Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On the state of the quilt nation.....

There is much happening lately in the quilt world. Changes of all sorts are coming or already here. It seems that every time we turn around we hear about shops closing, or magazines folding, or shows getting cancelled. I wish I could say that San Diego was the exception, but in the last decade we have seen the closing of half a dozen shops, and major changes in the guilds and their structures. When I moved to San Diego in 2005 there were 19 shops within 90 minutes of my front door, there are now 8. We lost CWAP (Camp WatchAPatcher) a few years ago, and we have seen a decline in attendance and participation in guild shows.

Many talk about the aging of the industry, and the lack of sewing in school, or the cost to make a quilt, and others talk about the e-commerce aspects, and realistically, those are all factors, but there are many others. There's the modern "era" and its need for cheap and cheerful (myself often included), and lack of understanding of the art component. Or the lack of connection to the "old-fashioned"....there's a million aspects to the issue, and a million different "solutions", but just as the problem is multi-faceted, so must be the solution. The Modern Quilt movement can't fix it, the combining of guilds can't fix it, the reality is fixing it isn't really possible, the industry is changing just as the world is changing.

I want to be confident that the industry is just in a lull, and will rebound as it did after the Centennial. I want to be excited about the future, but these "sudden" changes haven't really been sudden.....they seem to be compounding over time, we lost a shop to retirement, and one to a move, another to a business partnership that went sour. So many different reasons and so many different circumstances that ultimately have the same outcome.

So, what now??? What should we do, and can we save the art of quilting??? individually, maybe not, and maybe so. Saving the industry can not be done individually, yet it must be done by individuals. If we want to save the industry, we have to get involved. We have to be official and unofficial spokesmen and spokeswomen. We have to be advocates for our craft, we have to be teachers, and educators, and participants. We have to get involved, we have to attend, we have to participate. We have to share our craft and our art. We have to introduce new people to our craft and find crossovers that inspire us. We have to be advocates for our craft. We can't depend upon designers, or fabric companies to do it for us, we have to make it happen. So, that is the challenge for the next 12 months....to be a better advocate....a better participant, a better educator, a better celebrator of my craft, or my sometime obsession. That's my challenge to each of you.....be involved and have fun!!!! And then whatever happens in the industry, we have done our best.

Are you up for it???

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