Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tell Them What You Think

Don't mess with Aunt Bee, and don't mess with quilters!
This blog post is a little unusual, because I'm unhappy about something. It takes a lot to make me feel this way about anything.

Today I discovered a link to an opinion piece published by the Times Free Press of Chattanooga, Tennessee last week. The piece is criticizing the funding of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in the piece, the unnamed author calls quilts irrelevant.



Sue Reich had posted the link on her Facebook wall for all to see, along with the comment, "Quilts are historically the legacy of women. This guy just doesn't get it." She's right.

Here is a link to the article:

Here's the opening paragraph:

A quilt museum may seem like an ideal summer vacation destination for the Waltons, Aunt Bee or Ma Ingalls, but quilting fails to hold the interest of most Americans today. Since department stores carry a wide selection of affordable bedding, and special memories can be recorded by photographs and videos rather than by laboring over scraps of cloth, quilts have become largely irrelevant in modern culture.

When I read it, my blood pressure spiked, and I immediately tried to post a comment. Since their comments section wasn't functioning properly for me, I took to Twitter, and posted this message to their Facebook page:

SHAME ON YOU for publishing that horribly misinformed opinion piece about the quilt museum in Nebraska. SHAME!! Quilts are more vital today than they ever were. There are more the TWENTY MILLION quiltmakers in America today and it is a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. Quilts are one of the oldest unbroken traditions in women's artistic expression in America. And your opinion writer is calling it irrelevant? I am absolutely horrified that your publication could be so irresponsible to publish something like that. And how tragic for it to come from a state, Tennessee, that has one of the most extraordinary traditions of quiltmaking. I'm telling all my friends, and I think you'll be hearing from us.

So, I am asking you, my friends and readers of this blog, to let the Times Free Press of Chattanooga, Tennessee, know how you feel about this opinion piece. I realize it's the day before Thanksgiving and we've all got a lot to do, but it's not a lot to ask and I don't ask for things from you often. If you can't get to it today, put it on your to-do list for after the holiday. We need to let them know that quilts are highly relevant, and the newspaper has an obligation to its readers to publish responsible opinions.

To read the opinion and post comments, click here.
To post comments to their Twitter page, click here.
To post comments to their Facebook page, click here.

Thank you all, and when you're giving thanks around the Thanksgiving dinner table tomorrow, I hope you will express your appreciation and love for quilts and quiltmakers.


  1. Perhaps they should attend a quilt show. For here in New York, quilt shows are plentiful, and are very well attended by the Waltons, the Aunt Bees, the Ingalls and every other creative soul who has an ounce of compassion. It is the quilters of this world who have learned a timeless craft that will live on past the generations of the latest technology. I am not a quilter myself, but the treasure I have hanging in my kitchen, torn and tattered has a story to tell with the fabrics it is made from. For they tell of old shirts worn thin, and sheets that have been torn, dresses that no longer fit. This gem hangs next to a brand new quilt made for my 3rd child when she was born embroidered with her name and special date. The quilt on my bed, The Double Wedding Ring beauty given to us by a friend when she retired and sold her antique business, remains a favorite for she has since passed away. Each of our 3 children has a special quilt of their own, with very special sentiments attached simply by the maker and the giver. They each have a Christmas stocking made from the remnants of a quilt my own mother made a zillion years ago. Yes, quilts are the fabric of a wholesome existence. I have no intention of reading the opinion you mention above. I love quilts, and sadly the writer of the piece has obviously never been on the receiving end of such a wonderful work of art. Art from the soul. "Blessed are the piecemakers...for they shall inherit the quilts."

  2. I had to look up boondoggle, never heard of that. I will keep my opinions to myself , he is a blank... uneducated. I will post this everywhere I visit on line and tell my friends. On my bucket list is a trip to this museum and the University of Michigan and the DAR in Washington DC to see all the quilts! Shame on this man.

  3. After hearing from members of the quilt community during the last 24 hours, I'm sure the Chattanooga Times Free Press will never diss quilts and quiltmakers again.

  4. Thanks for bringing that article to my (and everyone else's) attention.
    But yes the first things attacked when there is tax money to be spent are art, culture and education. IT's a sad statement for humanity, but sadly holds true in almst every country int he world...

  5. A few books to read:
    Passing on the comfort by Lynn Kaplanian-Bueller and Ann Keuning-Tichelaar, showing the importance of quilts in the Dutch resistance during WW2. Without quilts there would not have been warmth to so many in peril.
    History of Dutch Quilts by Ann Moonen, tracking down the roots of quilting back to Roman and Etruscian times. American quilting is heir to the Roman Empire! Do you realize that?
    History further tells that quilts were among the main belongings of fugitives from Europe to the America's, along with their dreams and hopes.
    And the elephant over here still recalls the donation of quilts during all major disasters in the last decades, from floods, hurricanes to tsunami's....
    The money for ONE stealth airplane will do to maintain a hundred museums for more than a lifetime, and what use do we have from this single airplane when people come to their senses and stop killing each other?
    We don't opiniate, we know. Life is more precious than any tax payment can cover, quilters and their quilts cherish life. Not greed over their own or other people's purses....
    Love from Amsterdam, Netherlands