Thursday, August 4, 2016

quiltmakers, originality, inspiration and tradition

three original quilts, connected by inspiration and tradition
I love it when yesterday's quilts inspire today's quiltmakers. Earlier this year, I enjoyed pictures of a Double Wedding Ring quilt made by Tara Faughnan of Oakland, California. The quilt was a prizewinner in the Handwork category of QuiltCon 2016.

Tara Faughnan's prizewinning Double Wedding Ring quilt
photo: Tara Faughnan
I recognized the inspiration right away, and it made me happy. It was a pair of vibrant, vintage 1970s quilts made of polyester double knit.

1970s polyester quilt, collection of Roderick Kiracofe
photo: The Quilt Complex
One of the quilts was in the collection of Roderick Kiracofe, and the other was part of my collection. Both quilts came from an estate sale in Altadena, California, and both came to the quilt market through The Quilt Complex.

1970s polyester quilt, the Volckening Collection
Faughnan's quilt was a beautiful tribute, an eloquent study inspired by the two vintage quilts. Her quilt was the most visually well-balanced of the three, and she made thoughtful, effective choices in updating and resolving the design. It was today's quilt, made with yesterday's inspiration.

the vintage block was one large unit with a solid square anchoring the center
Faughnan used four smaller units with a four-patch connecting the center
Double Wedding Ring is a traditional design shared by thousands of quiltmakers for almost a century, but if the same pattern was given to 100 quiltmakers, the result would be 100 different quilts. That's the thing about quiltmaking. Inspiration is traditionally shared, but individual makers are always deeply present in their quilts.

Like many other aspects of quiltmaking, originality is often subtle, but it is there if you look closely enough. By putting their own spin on things, quiltmakers show what makes them unique. Thank you to Tara Faughnan and all quiltmakers who would never make the exact same quilt as the next maker.