Thursday, May 05, 2005

Best Laid Plans

Wednesday was the regional SAQA meeting. It was held down at New Pieces in Berkeley. A wonderful shop with the most bubbly owner I've ever known. I love Sharona. We sat in the shop gallery surrounded by quilts by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran.

The shop is about 20 minutes from my home in good traffic, but that stretch of I-80 is the worse stretch of commute traffic in the bay area. In really bad traffic it can take me 1.5 hours to travel these 8 miles. When the local news kept mentioning that the traffic was slow, I decided to leave early for the meeting. It started at 10:30 am... I left the house at 9:15.

So at 9:38 I was sitting in a nice parking space along one of the side streets, AND I REALLY NEEDED TO PEE. Nothing would be open yet, so I distracted myself by drawing the architectural details of the houses nearby until it was reasonable to walk over to Solano. I tried to take notes on where my car was parked so I could find it again later.

I sat with another new member, Bobby Edelson. If that sounds familiar at all, her quilt won BEST OF SHOW at Chicago recently. Both she and I are interested in a small kind of crit/support group... and her daughter lives in my town... so we will be talking again soon.

Our program was on African American Quilts. The presenter's main concept is that African American quilts do not follow a theme, or have a certain look... they are simply quilts made by African Americans. I still wonder why, then, label them as anything other than just quilts? What is the point of labeling something as different in some way from other quilts.. if the only difference is the ethnicity of the creator? I really don't like labels that seem to unnecessarily segregate things.


Show and tell was FABULOUS. Liz Berg showed a lot of her new work... I'd seen it on her blog, but it's better in person...

AFterward, I walked back to where I thought I parked and spent 5 minutes trying to figure out where my car was. I walked another half block down each street... but I had parked on a corner!! Where was the darned thing? It should be right here!!

And it was.

Every time I stopped at the corner to look at the other 3 corners for my car... I had stopped right in front of my car.

Hmm... VW basically makes 12 version of gray car. Maybe I shouldn't have gone for quite so "invisible" a gray...


Scrapmaker said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I wish I could have been there.
About African-American quilts, there is a very strong sense of history and culture that unifies them despite stylistic differences.
Browse around for a while, and you can read all kinds of wonderful historical information. It also gave me a better understanding of why the unity is needed and celebrated. Jen

Debra said...


I understand what you were saying that there is a strong sense that unifies many Afro-American quilts. And I did enjoy the website you sent.

But still... if I attend a workshop with many other quilts.. and half of them are Afro-American... and we all make, say floral Stack and Whack quilts. The quilts are Stack and Whacks. But, according to this speaker.. those half would be "properly" identied as Afro=American quilts simply because of the makers heritage. They would not look different than any other quilt in the group. But they would "require" or atleast "qualify for" a separate identifier.

But WHY?

Should I identify my quilts as being constructed by a Euro-American, ex-Catholic, child-free woman? Does it change something about the quality of the quilt? Does it effect how someone would respond to it? No. The label adds nothing to it. And if the label doesn't add something to the appreciation of the quilt, they I don't understand people using a label.

And nothing on that website explained that to me.

Karoda said...

See, if had given a presentation on that topic and not that I could or anything, but from what I understand the African aesthestics show up in quilts labeled as African American...such as stylized line patterns and symbolic meaning/story-telling in quilts. And the other thing if I'm guessing can be found that would be distinct to the American experience for Africans descendents would be improvisational patterns that grow out of "make do with catch is as catch can" (thats a phrase my mother sometimes says) doesn't mean that these characteristics are exclusive because afterall culture is fluid even though we sometimes discuss it as something static and unyielding.

But thats my 2 cents...