Monday, 9 March 2015

Tough Titties (a quilt)

I entered three quilts in QuiltCon, and I was really stoked that one was juried into the QuiltCon exhibition.  I hadn't share the quilt online previously, because I originally made it (together with my sister) for the New Zealand quilting symposium, which required that it not have been published before.  It was one of a very few quilts which were rejected from Symposium, which meant I was a bit surprised when it was accepted into QuiltCon (which was MUCH more selective in terms of quilts entered compared to quilts accepted). 

Tough Titties by Adrianne Reid (Wellington, New Zealand)

This is my quilt hanging in the QuiltCon show.  It seems right to be sharing it on what will still be International Women's Day for many people, since it's a quilt with a feminist bent.

Tough Titties

I have to confess that I'm a little bit nervous about sharing this quilt here.  I try to keep the blog a nice happy place for sharing quilts and quilting techniques.  However, quilts are one of the ways I express myself, and this quilt reflects my thoughts from a time when I was thinking a lot about feminism (something I think about more or less depending on what is happening in my life and in the news).

Tough Titties

This is the description I gave for this quilt when I entered it in QuiltCon:

The quilting on this quilt recounts anecdotes of subtle but infuriating instances of every day sexism.  
"Tough Titties" is a reference to the way this kind of discrimination is often dismissed and women are made to feel that they should just harden up and get over it.  Don't miss the hand printed fabric on the back!

This quilt is a collaboration between me and my sister (who is not a quilter, but who is a feminist).  She carved a stamp (out of a potato, no less) and used it to stamp the fabric used for the backing of the quilt.  I did the appliqué and the quilting, and most of the binding (but I did insist that my sister hand-stitch one side of the binding so that she had a hand in the construction of the quilt).  The words on the quilt come from experiences we've had, and a couple of anecdotes contributed by friends.

Tough Titties

In construction, this quilt is pretty simple.  I appliquéd the words "Tough Titties" to a plain linen background, using the blanket stitch on my sewing machine.  I traced the capitalised letters from my own handwriting, because I felt a bit funny about using someone else's font for this quilt.

The quilting was done free-hand.  I experimented with marking the letters on fabric and then quilting over the marked lines, but found that I was happier with the result when I just stitched freehand.  I did mark some lines using my hera marker so that my writing didn't slope all over the place.  I used a heavier than normal thread, 28 weight Aurifil in my favourite colour 2021, on the front of the quilt, and my usual Aurifil 50 weight 2021 on the back.  I kept the thread colour quite similar to the fabric I was quilting on, so that people would have to get close to the quilt to read the words.

Tough Titties

One of the cool things about showing at QuiltCon is that you get feedback from the judges.  I was really pleased with the feedback on Tough Titties - the judges commented favourably on the craftsmanship of the quilt and suggested that the collaboration could be enhanced by creating a custom fabric for the appliqué as well as for the backing.  I think that's a great idea and I'm going to try it with the next similar quilt I make.  I definitely want to repeat the technique of quilting words on a quilt.  In a happy turn of events, I didn't bring Tough Titties home with me from QuiltCon.  It now lives with Gillian, and she apparently is going to hang it in her office which I think is seriously awesome.

So yeah, that's the quilt I had in the QuiltCon exhibition.  It didn't win any prizes, but it was a thrill just to have a quilt in the show.  It's pretty different from many of my other quilts, and I guess one of the things I've taken away from QuiltCon is that I'm still happy making a variety of quilts in different styles depending on what suits my mood at the time.

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19 comments:

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl said...

I really thought this was a fabulous quilt when I saw it at QuiltCon. It was obvious a lot of thought and care went into it. The feedback you received sounds positive and helpful, and how awesome that it has such a wonderful new home!

Lois said...

Well done QuiltCon judges for acknowledging Adrienne and her sister. It is still a brave thing to call yourself a feminist even in 2015 and I applaud you both for using such a beautiful medium to get your message across:))

manicmumdays.com said...

It's gorgeous!
Well done and congratulations! :)

Beth said...

Fantastic quilt. I am so glad you wrote about it, because I had not seen a picture of it in the Quilt Con write ups I've seen, and I am impressed by it--and you and your sister--and have that, "I want to rush to the sewing machine and do something brave and marvelous" feeling. You've inspired me, and I thank you.

Dawn said...

Never mind QuiltCon niceties this quilt Is freaking awesome!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Love the way the two of you took an idea and transformed it into a visible (and well-executed) statement.

ES said...

Yes! A quilt with a string message!! A fantastic idea!!!

Karen said...

That saying reminds me of this woman http://www.smh.com.au/world/escaping-the-bhagwan-20090410-a2vp.html. When she was interviewed and that's all I remember from the Tv interview.

pennydog said...

Well done for selling your quilt- LOVE the boobs backing!

Teresa in Music City said...

I love it Adrianne! And I love your courage :*) That was always a favorite expression of my grandmother's, and as a child I thought it amazing. It occurred to me that it could also be a statement on the fight against breast cancer - in today's world, our titties do indeed need to be tough to avoid that scourge!!!

Camilla said...

Great quilt and still a message that needs to be spoken about! I can't quite make out the anecdotes from these photos and would love to see another photo of the hand printed backing fabric. Great collaboration-well done!!

Judy Cinerari said...

Brave and powerful quilt Adrianne. I love art that has so much to say. Well done.

Dominique said...

It's awesome, Adrianne. I too wish i couls make up the writing -hard to read on a picture, but i can just imagine it and come up with subtle but infuriating examples of sexism myself. Glad you had a positive response from this quilt.

Dominique said...

It's awesome, Adrianne. I too wish i couls make up the writing -hard to read on a picture, but i can just imagine it and come up with subtle but infuriating examples of sexism myself. Glad you had a positive response from this quilt.

Becky (My Fabric Obsession) said...

Very cool!! The message and the execution are fabulous! Sorry I couldn't have seen it in person!

Leanne said...

I love this quilt, and the sentiments behind it too.

Leonie said...

Absolutely awesome! all round - yay for being chosen and getting great feedback. :)

Lyndy at Stitchbird said...

This is so great. I want to read all the words that are quilted on it. Do you have a copy of what you quilted?

Charlotte Scott said...

So now I REALLY want to know why it was not accepted for symposium? Did they think it was a bit personal/risque/in your face? Because if that was the reason I'd be really disappointed. I think this quilt is awesome. When you can express such a strong feeling and message through your work, it really becomes an art form. And now I'm going to think of your quilt every time that expression pops into my head!