Artists and Tools February 03 2015

If you gather together the elements of art (paints, brushes, a canvas, etc.), what do you have? Easy - a pile of artist's tools and materials . But when you add the talent and experience of the artist, the results are something else entirely. The most important element to any artwork is the artist. 

Vincent Van Gogh is a prime example of this. With simple paints and tools he created magic on his canvases. 

Renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh and his Starry Night painting

Think about all the great works of art that are found all over the world - they would not exist without the artists who created them. That art doesn't happen by itself. 

Quilt Artists

The same is true of quilting. Most quilters have many of the elements of quilting: fabric, thread, patterns, needles, cutters, and just about anything anyone could possibly use to make a quilt. But without the quilter to put it all together, it's just a lot of sewing stuff.

One of our favorite and most famous quilters from the past was Jane Stickle. Her Dear Jane quilt hangs in a museum where we can look at and admire her stunning artwork, a creation of her talent. It wasn't her tools and materials that made her quilt, she designed made it herself. 

Renowned quilter Jane Stickle and her Dear Jane quilt

It's possible to create a great quilt even if we only have a needle and thread to sew our pieces of fabric together. Rooms full of the latest products like stabilizers, markers, cutters, rulers, templates, patterns, fabrics, videos, DVDs, books and everything else we quilters use are amazing things but they are only stuff until you - the quilter - add your talents and abilities to the mix.

Even the most sophisticated computer software won't do anything but sit there unless someone with knowledge and expertise starts hitting those keys, inputting the right information to making it work the way it should. The computer artist still has to make creative decisions about thread, patterns, designs, type of stitching, etc. Each new decision will change the end result in some way. Without the quilter and their creative genius, that computerized system is just a chunk of expensive electronics and all those materials are just .... stuff. 

Without YOU - the quilt artist - your work of art won't get made. 

There are so many great tools on the market today to help quilters in our craft, but the real artistry comes from the quilter. There's no doubt that the tools make it easier to make a great quilt, but those tools will do nothing until the artist picks them up and puts them to use. 

We quilters today are blessed with just about anything any quilter could ask for so we can make that next quilt. There's nothing wrong with keeping your sewing room well stocked with sewing and quilting materials and supplies. Taking advantage of all the information sources available to help us learn to quilt better makes good sense. Attend classes, buy books and DVDs, join sewing and quilting groups, shop for machines and tools that do what you want them to do. It's all good!

Great supplies make quilting so much easier than before, but don't get hung up thinking that it's the materials and tools that are the most important because they aren't.

YOU and your talent are the most important part of making a great quilt happen.

Happy Stitching!