Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Form vs function

At the end of last week I posted a photo of my quilt based on a New York City fabric.  The response has been positive but a number of people have assumed it was a completed top.  I can see why they think this too, and if I were making it just for fun, I might well leave it here.  In fact, I will have to find a way to make it bigger, as it is currently under 3' square and is a gift for my oldest son, who will be very pleased with something warm to throw on his bed, but would be pretty underwhelmed by something that he had to hang on his wall or drape artfully somewhere.  I know this for a fact as I once bought him a very cool framed movie poster, which his brother reliably tells me lives on his bedroom floor!

This has got me thinking a little more widely about the question of form versus function, and led me back to the well known quote from William Morris "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".  Perhaps my take on this will change over time, but I realise that at the moment I am much more comfortable making a quilt that will have a use, ie one which is large enough for a bed, or to snuggle under on a sofa.  I often admire other people's wall quilts and mini quilts, but without making a clear decision have never made anything in either category.

Maybe this is just because I am often cold and like the idea of a good blanket (I have a whole pinterest board devoted to the subject); maybe it's a Protestant work ethic thing: ie the expense, and time taken are justified by the fact that they result in a functional object .  I don't really know, but now that I've thought about it I shall go on musing and see if I can understand it better.  In the meantime I have to find a way to expand this quilt!



9 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about being focusing on creating usable quilts. I had no idea the quilt was under 3' square when you posted about it last week. Do you think you will continue to add red borders as you expand the quilt or will you wait and see how the new piecing comes together first before deciding?

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  2. I get what you mean by making all your quilts useful. I'm always trying to find ways to make sure my quilts are at least large enough to snuggle up with on the couch. If I can make them bigger, then I'll make them as large as the design allows for.:) I do finally have a couple table runners to brighten up my house, but it's been a long time coming!

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  3. It took me years to finally make an art quilt meant to be nothing except art. But I've been at this crazy game for almost 40 years (oh my! that sounds really old). Anyway, I get it, too. I agree that making a quilt for an adult son needs to focus on function and be very usable (ie. sturdy) because even adult sons seem to think that anything mamma makes will be able to last forever. Therefore, it can find itself trampled on the floor. My daughters-in-law all tell me that they do occasionally have to pick up a quilt from the floor, and that's not just because there are children in the house. {frowning and shaking head}

    Your quilt is coming along beautifully.....you just have to keep adding. I suggest you check your resources and purchase more fabric long before you run out. That way if you do run out and can't find an exact match, you can blend the new fabrics in as you phase the old ones out.

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  4. I, too am a useful quilt maker. Making something just to hang does appeal to me and I like seeing the work of others. But Useful quilts are what I do! Knowing your creative mind.... You will work out just how to expand upon this piece to make it the desired size. Looking good!

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  5. The red border looks good, are you planning to add more red borders as you build it out? Useable quilts have a higher priority in my workshop too. I have a tree skirt and some table runners that I want to make, but they keep ending up in the queue behind another bed quilt! Someday! ;)

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  6. I didn't see your previous post about this piece, but I really enjoyed reading this one. This quilt would certainly have been beautiful on a wall, with so many things to look at. But I also think that it will be gorgeous on a bed. The mix of fabric is perfect for boys/men. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

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  7. I don't mind a quilt meant just to hang if I know someone will hang it. If in doubt, I make 40 x 60 which can go either way.

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  8. I generally prefer larger pieces- for snuggling under- but I do love a pieced just created to be beautiful... That can be enough for me. Meanwhile, I love this project for you son.

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  9. I love the way you're building this Kaja, so organically. I know what you mean about the Protestant work ethic - yes, spending a fortune always seems more justifiable if you can sneak in a use for it too! However, I have another issue with making art quilts (and so many of them are emphatically not art, ugh): I can just draw or paint something if I want to fill a space on the wall, so for me to do that with a quilt it has to actually 'mean' something - it would have to be relevant to the artwork to make it in cloth, not just because it would be 'pretty' to look at. I'm beginning to experiment a little with that - but there's a long way for me to go!

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