Thursday, March 17, 2011
I'd like to introduce you to Pam Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs! She's been an online friend, customer, supporter, and more for several years. We've shared materials, beads, lace, ideas, sorrows. Our styles are very different but our mutual admiration is unsurpassed. I am pleased to have her write today about CRAZY QUILTING, her passion!
I discovered it back in the year 2002. Oh, I've seen old crazy quilts at flea markets and antique shops but it wasn't until a friend of mine sent me a magazine showcasing art quilting that it really caught my attention. What I found so attractive about modern crazy quilting was all the embellishments.
I've been stitching since I was 7 or 8 years old. For the record, I'm almost 50 now. My mom was not the type of mother who would crawl around the floor and play silly little kid games. Instead, mom's way of playing was to teach my sister and me how to stitch, sew, crochet, craft and bake. That's how my sister and I grew to love not only handmade things, but making things with our hands.
Traditional Crazy Quilting dates back to the Victorian age. Economy was good during the reign of Queen Victoria so women were able to afford household help. The days of making quilts for the sole purpose of keeping warm were over. Women had free time on their hands and took to the decorative arts. Other than reading, the arts were one of few acceptable past times for the female gender at that time.
Throughout history, women have always sewed, embroidered and made lace of one type or another. But now, it wasn't for the sake of utilitarian purposes as it was in the past. Now they turned to sewing and embroidery for the beauty that they could create. Pure visual beauty.
It is said that crazy quilting began as a result of a Japanese exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in 1876 of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the exhibit from Japan, a new kind of crazed pottery was showcased and supposedly, women went nuts over it! Abstract shapes became all the rage!
Scraps of fancy fabrics such as silks and velvets were now being sewn onto a muslin foundation without rhyme or reason. The traditional patchwork quilts with their geometric patterns were out and the abstract art of applying small remnants of fancy fabrics to a foundation and then covering all the seams with specialty embroidery stitches was the wave of the future!
Victorian ladies would spend months and years on one crazy quilt. Sometimes beads were used, sometimes small, personal mementos were sewn on and women who were well versed in decorative painting would sometimes paint motifs onto their crazy quilts. The main focus, however, was the fabrics and the stitching.
Modern Crazy Quilting is another story. Oh, there are stitchers who work their crazy quilts in the traditional style. And then there's me! I love the embellishments. I love beads, buttons, lace, sequins, old jewelry, ribbons and on so. My style of crazy quilting is referred to as "encrusted" meaning, it is extremely embellished.
Yes, I use a lot of fancy embroidery stitches, but the beadwork is my favorite part of the process. I have learned just about every needlework and embroidery technique imaginable. I have a background in professional counted cross stitch design. I've since retired from that because Crazy Quilting has become my passion. Oh, I still do other crafts and other types of needlework as well, but it's the beautiful and elegant art of Victorian Crazy Quilting that I live and breathe for. To create beauty from a pile of fancy fabrics, threads, beads, buttons, lace and anything else that I can find is truly where my heart lies.
I would like to take a moment to thank my very dear friend Louise, for inviting me to write for her blog. Please visit my blog for more info and examples of Crazy Quilting.
I also have an online boutique where some of my crazy quilt pieces are available for purchase. You can find my boutique here.
You can also find me on Facebook.
Posted by Louise Giordano at 7:52 AM