The initial meetings went very well in the local village hall, the evening session proved more popular and so we decided to make a couple of different sized quilts. The evening session made a single quilt while the daytime group made a large lap quilt. Everyone was aware and happy for the sessions to be run as a case study for my research, I just felt a little embarrassed that I was unable to present a clear idea of what my research was… it was still hazy to me.
The previous experience levels of quilting varied as much as the age range [16-82] and all participants were women. There were a few who had quite a bit of sewing experience and making quilts but nobody had made one by hand. Others in the group seemed rather nervous about any sort of sewing.
I spoke to the group about making decisions together on the design and planning but everyone made it clear that they would prefer to be instructed on what to do [despite knowing about my lack of knowledge]. Luckily I had suspected this and when showing everyone the plans, they seemed to relax. Upon presentation of my fabric choices however, it became clear that this was not what they had envisioned so immediately asked if could be changed to use what they wanted.
Stephen Knott in his book Amateur Craft talks about the nature of engaging with a hobby as an amateur. key to this is the autonomous nature of doing – it may operate within a similar network of rules and structures to the workplace, but as individuals – you can engage with free choice.
Autonomous actions were quite apparent within the group from the early days, despite claims that they did not want to have to make any decisions…
A suggestion was made that we could follow the plan, but if individuals wanted to, they could include as much or as little of a fabric of their own choice – within the strip [block] they were piecing together.
From these images, you can see work as it is happening once the blocks had all been pieced together, within sections you can see flashes of personal choices within the quilt top.
Knott, S. (2015). Amateur craft : history and theory. london: Bloomsbury.