Edit: I meant to mention that as with Ebony’s post I don’t mean this with regard to making simply to make or for fun or personal reasons. These questions apply to the industry, though I do hope we all strive for our best work at every level.
I read a blog post that struck a real nerve inside of me this morning. Not in a bad way; in fact it really has led me to do some thinking. The post was by the wonderful Ebony Love, and is titled “The Dumbing Down of the Quilting and Sewing Industry.” At the basic level I agree with just about everything Ebony wrote: craft does indeed matter, the industry encourages trendspotting and getting things out fast, popularity and fads trump just about everything else. I think there are all kinds of endemic problems, but that is a whole other post.
The thing is that Ebony’s post prompted me to consider a thought experiment: what if you were to reread that post but replace every reference to crappy craft with the notion of crappy ideas? Have things been dumbed down conceptually as well as technically.
Along with asking whether we need more and more poorly made stuff because it hits a trend should we be considering whether we need most of this stuff at all. Does it all truly warrant manufacturing? Publishing? Repeating? And I am not excluding myself from these questions; I wonder about it almost every day.
It may well be implicit in what Ebony wrote, but I think there is generally value in making things explicit, but how would you feel about that post?
When it comes right down to it though I will always take the quilt of mediocre construction that is just freakin’ brilliant over the technically flawless variation of a block I have seen a thousand times. I’m not saying craft, form, and idea are mutually exclusive; I just think that they all need to be valued. Right now I think we put a whole lot of weight on form. I agree with Ebony that we need perpetually remember that craft matters, that how we do something is an integral part of what we do. Ultimately, though I think the whole industry needs to spend a little more time considering what ought to be made rather than racing off in search of the next marketable trend.
PS: Hey Ebony. I really did like your post! Yay you!!!