Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Dumbing Down Theory

Dang.  I had no idea about this dumbing down thing on quilting that I've been reading on some blogs.

At the risk of being banned and beaten, I do think there is some dumbing down.  That doesn't mean quilters are dumb or lazy.  We are artistic.  We see color and design as an inspiration for our quilts.  We take risks and are constantly evolving in our skills.  We build each other up and inspire others with our talents.  We take every challenge and create works of art.  We are not dumb.  

The dumbing down is through the media via books, shows and magazines and even manufacturers.  Same style of books year after year, boring magazines with the same easy patterns, and same fabric lines just with a different name. Yawn and Zzzzzzz...

I don't want another book on 9-patches,  log cabins or machine quilting techniques that don't work or aren't advanced enough for me.  I understand that for new quilters, they are a treasure trove and I started with those same books as well.  But after being more advanced, there just isn't anything new out there.

Magazines carry the same patterns over and over with the same boring articles.  I want to puke over the ugly baby quilts.  Another 9-patch?  Come on now.  Another article on how to get an accurate 1/4 seam allowance?  You've interviewed lady X seven times now.

I don't have a problem with fabric tends.  What's old is new again.  If this year it's browns, I can work with that.  But if I see the same brown flower on every bolt I pick up in different lines, forget it.  My biggest issue with fabric is that most of it is in mediums.  That makes it very difficult if you need lights and darks.  I also hate fabric lines that have same print, different color.

TV shows/webinars are visual representations of those books and magazines.  What's worse is when they become an informercial on a specific brand of machine or tool.  I don't want be sold on anything.  I want information.

I would LOVE books on fabric history, design, how patterns evolve, the people/cultures surrounding those quilts.  I have a book called "Quilted Gardens: Floral Quilts of the 19th Century" that does just that.  It's one of my favorite books and I have it on my Kindle.  If there are more out there, they aren't in stores.

I hate feeling restrained and trapped by the quilting media out there.  There is more access to information than every before, but none of them use it.  

You as quilters are my true inspiration.  The creations you show online, your ideas, your love of quilting,  what you do with the fabric that I hate, the support you all give me when I'm feeling down make every book and magazine obsolete.  The internet transcends any physical media and brings us all together making us the smartest people out there.

That's my take on the "dumbing down" theory going around and I'm sticking to it.      

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I must say I totally agree. Couldn't have said it better myself!!

Linda

Linda said...

Those of us who WANT to be creative with our quilting are in the minority, unfortunately. I can't tell you how many times I'm told that someone can't make my pattern because they can't get that exact fabric! I think a lot of quilters are under the misconception that there is only one way to do things. Stepping out of the box is forbidden in their minds. I would hate quilting if that were the case! I think they are missing out on an extremely creative and fun artstyle.

Kathleen said...

Well said!!!

onlymehere said...

I haven't heard about this. Is someone saying quilters are dumb? I think these ladies are some of the smartest I know and I learn so much from seeing what others create and do with fabric, etc. Don't worry what others think, march to the beat of your own drum!

EileenKNY said...

Bethany,
I'm new to your blog and I love it! I agree with you 100% about the books, magazines, media, all of it. They're trying to fit us all into the same mold.
Thank goodness we're creative enough not to let them.

Anonymous said...

I guess I was aware of this "dumbing down" issue before it was discussed in the blog community, but I just figured there was sort of a dichotomy out there in the quilting world: traditional quilters and modern quilters. Modern quilting tends to use clean lines, showcase bold prints, etc. which may lend itself to a more contemporary look, and to me contemporary often means "less is more". So some modern designs are just simpler. Modern quilters often are attracted to specific FABRIC and not necessarily excited about challenging construction. Traditional quilters seem to care a lot more about mastering their craft, and gain a lot of self esteem when they master something they find challenging. Personally, I'm a beginner quilter, I appreciate the difficulty and dedication it takes to make a complicated quilt with tons of pieces, but I prefer simpler patterns in my home. Even if I could piece together some super-challenging block (which I probably won't be able to do for a long time), I wouldn't necessarily find it attractive. Also, seeing someone churn out lots of lovely "simple" quilts makes beginners feel empowered and not intimidated, so I don't see it as a bad thing, just a style preference. Sounds kinda like some people are jealous of the new trends in quilting....