My mother has made this beautiful and amazing quilt for me! Yes, you heard right and, yes, you should be jealous. She gifted me this quilt Mother's Day, 2009. And, it is still on tour. This past month, it has been competing at the Vermont Quilt Festival. This quilt, In My Garden, earned a Blue Ribbon and a special award, Best Hand Applique. You can view all the award winning quilts from VQF here.
This quilt is hand appliqued and quilted by hand. I am so lucky and so loved. But, something is bugging me and since I am not often afraid to share with you what is bugging me, I feel obligated to share this. This past spring, my mother taught classes at a sewing exposition. Part of the deal was booth space. We all worked together to make things look great.
Her patterns were lined up neatly along with a bowl of candy and a giveaway of a lovely needlepoint box crammed full with antique silk thread and a full set of my mother's Baltimore Album block patterns.
A few of her quilts were hung in the background. The redwork quilt is one of my favorites.
This sweet sunbonnet quilt is one of the classes she taught and one of the patterns she has designed and sells.
We hung her pattern samples.
One of my favorites.
So pretty in wool.
Everything looked beautiful. Mom worked hard to showcase her patterns and her work - which is amazing as I am sure you agree.
But, here is my gripe. Dad and I spent more than a few hours manning her booth while she was teaching. We were excited to do so, because we have never thought that mom has tried hard enough to sell herself. Oh, yes, she is in high demand as a teacher. She taught at Going to Pieces in Pleasanton, California for many years, and here at ThimbleCreek. These are two I remember most, but there were so many others and so many quilds she visited. She was thrilled to be a part of The Applique Academy, until good values and good sense told her it was time to move on to better things when the academy's focus became more about business than about preserving and sharing one of our most important traditions. She was heartbroken that this could happen. That the meaning behind the stitches could be lost to the almighty dollar. She moved on admirably and was invited here to teach with the best teachers from across the nation. I know she feels honored to be a part of Baltimore on the Prairie. I hope some of you can join her there. But, I digress - so often.
This beautiful wall quilt, Return to Baltimore, hand appliqued and hand quilted, hung to the right in Mom's booth. The applique stitches are completely invisible, the quilting stitches perfect, small and even. This small quilt is a hallmark of my mother's perfection in craft and life. It was in the view of most foot traffic at the show and caught many an eye. In fact, nearly everyone stopped to look at it. Wouldn't you?
As passersby slowed, took a piece of candy from the basket, admired the giveaway prize and signed up, they looked at the baskets stuffed with patterns, at her sample blocks and at this quilt. They commented that it was lovely, then looked a little closer. Suddenly, their contenance changed. It happened over and over again, nearly every person had the same reaction to the qult. Their noses lifted a little higher into the air. Their brows furrowed. Their mouths turned down. They uttered questions like: "This is done by hand?" "Is that pre-printed fabric?" "Who does handwork anymore?" "Why would anyone do that?" Then, there were other comments: "You have got to be kidding." "What a waste of time." "I don't have the patience for that." "I would never even think of quilting by hand." Since I am used to people admiring my mother's work, I was surprised, discouraged and overwhelmed by the negativity. The candy flowed out of the basket quickly, but it didn't sweeten up the crowd. Comments were discriminatory and prejudice. There was many a look of disdain. These people spoke of my mother's work as second class, substandard, and not good enough.
My mother is a craftswoman, the work is of her heart and of her hands.
I suppose it is difficult to understand from their point of view. I should be more understanding; after all, they are not quilters, their sewing machines are.