Welcome to Improv Mondays, a weekly series exploring improvisation in quilt making. The topic of rules is HUGE. Traditional sewing epitomizes feminine obedience. When I was growing up, home economic was required and there were rules that had to be followed. As quilt makers we face sewing rules, pressing rules, rules of technique, design rules, color rules, the rules of improv, internalized & socialized rules, rules on how to use our tools... in other words RULES RULE!
As modern quilters we are ready to redefine the role of rules in our work. So let's break it down and start. List THE RULES you hate, you love, you ignore, or can't avoid, that block you, release you, or drive you crazy.
- Do I care which direction my seams are pressed? NO!
- Do my quilts have to hang flat? YES!
- Adding neutrals will pop the bright colors. I'm afraid to let go of that one.
- Avoid inset seams. I give this one to students all the time but I break it frequently.
I came across this wonderful post by Sujata Shah @ the Root Connection describing her personal navigation through the huge sea of rules she faced as a quilt maker and a creative human being. The image above is a detail of Sujata's quilt.
It occurs to me that writing a "rules memoir", putting my list of rules into a personal historical context, is a good next step for negotiating the rules that I quilt by.
What are the highlights, bottoms, and turning points of my development as a quilt maker? What rules do I follow? Where and how did I learn them? When do I break them? Discard them? Keep them? Reinvent them? What are the consequences? Where is it all leading?
This week I will write my memoir of rules. This isn't going to be easy, but I challenge you to do the same. If you have a blog I encourage you to post your rules memoir and we can share links next week.