Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt Poynette, WI
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Not your Grandma’s quilts

Not your Grandma’s quilts
February 26, 2010 Mary Jo

Quilts have been an art form that have captured my imagination for years.  I was that girl in art school who was trying to do each and every assignment on fabric – printing, drawing, mixed media.  I wanted so badly to like quilts – they seemed a brilliant way to organize all of the fabric I was making marks on, the perfect vehicle to unite a collection of my pieces.  Quilts are loaded with such historical connection to the past, and so much commentary on domesticity that I found fascinating and wanted to explore.  But it was like trying to express myself in a language that didn’t have the words I needed to use; I couldn’t articulate my point of view.  I raided the library for inspiration. Old quilts, new quilts…they were all too quilty for my tastes.  Too precise and fussy.  Too busy with pattern.  Too much for me.  I carefully boxed up my notions of The Quilt and filed it away in the recesses of my mind.  Then came the quilts of Gees Bend and my mind exploded.  The color, the design, the asymmetry, the wonky lines….all spoke (loudly!) to my own design aesthetic.  I added this heaping-full file to my mind’s Quilt collection.

By this time I’d also filed away the notion of being An Artist.  I was slowly embracing Craft, joining a small army of like-minded young women who embodied the resurgence of Handmade.  Being “crafty” was a way for me to let out some of that pent up creative energy that hadn’t found an outlet under the auspices of Fine Art.  Slowly, piece by piece, I regained a familiarity with my sewing machine.  We moved.  I made things for the house.  I started that business, made more things.  I soon found friends who were also “crafty.”

And then I found this book. Denyse Schmidt Quilts.  And I realized for the first time, “Oh!  I DO like quilts!”  A lot.  And I know I was not alone in that sentiment.

I’ve been wanting to assemble some quilt designs for a long time now.  As I was choreographing and piecing together this quilt, it all finally came together.  What I really wanted to do was put together quilt kits, assembled from thrifted scraps and upcycled fabrics, blending together fabrics traditionally not used in quiltmaking in a visually stunning way.  Those women of Gees Bend had left quite a mark on me; those pieces of theirs that still remain etched in my memory were the ones that were pieced here and there from scraps of everyday fabric that had no further utility.  Blue jeans, clothing, linens.  They speak volumes, lend such depth, in a way fresh-off-the-bolt-fabric can’t.  And using fabric that formerly served as a shirt, pants, or blanket opens up the design possibilities infinitely.  Imagine the colors, the textures – and in a quilt, a medium you can wrap yourself in completely.

With that, I’d like to introduce a new concept in the world of Handmade:  one of a kind pre-cut quilt top kits.  They’re die-cut from all manner of upcycled fabrics, marrying colors and textures that rarely meet face to face.  With the preliminary design and cutting work out of the way, it allows you to mix and match the pieces to lay out your own blocks, piece them together, and whip out your very own lap-size quilt at breakneck speed.  Awesome, right? At this very moment, I’ve created two kits, each unique.  Many, many more will join them in the days and weeks to come, but each will be unique and will be sold as such – first come, first served.  They are being offered now as a preorder, delayed a few weeks by the arrival of my custom dies.  Subscribe to the RSS feed of my etsy shoppe and you can stay up-to-date on the latest additions available.

And I’m off to raid my stash.  De-lish.

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