Those of you who are fans of mine on Facebook saw an entry early on Friday morning saying that I was off to have breakfast with a Legend. I can tell you know the details of that breakfast, the Legend...and the other wonderful Legends-in-waiting that I met.
I was priveleged to attend a very interesting panel discussion, entitled "Quilting with a Crystal Ball: The Future of Our Craft", which was hosted by the Lowell Quit Festival in Lowell, Mass. The panel cut across the creative spectrum and was (IMO) very well balanced. Kudos to the Museum and Festival Staff for putting something so cutting edge. The panel was comprised of Pam Weeks, Curator of the NEQM who served as moderator; Marianne Fons, host of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting on PBS stations nationwide; Mary Fons, co-host of this season's LOQ and the host of online website "Hey Quilty"; Martha Sielman, the Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Association; Laurie Matthews, the President of the Boston Modern Quilting Guild, and Rachel May, Vice-President of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.
The panel, which took the form of an informal conversation with the audience, started with the findings of the most recent Quilting in America survey from 2010, which indicated that the average quilter is aging slightly. It's a sure bet that with such a cross section of quilting styles represented, there was plenty of room for debate. The average age for the Boston Modern Quilting Guild is in their early thirties - a dramatic shift away from the official results.
The conversation covered a broad range of topics, and there were points of agreement (the role of community that quilters usually fnd with one another) as well as points of disagreement amongs the panelists and the audience.
Marianne Fons (above, with me) made the point that having come from a place where there wasn't a lot of fabric available for use, it's important that we buy it now and use it...there is the possibility that if we don't use it, we won't have it to use because the manufacturers will move onto something else. But her best line of the morning was the point she made about the stereotypes (and haven't we all heard it - I remember my grandmother quilting!)...even Librarians are sexier than quilters. It's up to the next generation of quilters to change that.
Speaking of Legends in waiting - pictured (L-R) here are Mary Fons, Rachel May and Laurie Matthews - responding to a point made as part of the panel discussion.
This morning's lecture was my first introduction to the Modern Quilting movement per se, and I learned a lot about where they fit into the story of the current generation of quilters.
Thank you, New England Quilt Museum for bringing this panel discussion to life.