Photograph of a colorful quilt

Learning to Quilt

I have surprisingly serious mixed feelings about this trend.

As a fashion enthusiast, I love a solid eco trend, especially as a take on fast and slow fashion. As a fashion enthusiast, I also know that this trend is fast-moving and will be as out as teddy bear coats in a couple of years.

As an art person, I have argued that art is subject to the forces of the world once the artist releases it, period. So if someone slices up an heirloom to look good for the ‘gram, or say, spray paints a monument, it is what it is.

But as someone who is learning how to quilt, and who already makes clothing by hand, it does make me cringe. And it’s frustrating to see how cavalier people can be about an entire skillcraft performed by generations of women around the world. I just ran across this beautiful quilted coat by Psychic Outlaw. And yes, it’s great, truly. But I can also say that the quilt it’s made from was hand sewn and probably took a year or more to make by hand using the English Paper Piecing technique. Knowing what it took to make and knowing it was remade into a microtrend that will be forgotten in a few seasons makes my hands hurt.

So, okay. New life for old projects is a good thing. And as a maker you have to be honest with yourself about how many of your deeply beloved projects are being gifted to people who aren’t that into them, destined to languish in a Goodwill, on a bullet train from Joann’s to the landfill. But it still catches my heart in my throat.

Lauren Bruce • December 1, 2020

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