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A Word on the Journal Quilt Project

20 Mar 2006

I've held such hope to enter the Journal Quilt Project since it's inception in 2003. I'm not alone. Every January the activity on the Quilt Art list surges as people like me who've never formally entered a show, are excited at the thought of having their work shown publicly and among such worthy, artistic company.  Even though I often sit on the other side of the fence as an editor, I've desperately wanted to play, too.

Every year I've signed up, and every year, I've backed out. Usually it's a time factor—as co-owner of a business with a demanding traveling and publishing schedule, my job requires me to come into the office nearly every day, including weekends. It's difficult for me to find several quality hours at a time to create unless I'm whisked away at a retreat.

But if I'm to be totally honest with myself, I'd also admit that when push came to shove, and those quilts were due, huge waves of fear would envelope me, and any little bit of artwork I might have stitched suddenly morphed into an embarrassment of gargantuan proportion. With frustration and a sense of self-defeat, I'd angrily wiped any tears from my face, shove those works in progress into a drawer, and mutter to myself that perhaps next year, I'd see the project through.

Once again, this past January I was adamant and eager to join the project. I have so many things going on in my life personally and professionally, I needed to journal them with needle and stitch. I spent many long nights in my studio in January working on my first quilt, and I'm proud to say I actually completed it. However, once February came, I was spending long, long hours at work, and when the first two quilts were due the end of the month, I pulled the same act as I've done previous years: I notified the Powers At Be that I needed to back out.

But fate intervened––I was speaking with Vicki from Quilts Inc. last week and she mentioned the deadline was extended to the end of March. Was this a sign from some sympathetic soul above? Perhaps, and I'm listening. I'm going to try my best to make sure I break old, defeatist, and silly behaviors and see this through!

My point with all this blithering is that I am so impressed by the courage every artist has shown to participate in the Journal Quilt Project. As many of you know, Karey Bresenhan is writing a book on the journal quilts and Quilting Arts LLC is publishing it. Originally there were plans to include 250 of the journal quilts, but after Karey viewed thousands of them (literally), she made an excellent case to us as to why there would need to be at least 350. Whether your work was chosen for the book or not, all of you have my deepest admiration and respect. I marvel that you've accomplished such an amazing feat by sharing so much of yourselves and your art.

My heartfelt congratulations…

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Sharon Neth wrote
on 1 Apr 2006 8:09 PM
I am so excieted to have my lint and recycled metal ATC submitted into the Chicago show! I hope that other people will find them as interesting as my Senior Citizens did when I taught them how to make them?! I haven't heard from anyone if they made the cut? Thanks!
Patricia Bolton wrote
on 14 Apr 2006 12:55 PM
Sharon, Do you mean "make the cut" for the book or Chicago? All of the ATCs we took to Chicago. ;-) Warmly, Patricia
Donna Funnell wrote
on 19 Apr 2006 5:00 PM
Patricia, I just discovered the Journal Quilt project! I have really missed the boat! What a vehicle for learning! After looking at the ones on the website I decided to make my own journal for my own artistic development. I will share my journal with friends and artists that I meet with regularly. My first month's learning is a beaded goddess that I learned to do with a artist in my stitchery group. I hope to use lessons from Q'Arts to develop my other pages. So even if I missed all the deadlines I will feel part of this wonderful idea for artistic expression!
Christi wrote
on 28 Jun 2006 3:46 PM
I am in love with CPS - my only "problem" is I want MORE! I want it to be published daily - ok, I'd settle for monthly. I am so inspired I actually bought a sewing machine! I have not a clue how to use it, and it hasn't gotten touched yet, but I got it! So, I am going nuts here trying to figure out if: A. this is the right place to post, B. how the heck I got here and C. where is the pattern for the "Little Pink House of Cards" from the Fall 2006 CPS issue? - thanks!
patricia Bolton wrote
on 28 Jun 2006 5:18 PM
Christi, First, congrats on the sewing machine! You've taken a very big, important, first step--don't worry that you don't know how to use it yet. Just revel in the joy that this new addition to your household will become your new best friend very soon. In answer to B, I don't know how you got here, but glad you found me! and C, the pattern will be posted tomorrow (Thursday) when the website gets updated to reflect the new issue. All my best, Patricia
Sharon Neth wrote
on 23 Apr 2008 4:52 AM
Patricia, I am so sorry for not getting back to you sooner but I have been busy with family responsibilities. I saw my ATC's in the book and they look excellent! You out did yourself with this publication! All the cards look fantastic! I am proud to be a part of it all! Thanks for taking a chance on my work! Sharon
Melanie wrote
on 26 Apr 2008 3:42 PM
I also had been longing to participate in the Journal Quilt Project and finally pulled myself together last year and got it done -- just in time for the journal project to halt. While I'm intrigued (and motivated) by the theme presented for the new configuration of the JQP, and glad that it is continuing in some form, I am deeply sad that it is continuing without the very things that comprised its glory (that it was not juried, that there was no overarching theme). It was also useful to have this external goal -- get it done in time for Houston -- to support and encourage the exploration of personal goals (new themes in the work, new techinues or materials in the work). Not to mention how inspiring it was to see the range and variety of pieces that sprang from the simple premise of "do something small, consistently." I understand that managing the ever-burgeoning flood of exhibits was becoming a Herculean task, but I can't help wishing that there had been a way to preserve the JQP's unique, and much-cherished, egalitarian qualities.