Men Who Quilt

I found the following article from the L A Weekly :
If women can be the CEOs of companies or do construction and pour cement, why can’t guys make lace or quilts, and take on those traditional feminine things?” asks Joel Otterson.
Otterson is among the eight artists who are part of the Craft and Folk Art Museum’s new exhibit, “Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters, running through May 3. The group show, which also includes Joe Cunningham, Luke Haynes, Jimmy McBride, Aaron McIntosh, Dan Olfe, Shawn Quinlan and Ben Venom, aims to not only add a male point of view to a traditionally female-dominated hobby, but turn function into art. 
Ben Venom – from CAFM and LA Weekly
Now, I must admit, I have not encountered that many male quilters in my foray into quilting, but the few that I have are really very good!  It’s like what the quote says, ‘why can’t men be quilters?’ well, the answer is, they can, very well! Almost too well!!

Please visit the link for a view of more spectacular man-made quilts – or even better, if you’re in the LA area, go take a look! Some of the themes (like the Harley Davidson quilt and the muscle man quilt) seemed to me a bit self-indulgent, but maybe it’s a guy thing, and I should be happy I didn’t see a girls-in-bikini-drinking-beer quilt? Just kidding! There’s an incredible one that I don’t quite understand how it was made  – it looks like a magic helix fractal thing.

It is pretty silly to generalize regarding a whole gender’s output, style, and level of talent from a small curated show in Los Angeles – the truth is, men are well involved in the quilting process. Probably from a numbers and historic perspective, women dominate, but men are welcomed. In fact, one of the first people who showed me how to quilt was a fellow! It was back in Covington, GA; he and his wife owned a quilt shop in Beaufort, GA, where my sister took me kicking and screaming to take my very first quilting lesson, taught by the couple (needless to say, I was hooked after that!). Another fellow I know personally is this guy in my quilting guild here in Asheville; he is disgustingly good! As in, I wish I could dream up the things he does. He is a retired mathematician–apparently if one is “good in math,” one can design fabulous things–so no surprise there. He’s only been quilting for a bit more than 5 years (which only adds insult to injury, because I’ve been quilting since 1998!). He has won several awards, has been recognized at the most prestigious venues around the country, etc., etc. By the way, his wife is a talented quilter as well, but that goes without saying… or does it?

Another very talented and well known quilter and overall crafty person is Mark Lipinski This quilt was designed for the Quilts of Valor project, a noble and worthy cause that aids veterans:

Mark Lipinski, Quilts of Valor, from Quilters Club of America

Ricky Tims is another one. He is fun, if nothing else because of the hat he always wears, but his output is also incredibly good: Please go visit his site to see the incredible things he does! This one I lifted from the section called Harmonic Convergence quilts from his quilt gallery:

Ricky Tims – Reflections on Water (Harmonic Convergence Quilts)
In conclusion: men’s quilts can be incredibly diverse, complex, colorful, and men quilters seem to have an intuitive technical/mathematical grasp on the process that allows for greater complexity in execution.

I find it almost disturbing how good men’s quilts can be, and I can’t help wondering whether that is because the reality of their output is such a contrast to my original long-ago knee-jerk expectation that they would suck at it, or if it’s because they somehow find a way to do things on quilts that I could not really imagine or ever conceive of? Or is it a “Mars vs. Venus” thing? In any event, we sure do appreciate the brave gents who have joined us ladies on the quilting express.

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