Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dear Melody,
How do you deal with someone that keeps dismissing your work because you 'Fuse'.
I enjoy fusing, it gets me where I want to go in the shortest time. I belong to a few groups and this woman keeps joining them. Then when my work is shown, I get the remark

'but it's fused'

She does excellent work and I admire her for that, but I am not trying to do her style. I am trying to make my own.

I keep trying to not let it get to me, but criticism is criticism and sometimes you do let it in.

I will greatly appreciate any suggestions you can give me.
Thank you,

Frustrated Fuser

Dear Frustrated,

I feel your pain, but alas there will always those who value technique over everything else. We must respond with care and delicacy, as we speed by and leave them in our wake.

Here are my top ten responses to that type of remark:

1. I cannot allow my ideas to be stifled by the construction process.
2. I am making art for the wall and with art there are no rules.
3. I can make a seam, I can turn under an edge, I needn't prove it in order to make my art.
4. Technique alone and good art are not the same thing.
5. Making quilts by fusing does not devalue your work.
6. I have too many ideas for one lifetime and need to get them made in order to fulfill my destiny.
7. The quality of a work of art is not determined by the degree of difficulty of achieving it.
8. Museums like the American Quilter's Society own and display totally fused quilts (with raw edges!)
9. The International Quilting Association purchases, displays and gives big awards to quilts that are totally fused.
10. Quilting is my hobby, and if it isn't fun for me, why do it?

Could this quilt be made any other way, with all those teeny strips?

Which of these quilts is pieced and which is fused? And why does it matter?

If this quilt by Laura Wasilowski had to be constructed in a traditional manner,

it would never have been made and the world would be poorer because of it.

Would anyone want to piece or hand applique all these tiny squares, or deny the world the beauty of these designs merely because they are not constructed in an 'approved' manner?

Anne Lullie, the artist who made these great quilts. Still smiling and still fusing.

PS. See this post for more outrageous opinions.


  1. bonnie9:54 AM

    Well said, and so true. Thanks for all the inspiring photos.

  2. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Ten of the best statements I ever read.

  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    When this woman challenges her, just wait until she shows her work then say, "but it's turned under (pieced), how creative is that?"

  4. Anonymous12:19 PM

    on another topic,,,I was one of the orphans that you took into your class in Hampton, Va. I just wanted to thank you. I learned So Much in that class....It was Friday's fusing class!
    You are my favoirte,

  5. Mel,
    Your 10 maxims of fusing are so true! Without my glue and iron I am a ship out of water, a boat with no float. I love my glue.

  6. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Any time you allow a negative coment "in" it is a signal to look inside yourself and find the bit of self-doubt that is hiding and resonating with the criticism.

    If a viewer said of your quilt, "but it's all wet" you'd laugh because you know it's not true. When that viewer says, "but it's fused" laugh and say, "thank God! it's so much fun to do!" Ask her which aspect bothers her the most: the ironing while applying the fusible or all the time freed up to focus on finishing touches and designing the next one.

    There is no place on earth that you can go, inhabited by people, where there won't be someone ready to pull down an artist's accomplishment becaue they envy the artist' freedom. If it bothers you, ask yourself why until all the reasons have been cleared away. When it no longer bothers you, just smile and say, "Thank you for noticing."

    Keep creating! Olenka

  7. Margel Soderberg3:15 PM

    I love your passion. I would like to add a thought. Years ago, I had a neighbor who taught art at a major university in our town. One day she showed me her latest passion - art placemats with fused fabric shapes. It was a mess! She had no idea or expertise in sewing, fusing, or fiber at all. The design wasn't all that hot either. She told me the technique was totally unimportant it was only the design. My feeling is that it does not matter what technique an artist uses, but learning and perfecting the technique you do choose IS important and of value. It is an interplay of the two. Your work is a combination of outstanding art with flawless execution. Would it truly be as wonderful without your technical expertise? Just a thought. . .

  8. number 4 is my favorite. While I feel that design is of the utmost importance technique certainly has some merits in the end result. A work that suffers from poor construction ultimately fails,be it pieced or fused or welded...I have found such value in your blog. Without the rebels and mavericks like yourself the art world would be very sedate indeed.

  9. I just bought a new iron today! And I plan to keep right on fusing!Well said as usual Mel; ANd thanks for the recognition!

  10. Anonymous6:40 PM

    I dunno... I think I might ask her, point blank, "Why do you have a problem with that?". If you're in a group, it might start a lively discussion of art vs. technique. And help some others find their voices (and their self-esteem).
    - Laura

  11. I might have to ask her what her point was, really? I think she is jealous. The work must have created some good attention and she resented it ...thinking her work was superior. She never ventures out of the box, remember that....and have pity on her...or she could be wrapped too tight lol...

  12. I like Numbers 4 and 7. Too often quilters try to be critical of others, especially those who are doing things "differently." Do you think painters behave like this? Potters?

  13. Shirley1:11 PM

    The rudeness and insensitivity of some people never ceases to amaze me. Response #1 is mah-ve-lous...and then I would look her right in the eye, smile and, in the nicest way possible say, "You have made this same observation several times and in several groups. I am curious as to why the construction method I choose to use in MY work is such an issue for you? And then...forget her and forge ahead with your art, self fulfillment and enjoyment.

  14. Gerrie1:32 PM

    Oh, thank you for this post, Mrs Mel!!!! There aren't many fusers here n the Northwest and I was beginning to stray. I am going to fuse today!!

  15. Janice1:34 PM

    Taking someone to task for being rude is one thing, but if we belittle her choice of technique, aren't we being just as rude as she is?

  16. kristin La Flamme5:31 PM

    Thanks for the wonderful fused quilts. Personally, I enjoy piecing, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate someone else's fused work. As long as the design is good, and whatever assembly technique used is done well, then I think a piece is successful. There's room for all types!

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