Monday, September 17, 2018

What is Wonky?

Several years ago, I gained a new appreciation for the word wonky at a quilt guild meeting in Portland, Oregon. Of course, I'd heard the word before, but not in that way.

Someone said, "It's wonky!" referring to a quilt she made, and there was a small eruption of laughter. An error in geometry caused something to look askew. However, by calling it "wonky" she owned it and got everyone else to see the humor in it.

The word wonky seemed to have layers of meaning among quiltmakers, and there was onomatopoeia in the way they said it, with special emphasis on wonk. 

They could use the word to laugh at themselves, or give themselves permission to make an error and own it. They could use it to embrace accidents, both happy and unhappy.

From that point forward, I loved the word wonky and associated it with quilts. Most of the antique and vintage quilts I collect have something wonky about them, even if things look right from a distance.

Some of my favorite quilts are wonky. They have those human elements that say, "this quilt was made by hand, and it may not be perfect, but who is perfect?"

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit to admit it is one of my favorite words. I probably use it a bit too much.