Lessons Learned from QuiltCon - Lesson #2

Let me start this post by giving you one of my favorite sayings:

Attention Seeking Behavior or ASB.

Examples of ASB:
  • Bragging about achievements and personal skills.
  • Creating drama. This means that the individual turns everything into a big deal where they're at the center of things.
  • Falsely claiming to be a victim of bullying in order to gain attention.
  •  Name dropping
  •  Manipulating facts in order to gain respect or status.

  • *Courtesy of alcoholrehab.com

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I was forced to watch QuiltCon from the sidelines through Twitter and Instagram.

    The fun part was watching the delight and joy of those who took classes with people like Lotta and Valori and Jay and were wide-eyed at the quilts that were hung and the craftsmanship on display. So happy that some of my favorite bloggers and a handful of my guild friends got to go and be a part of things. That was fun to follow - like watching little kids at quilting Disney World.

    On the flip side, it was hard to stomach the ASB during and after the event.

    There was a smattering of quilt bloggers and designers out there who were a bit uncensored in their work and what they said on their blogs and on Twitter. Hey - you wanna show your ta-tas and drop the f-bomb and talk about how badass you are? Knock yourself out. Personally, I think I have a great rack and sometimes I have pottymouth and occasionally I get pretty full of myself. But I guess I'm a little shy about posting my girls on Instagram. That's just me.

    But I think what's triggering my gag reflex is less obvious than nudity or profanity. I'm not that bothered by that stuff.  I think what I'm feeling is a mild allergic reaction to the self-consumed, the pontifical and the pseudo-intellectual ASB.

     Let's be honest - those of us who blog and write books and Tweet/IG regularly have some part of us that needs the attention it brings. I own that I like to be the center of attention every once in awhile. I understand the need to feel special and unique. I understand the need to assert your own brand of personality to draw readers and customers of your product.

     But I don't really understand the need to bloviate about the why's and how's of your personal quilting and the self-inflated value of your talents and why your artsy-fartsy tendencies or post-graduate degree makes you more qualified to quilt than everyone else.  That seems to me to be...well.... annoying ASB. Spare me.

    So it leads me to Lesson #2:

    I value humility. True humility. I value sharing my gifts, being part of a community and being an active participant in a movement. I value being confident enough in myself and my skills to share with others.  I'm learning to embrace self-promotion as a form of ministry to others so I can share my story and my gifts and to teach others about something that has brought me joy and purpose and community. And honesty is paramount. I don't bill myself as something I'm not. I don't pad my resume or assign myself  titles that I haven't truly earned. I don't claim to have a superpower that enables me to quilt in my own special way.

    Bottom line, watching the ASB has taught me about myself. Really examining my agenda and motives to be active in my guild or the online quilting community or why I want to teach and lecture has led me to understand that I just wanna sew with my peoples. And I wanna teach people to sew. And I really want people to value themselves and others enough to actively practice humility and promote community over seeking "fame" in a niche market.

    I realize opining here about ASB puts me dangerously close to the over thinking of our craft that has chapped my hiney in the last few weeks- this fact is not lost on me. But there's no call to action here. There's no "look at me I'm so fabulous and badass".

    And I realize this might come off as superior or uppity. It's not my intention at all. And it's certainly not my intention to throw anybody under the bus. That's not really my style (unless you plagiarize my crap - then I'll throw you under the bus after I kick you in the jimmies. More on this story later this week.)

    Just wanna talk about what's going on in the quilting scene with some humor and candor and tell you what I've learned about my little ol' self.

    Humility and honesty. I dig 'em.

    *Okay - so I closed comments on this post because I think we need to move on. My intention isn't to bash anyone, rather my intention is to be introspective and find a little humor in something that I think is pissing a lot of people off.  
    Thanks for your support. Let's just buy fabric and cut it up and sew it back together however we like, mkay?


    1. Man, this post seems juicy. I wish I was "in" enough to know what you are talking about- because it seems like some major gossip going on.

    2. which is why I like you, enjoy chatting with you and follow what you share. its about connecting and validating our work no matter where it is at creatively and skill wise. I blogged about how some have been upset about the judging and I think it all ties together with what you said. I too followed instagram and laughed at the silliness of some of the behavior. Check my post out. I decided to demystify and de-power the judges comments I got on my quilt. In the words of Pete the Cat, Its all good.

    3. What a great post! I "lurked" in a little bit of the drama and I found that it was making me a little hot under the collar. Before I delved into some opinions of my own, I luckily took some steps back and away. I realized a lot of it was "junk" although I love your term--ASB. I think a big part of the problem is in this electronic medium--where you would NEVER dream of saying things to people face-to-face that they have no problem writing. I also admit to wondering if people aren't "overthinking" their "vision" or their "craft." I see a pattern and some pretty fabric and I want to make something! And it makes me happy! I was quite happy to turn away from all the drama and go to my quilt room and happily play!

    4. Wow- this makes me really glad I do not do the twitter/instagram thing. I have a low tolerance for navel gazing and attention whoring. blah blah blah too much noise.

      I really like making quilts for my family and the rest I find unnecessary to my happiness. You know when you think about ASB in quilting, it's really sad and silly. I could say the most famous quilters I can think of like Pat Sloan or Eleanor Burns and nobody knows what I am talking about unless they are a quilter.

    5. MWAH MWAH big kisses Andie for having the balls to say it. I totally agree. Although I'm sure there are cannons aimed in both our directions right now for going against the whirlwind.

    6. Andie, this is the first time I've read your blog. It's going to be a must read from now on. I think I love you right now. Plus, what Sarah said !!

    7. Amen...love what you have shared!

    8. I love that you don't think humility and craft are four letter words! The art v. craft arguments never end.

      I have to think about embracing promotion and ministry to others. This comes up a lot but I hadn't thought of it as clearly as you said it. Thanks.

      1. Thank you for sharing your feelings here. If I ever post a picture of my cleavage, please send me a friendly DM asking me if I have lost my ever-loving mind and how would I like it if my kids saw that. It doesn't offend me to see it, especially all done in fun (a sister has to let loose once in a while!). We all have different ways of being in the world. Some people use social media as a professional tool for their building and connecting consumers to their brand. Others use it more as a (albeit, extremely public) way of sharing their lives and keeping up with friends.

        While I feel that I can design and make a decent quilt, I do sometimes feel a bit inferior that I don't have a fine arts degree or any training in the arts whatsoever. But isn't that what our modern movement is all about? A little more freedom and leeway to be imperfect? Working towards the goal of learning and bettering while not being afraid to show our work in its earliest stages? We're the approachable people, right?

        The folks who boast the most are often the most insecure. They are trying to convince themselves of their right to be in their place as much as they are trying to convince everyone else. They may be the ones most in need of gentleness. While the people who are truly narcissistic are unlikely to change, and eventually everyone tires of hearing it. It's pretty transparent, isn't it? Fortunately, clicking the 'unfollow' or 'unfriend' button is pretty easy to do.

        I like your goal of sewing with your peeps! It's a good one to have! I just need to set a goal of firing up my neglected machine.

      2. "The folks who boast the most are often the most insecure. They are trying to convince themselves of their right to be in their place as much as they are trying to convince everyone else. They may be the ones most in need of gentleness."

        This is so true and a nice little nugget of wisdom. Definitely something to consider when I feel my blood start to boil.

        And my dear Sarah - you ever post your hooters on IG, I'll drive to your house and put the beat down on you. I know where you live....

    9. Really, really love this post. The whole 'modern' quilt movement still seems a little up in the air even after the big show (which many of us were watching with great interest). If it's really all about making something great from the gut, then why all the posturing? Way to bring it down to what's most important to the great unwashed.:)

    10. I think we are on the same wavelength tonight! I was just writing a post in which I tried to say, as gently as possible, some of the things I've had on my mind recently. It's still a draft. ;)

    11. Ha, ha, quite, I have read a few posts in the last week or so that made me wonder what the heck people were on about, it's known as @rse-gazing around here! There is something repugnant to me about people trying to over-intellectualise the quilting they do, I quilt and sew because it feels like something I need to do, it's one of the ways I express myself and show my love to others in my life, I enjoy it, end of! I know a few people who felt inferior afterwards, that can't be right surely. And lets be honest, if we keep up with all the ASB we're in danger of being "the emperors new clothes" about it all, lets keep it real! :o)

    12. I loved your post! I got back into quilting a few years ago after a 10+ year hiatus, and things have changed a lot. To me, quilting is about what makes you happy, allows you to express yourself. I know that there are quilters who think of themselves as serious artists, and I get that to a degree (though the ones who label themselves as artists aren't the ones whose work I look at over & over on Flickr or IG or wherever), but I think art is subjective. I love IG but find a lot of the more popular quilting people to be part of a clique. I was telling a friend recently that I feel like I'm back in HS, watching the cool kids hang out and have fun while I'm sitting on my own, reading a book. I quilt because I love the pattern, block, and/or fabric, as well as because it's a great way to express myself and show my love for my family at the same time. That my young adult kids fight over who gets the next quilt is enough of a reward for me. I have unfollowed people on various social media sites because nothing turns me off more than somebody blowing smoke up their own behind. Vanity reminds me too much of my MIL. ;P

    13. Great post! I too have only recently started following you.
      It is never a good idea to take one's self too seriously!

    14. Well said, friend. Well said. And kudos for having the guts to say it. Let's stop justifying our work—either from the end of explaining how badass it is, or from the other end of apologizing for why it's not perfect—and just sew!

    15. Fascinating post and one which makes me wish I had made it to QuiltCon. There is always going to be an art vs. craft conflict in quilting. Personally, I think there should be room for everybody ASBers included as long as they let everyone play in the sandbox. Quilting traditionally is multi-generational where women of all ages and backgrounds sewed together and shared their life experiences. I hope the Modern movement embraces at least that facet of quilting history as it evolves. I was quite stunned that a certain brilliant quilters's work was rejected from entering the show. I like your resolution to the issue of self-promotion as ministry although the "cool kids" may not find you self-congratulatory enough....

    16. I don't often post comments, but thank you! I don't blog but I like to see inspiration on blogs, not tah tahs!

    17. You Go Girl! You know I agree whole heartedly with everything you said here; one of many reasons my blog is so quiet these days and disenchanting for me-- the blatant ASB in this industry.

    18. I love this post! I was recently thinking about getting into the whole quilt/sewing blogging world, but then I came across some ASB after routinely checking out my favorite bloggers links. The ASB to which I am referring had some rather off-putting comments about one of my favorite local bloggers, and I decided right then that I wasn't about to get into that whole scene. It's sad, but it felt like high school "mean girls" all over again...

    19. Well Ive miss 99% of all the stuff going on, but what the "modern" quilters who are on high horses need to remember is all this has happened before and they arent really creating anything new. Ive seen pictures of quilts I swore was right out of a new modern book and then found out it was made in the early 1800's. Same goes for lots of other design elements. Sure they might put a new twist on it and thats great but no need to get all pissy about it. Once you add in compitition and judging in an area that is subjective you are going to have conflict. Because everyone has an opinion. Its not any different in the "regular" quilt show circut. In my backyard, not for show quilts have thier own category and sometimes they win viewers choice. And sometimes you have to say what the heck are the judges thinking?! And their critisium is subjective too. Those who get too ABS will pay for it later. Will be interesting to see how the modern movement grows and changes. Will be fun to watch!

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