Chain pattern. At that time even, the variety of fabric was VERY limited. I remembered I used only 3 fabrics and all the quilting was done with clear acrylic thread. We all know now that this is awful thread to use, even for a small amount of quilting. From there I started building a fabric stash and colelcting quilting magazines. I still think magazines are the best resource for learning about design and colour in textile arts. I started going to classes once I connected with the Yellowknife quilters and the rest is history.
With 3 others I started the Inuvik Quilting Guild in 2006 and became the NWT Rep on the Canadian Quilters Association in 2011. I have worked with some of the best teachers in North America and know my bucket list of activities and classes that I still wish to teach. I am proud to say that our Guild is one of the youngest (participant wise) in Canada but I think that has to do not only with promotion and welcoming young members but also with our town's demographics in general. I encourage other Guilds to follow this lead.
Yes, I don't always admit to people right away that I quilt (or that I am off to Quilt Canada) and I really wish I did this more freely. There is a lot to say about promoting those things that we love.
So for now I encourage everyone 35 and younger to tag along with an Aunt, your mother or you Godmother and discover the world of quilting and textile arts.... but use your own young eyes to see things through your own perspective and to leave judgement at the door. It is time we start moving this artwork into our own Generation Y.
Think... next year Quilt British Columbia is in Pentiction, BC... we could quilting by day and drinking beer and houseboating by night!!! Yes, this could be the new reality of Quilt Canada and textile arts.
Photos to come in the next post!