Made by Hand vs Made by Machine
I read obituaries—whether I knew the deceased or not. I think they’re fascinating.
Recently there was an obituary in a local daily and it started me thinking. I’ve mulled this over at length. Here’s what caught my eye:
You have to assume that this quilter’s family wrote the obituary. What I found interesting was how they seem to suggest that sewing and quilting by hand are superior to work done by machine.
This idea isn’t new.
But I was surprised to realize that it still exists at all. For those of us in the quilting world, the “hand versus machine” debate seems to have died long ago. We know there are masterpieces in all of the realms.
The first person who comes to mind is Hollis Chatelain. Her quilts will take your breath away. I can’t begin to describe these quilts, because anything I say will fall short.
Hollis is an internationally recognized and award-winning artist whose work addresses challenging social and environmental themes. You can see much more of her work on her website: hollisart.com. I’d encourage you to visit—it’s inspiring!
In contrast, I looked up the recent winners in the Hand Quilting/Handmade category at International Quilt Festival’s Judged Show in Houston. You can usually count on at least one of the winners in this group being from Japan.
Sure enough, first place went to Isako Wada from Tomiya-City, Miyagi, Japan for “In the square where the refreshing breeze is blowing.” I have to think the name of this quilt was less cumbersome in Japanese, but here is some of its story.
Here’s a detail shot by Jenny K. Lyon.
I could cite more examples of masterpieces made by hand, and many more made by machine, but I think you understand my point: These quilts are exquisite in every way, no matter how you slice it.
It almost doesn’t matter how they were made.
I know that the obituary writer wasn’t talking about these kinds of masterpiece quilts. This maker’s work was likely similar to the kind of quilts you and I produce: everyday and commonplace, created to warm, both physically and emotionally, someone we love. So here’s the bottom line:
However you make quilts, keep on making!