Journey of Quilting + life

Wednesday Words {history}

In a continuation of last week's Wednesday Words, I thought I would write a bit more about the history part of quilting. Several of the comments on that post really caused me to pause and think about how we, as today's quilters, present ourselves and our work.

Barbara Brackman is a well known quilt historian, designer, etc and has a blog that I have read off and on since I began quilting almost 5 years ago. The other day she posted about quilt bindings and how that was one way to determine what era the quilt was made in. I had no idea!

I love rounded quilt corners but it turns out that there's nothing modern about them. Rounded corners date back to the late 1800's.

The quilt-as-you-go method that was really popular in the past few years or so... it also dates back to the late 1800's.
Now I'm certainly not saying that quilters from our generation are intentionally ripping off old ideas because I don't believe that at all. I just find it interesting that what we sometimes see as new is actually nothing new at all.
In the past, I know that I've thought that I've designed a thoroughly modern and original block and/or quilt only to see it pop up in a historical quilt book or website. I still love the quilts I have made but I am beginning to wish that I had done a little more research to see how my quilt fits in with history. It's certainly not too late to do that and I plan on adding the historical element to my posts whenever I can.

Is it always possible to know that a design is actually and old one? Not always. But sometimes I think that we get so caught up in the must-have creativity of quilting that we forget that we probably weren't the first to come up with an idea. I think it would be interesting, instead of sweeping history under the rug in the name of originality, to do some research and share a little more about a quilt's historical design roots.
I also think it would be refreshing to read after all the copyright madness that has been swirling around as of late... it's kind of hard to bicker about the copyright of a design that is a hundred years old. ;)
There was a big push towards sharing the quilting process a few years ago and I think this history piece could also fit in well. I know it's awfully big picture but I think it would be sad to lose some of the history of our craft in the name of trying to be innovative and "first". Serious painters, musicians, authors, and even athletes are generally pretty well versed in their field's history so I don't see why quilting should be much different.

propeller block It still takes skill to refine a technique and then fit modern colors and fabrics into the traditional mold to make something aesthetically pleasing for today's modern eye. So why not be proud of that adaptation while helping to pass the history on?
It makes sense to me and it is something I'm going to focus on more as I continue making quilts and blogging about them.

Just something to ponder... :)

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Wednesday Words {history} + life