Living Life Gets Hard to Do*

In a different place today, in my head. Those late-night conversations I have while I’m trying to fall asleep don’t help. Last night was better, because I know I am just going to keep making art the way I do, drawing what I want (I can’t tell you how many people are demanding I do more penises now…and if they come up? That’s fine. Come up…heh heh heh…see, I AM a middle-school teacher. But I really am gonna just draw like I normally do, without all y’all watching over my shoulder), making the quilts that I want, trying to meet all my deadlines. That’s what I need to focus on. Not the crazy. Hear the good and ignore the bullshit that major companies make up to make themselves look better (by the way, AQS, it didn’t work. I still think you suck. And I’m not the only one. You didn’t count on some introverted antisocial quilter from East County being louder than you. Thank you, internet.).

Whatever. Actually, some part of me wants to enter every AQS show from now until I die, but I don’t have a lot of extra money and I don’t want any of it going to them. I’ve never entered an AQS show. I don’t plan to start now.

SAQA has contacted me, and they’ll release a statement soon. I think they really are trying to change some of the stuff that has not been great in the past. I think one of the best things about this was the people on the floor at Grand Rapids who took a picture of my quilt and were showing it to the viewers and telling them it was banned. That warms my heart.

Someone asked about my exhibition plan…and I always have one. I always enter some, like Art Quilt Elements (got into that this year), Quilt National, Visions (those are always long shots), Quilts=Art=Quilts. I don’t always get in. I look for the SAQA shows that are going to travel, especially the museum ones. I don’t even enter the regular IQF show. I can’t enter my local quilt show, because they have some clause about “family friendly” or whatever it is now. I don’t live in a particularly progressive county. We have a SAQA regional show in a local performing arts center, and it’s always a toss up as to whether I’ll have work that can show there…I didn’t this year. I don’t always plan to have a smaller no-naked quilt lying around. So none of this was expected. I live sort of on the edge of quilt world and art world.

I’m trying to get this next quilt done, despite all this and the stuff at school and dealing with the kids being gone and the herd of dogs I’m now managing. It’s a better place for my head than out in Wonder Land.

I finished laying out the last of the human figures, the biggest one, but also mostly hidden by the figures in front of it…which is an interesting concept in itself.

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This is what a piece of fabric looks like when I’ve tried to fit them all on there. This one will have a lot of little pieces left, but not a lot else. I should design a quilt with a lot of little people in it to use up all the little pieces of flesh color…

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I tend to use the same flesh colors over and over until there isn’t enough of it to use anymore. I have one flesh fabric that I bought yardage of way way way back, like when I started art quilting. Seriously, it’s in my first real art quilt, back in 1999 or so. But usually I only buy 1/2 yards, so there isn’t a lot of it if there are big flesh pieces in the quilt. It might not do more than two quilts or bodies.

But I still hadn’t done all the inner pieces, all the non-fleshy bits. It was a ton of pieces by then. An overwhelming pile.

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But I put a dent in it…an eyeball here, a lightning bolt there. Until I was too tired. About 2 1/2 hours last night, I think. I’m in the 1000s, but I still have a bunch of filler pieces to do. So I’m getting close to done. I don’t think I’ll finish tonight, but I might get close.

Here’s the box…glad I moved to the bigger one.

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Because it’s almost full…

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Kitten keeps adjusting music and video by lying on the keyboard.

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Apparently she doesn’t like Gillian Anderson’s British accent any more than I do.

OK. Artmaking in the brain. Because the rest is too much chaos, even for me. (That may include my job, for which I need to leave rather soon.)

*Maroon 5, Sunday Morning

4 thoughts on “Living Life Gets Hard to Do*

  1. Stand strong for your art! You have a wonderful voice and it needs to be heard. Art is not to be comfortable, complacent, and secure. I believe that if everyone was the same, our society would wither and die. Different voices need the freedom to express. While I am also an antisocial quilter, I am still a person interested in hearing your voice. Quilt On!


  2. “SAQA has contacted me, and they’ll release a statement soon. I think they really are trying to change some of the stuff that has not been great in the past.” After reading this earlier it caused me to think about the lack of response from SAQA. So here’s why some people would prefer I have no voice.

    Really- what’s taking them so long? What are they waiting for- the second coming? (please note: sarcastic biblical reference)

    SAQA mounts- what I’m assuming- was a juried show. SAQA then decides to contract with AQS to travel that show through the AQS network for greater visibility- even though SAQA has included nudity in its exhibit. Obviously- Studio Art QUILT Associates is still more connected to QUILTLAND (rather than ARTLAND) and thinks that people coming to an AQS (weekend?) event will enjoy seeing said SAQA exhibit. SAQA obviously doesn’t think the nudity in said exhibit is all that offensive. But lo and behold- somebody gets her knickers in a bunch and screams at the top of her lungs- PENIS! PENIS! And lo and behold- in rush the Penis Police- I mean Quilt Police- who immediately side with said bitcher and yank the hell out of an invisible penis. Have I got the picture (yes we see) correctly- so far? Me thinks so.

    So! Who is right? And who is wrong? Damn. That’s a HARD ONE. Censorship is wrong- but a (probably religious) quilt lady was offended and threatens to never again grace the gates of another AQS event. And lo and behold- she gets her petulant- immature- prudish attitude glorified in a self-righteous way. And AQS caves to the controversy (because we just can’t have anything controversial happen in QUILTLAND) and that’s that. Except…

    The INTERNET. So really SAQA. My final interaction with your group was pathetic. You- and your contracted show in an ART MUSEUM- had the (female) director using my work on her card without telling me- sending me 5 cards the week before Thanksgiving- then being unavailable until the day before Thanksgiving- while thinking it appropriate TO LEAVE MY (enter swear word here) NAME OFF THE CARD- with no time for me to have cards printed. Really. Not the real art world. A tremendous lost opportunity on my part. And only half the story…

    But back to the current bull! SAQA! You are in the middle of a Politically Incorrect MESS. Censorship. On your watch. By someone who should have no power or authority- but was able to shit her opinion and take you down. Are you ARTISTS- or not? Are you an ART group- or not? If not- it’s easy to see why its apparently your balls that have been chopped off.

    WHAT. ARE. YOU. WAITING. FOR??? The political wind to shift?
    Call a spade a spade. Deal with the consequences of somebody’s failed policy. Fix these politics. Never again back down to the Oppressor. Reevaluate your Relationships. Always challenge any authority that supports CENSORSHIP. And grow up.

    Or don’t. And just hope everybody continues to like you and that everything is just fine the way it is and that it will all turn out OK in the end and everybody can have fun and be happy!


  3. Wow! I too would never have found your site or seen your quilts without all this controversy. I just received an email from Saqa concerning the censorship and I needed to add my comments. I wonder what would happen if all of the other Saqa members involved decided to pull their quilts from the show in support. I know I wouldn’t want to be associated with a group who would bow to pressure and pull one of my fellow quilters’ pieces. Next time it could be mine.
    Artists have always stirred up controversy. This is the way we express ourselves – through our art. Could it be that art quilting is still associated with your grandmothers’ quilts? I am one grandmother and textile artist who believes we need to stand up to this kind of unbelievable censorship. Mythical penises, women’s issues, is this not 2016? it sounds like this is not going to stop you from doing what you do and I hope that all this publicity ends up giving you more positive exposure. Best of luck to you!


  4. If it’s any consolation at all, I found having a quilt banned was quite invigorating. It was like the worst had happened, no-one understood what I was trying to say, everyone hated it … so I felt I could do whatever I wanted. No more listening to that silly “what will people think” voice because, clearly, people are idiots. Or, more accurately, people in groups can act idiotically. I think your work is amazing.


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