This has been a sad week for quilters in my area.
Monday morning began with the news that Yellow Bird Art, one of the most wonderful quilt shops anywhere, will be closing.
Yellow Bird Art has been the go-to shop when my friends and I have been retreat-ing in DeSoto, Wisconsin. It was located just a short hop over the state line, across the bridge in Lansing, Iowa. A destination shop for sure. Always full of an exciting mix of the traditional and the contemporary--hand-dyed wools, kimono silks, Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler fabrics, cutting edge garment patterns, unusual beads, buttons, and other findings--shoppers could find just the right raw materials to bring out the artist in anyone.
Yellow Bird was a Quilt Sampler Top Ten shop in 2007--so well-deserved. The staff was friendly and the owners always remembered us by name, even though we visited only a couple times per year. So inviting and well merchandised...well, I could go on and on.
It's very sad to see this exciting shop succumb to the pressures of our turgid economy.
The week ended with the news that WQI, our Wisconsin state quilt organization, will disband at the end of the year. WQI has been active for many years, offering seminars, classes and great opportunities for learning and growth. But membership has been declining as the big regional shows have come in, offering nationally-known teachers and huge vendors' areas.
Looking at attendance at quilt shows and classes, it's obvious that quilting is aging out just a bit. Those of us who got into quilting in our 20s and 30s, in the wake of the big quilting revival of the 70s and 80s are suddenly (suddenly??) getting older. And many of the next generation see quilting only as their mother's hobby.
A couple weeks ago, I was looking at a home dec blog featuring a home with a couple well-executed quilts in evidence. More than one blog commenter expressed the opinion that the rooms would be greatly improved if the quilts would be donated to the local animal shelter. OUCH!
Times change and various craft media move in and out of the spotlight. I've loved quilts since I was a kid, studying the mix of early 20th century fabrics in the old family Log Cabin and Monkey Wrench quilts on my parents' bed.
I believe I would have made quilts whether or not there was a "Quilting Revival"--it seems to be in my genes. I still love them like nothing else.
Please--support your local quilt shop AND your area guilds. Such precious resources...