Episode 156: We’re Famous!

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Let’s start with some Mosaic pix!

The front, so far:



And the back, which is looking sort of busy …


Okay, stuff I’ve picked up around the interwebs this week:

Article on quilter Joe Cunningham in American Craft


The article begins,

“When Joe Cunningham saw Robert Rauschenberg’s 1955 Bed at the Museum of Modern Art last year, the piece irked him. Rauschenberg had taken an old pillow, sheet, and log cabin quilt, affixed them to wood as if they were a canvas, and splashed paint on them. The accompanying label explained that Rauschenberg was combining abstract painting with everyday found objects. “The quilt being treated as just a humble domestic object bothered me,” Cunningham recalls. “The quilt is a work of art. It burns my ass that something useful can’t be ‘art.’”

In response, Cunningham began cutting up paintings and sewing them into a quilt.”

You can see a video about Robert Rauschenberg’s sculpture, “Bed” here:


 Also from American Craft, an interview with Denyse Schmidt:


More on Joe Cunningham–here is a recent and very interesting post from his blog worth pondering:


Interesting article on why we love beautiful things:


 The Gee’s Bend documentary:


Interested in cool documentaries in general? I recommend you sign up for Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/

15 Replies to “Episode 156: We’re Famous!”

  1. How is EQ going? Meant to comment last week and tell you that everything you need to know is in the manual and help files, but there’s TONS of help on the web – along with free downloads of patterns and fabrics on the Electric Quilt website. I teach EQ7 to a guild locally and have actually learned some things while teaching them!

  2. Hi Francis,
    Just popping in to comment on an episode I haven’t listened to yet. I knew you’d appreciate it. I’m still on the long episode. My thoughts on EQ – great program but you have to frequently use it or you forget how to do things. Or at least I do. I’m also trying to get hooked into Twitter and found someone hacked into my old, inactive account and I can’t seem to fix it. So I created a new identity. Not that you’d really care but I have to come up with some comment since I haven’t listened to the episode yet. Ok, back to the past to keep listening to the long episode. Thanks for taking the time to keep us all entertained.

  3. So, I listened to your last couple of podcasts weeks later, but I am catching up! I did want to comment on Why Quilts Matter (which I haven’t seen). I think if they are talking to dealers and appraisers they are using “value” and “worth” interchangeably (is that even a word? I probably spelled it wrong.) Anyway, selling quilts means setting a dollar value based on what they think someone will pay. We, as quilters, don’t judge our quilts that way. Their worth is based on a different metric.

    Plus, when you mentioned the quote about the quilts acting as an outlet for women’s political activism, I really think that applied more to when women didn’t vote, or felt they had no real say in politics (probably up to the 1950s.) If you think about the way we are now, we don’t need to get our ideas across in coded messages.

    It also sounds like WQM was written and recorded before the Modern Quilting movement gained much traction and a way of showing the financial impact on Quilting in general (’cause the documentary seemed to be all about the money from what I heard.)

    Last thing before I continue on with your podcast… I have also been looking for a while for some information on how to approach designing the actual quilting of my tops as well. The first book that really addressed this for me was “Quilting Makes the Quilt” by Lee Cleeland. She took several identical quilts and quilted them in several different ways showing how you could look at the quilt either as an overall thing or as separate pieces (blocks, borders, etc.) I found it quite interesting. It’s an older book so you might be able to get it through interlibrary loan (or used on Amazon.)

    Oops, sorry way too long.


  4. Hi Francis, I really enjoy your podcasts. love the quilting on the front and the back of Mosaic. the thought of Joe Cunningham cutting up paintings to put into a quilt makes me smile and proud to be a quilter.

  5. I caught up on your podcasts this past week and needed to comment on a few. One, I am Jackie (from sewexcitedquilts.com and sewexcitedquilt (Twitter) of the J Berdych comment that you wondered what the “J” was. 🙂

    Your one episode that you talked about the resurgence of quilting in the 70’s. I am that woman. I taught myself to sew at 10 and I was a garment and craft sewer. I saw a quilt in a women’s magazine and wanted to make one. I didn’t buy the magazine (days of no $$) but wish I had. It took me a while to find it at the library (didn’t know what I was looking for). The pattern was a log cabin and while I didn’t do a lot of quilting then (young children, no money) I was hooked. That was an interesting observations you made. I would be decades before I would pick up the quilting bug, but I’ve been bit.

    Thanks for the review on Why Quilts Matter. How disappointing.


  6. Oh my goodness, Frances. You have hit this podcast OUT of the park. Your discussion on “Why Quilts Matter” was so clearly articulated and you made so many incredible points. Those folks missed an opportunity. They should have hired you as producer in which case they would have had a wonderful piece of quilt documentary.

    Also, the mental image I now have in my head of the entire country of quilt livers airing out their quilts on a warm and slightly breezy day in April (April in my mind) has me in such a great mood. Barn quilts has become a national thing so I see no reason why a National Quilt Airing Day can’t be next. Lets make it happen.

    Now off to run to work. Literally. You run while working, I run TO work. Sew happy!

  7. Hi Frances,
    On a mission – marathon France pod listening!
    1. I have written about Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. You might look at this series of posts about their design as an addition to your Craftsy class: http://www.artquiltmaker.com/blog/2013/08/bill-kerr-workshop/
    2. Again, I say check out American Made Brands solids. I don’t like Moda fabrics, because they fray like crazy. I don’t think I have tried the Bella solids. I have to admit, though, I can’t help buying Moda prints because of the great designs. Still, I think they fray like crazy and they make a big mess. I don’t need help with that.
    3. If you are going to buy solids online, get color cards. They will be well worth the price.
    4. Here is why I think Quilts Matter: a) the industry that grew up around a woman’s craft/art; b) the whole industry gave women opportunities. Yes, men, too, but they have come later. Women have been able to do things like write books, build businesses around their families and be successful; c) the technology used to learn and grow within quiltmaking has helped to teach people. Older ladies are listening to podcasts and taking Craftsy classes on their iPads. I think that quiltmaking has encouraged them and made them want to do these things. At the same time, some of the traditional activities have not been lost. There are still guild meetings and workshops. There are also new activities like QuiltCon and quilt cruises. All of this equals opportunity for women and that is why I think quilts matter.
    5. I appreciated your rant. I couldn’t watch the whole 9 episodes, because I thought the show was bad in the same ways you did. I applaud you for plowing through it. There was such potential and it was such a shame that it didn’t live up to the potential.

    More later.

  8. Hello Frances,
    I want to thank you for saying things the way you see them, and not worrying about what the politically-correct/quilt police will think. You are always polite – never rude, but saying what I think many people feel. I was listening to your comments about the Gees Bend quilts. I agree wholeheartedly. I think they are very interesting, and some I really like too. Some, I don’t. I don’t like every book I read, or every style of painting I see, why should I fall down in ecstasy for every quilt I see? I can appreciate the technique, the style, the effort etc. without it fitting into my aesthetic. You commented on something a few episodes ago (which I would remember except that I don’t have a memory longer than 10 seconds) and I said “hear, hear” to that one too.

    As for your comment about your quilting on the Mosaic quilt and being a perfectionist – I’m right there with you too. I think you are doing a fabulous job. And I’m glad you are saying it isn’t perfect and that’s OK. None of my quilts will ever win any kind of competition. But they make me happy. And they make my muggles happy. And as your good friend Annie (Annie Smith to us) says, they are all just a practice for the next ones. Love that quote. I sometimes imagine what comments would be made about my machine quilting or un-square bindings and borders if I took my quilts to a show. But then, I decide I’m doing this for me. And I’d much rather have a finished quilt and the hugs from my muggles than spend my time stressing out over uneven stitches and wonky corners.

    Take care,

  9. I’m so so late in commenting after you just said how realiable I was. I took the Weeks Ringle class on Craftsy and also thought it was great. Weeks is coming to our guild to do a lecture and two workshops in April. I’m very excited.

  10. I am jealous that Debbie is getting to take an in person class with Weeks Ringle! I think she and her husband are some of the smartest people in quiltmaking.

    I am finally finishing listening to episode 156. I listened to the audiobook version of Outlander because of Daisy and my SIL in between when I started listening to this podcast and now.

    You said (paraphrasing) that people aren’t required to be interested in quilt history and I agree. I do think that all quiltmakers need to respect quilt history and accept that there is quilt history. One thing that really bugs me is that quiltmakers ‘make up’ blocks and don’t do any research into whether or not that is a historic block. Something like checking to see if a block has been done should be considered good practice. They can certainly rename it, but they should say something like “this is a block that came to me and after doing a bit of research, I found that mine is a slight variation from XYZ quilt pattern from so and so published in 193X” The historian in me cringes when I see poor practices like the above.

    We have a manmade counter top. It is not laminate. It is called Cambria and came from someplace like Lowe’s or Home Depot. I have been very happy with it. I especially like it, because I can set hot (straight from the stove) down on it. I try not to, but sometimes I need to. Check it out before you get the laminate, if it is not already too late. 😉

  11. I wanted to ask you, why are you renovating your kitchen now when you know you will do it 5 years later?
    I don’t know in which episode you mentioned about the 2 Craftsy classes you got for Christmas, but the one without demonstrating the basting intrigues me. You might be an enabler, congratulations! Also congrats to making it into Gen-Q magazine’s podcast list, way to go! :)))

  12. Since the makers of Why Quilts Matter failed to truly answer their own question, I say why doesn’t the quilting community do it for them. Collect statements from regular people explaining why they feel quilts matter, combine them with a historical perspective and present it as a panel discussion between all of you wonderful quilty podcasters. Or as a series of discussions spread across the podcasts. I would love to hear your version!

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