Men and Quilting

IndieQuilter QuotesAwhile back, there was a discussion that cropped up on men in the quilt world, sparked by a podcast with Luke Haynes on While She Naps. Stephanie Boon wrote a blog post at the time, speaking to exactly what I will be touching on today. The frustrating ease with which male quilters are able to obtain attention, press, and high earning potential in the quilt world, simply because they are male. (Because white male privilege isn’t pervasive enough in every other aspect of our lives.) But more so, the seeming denial they are in, that it’s there.

I was going to write a post back then, but I talked myself out of it. Told myself to stay calm.

Then today, as part of my morning ritual of searching for quilt news, I came across the article “Men who quilt” on The San Diego Union-Tribune. The tag line? “San Diegan part of biennial museum exhibit, ‘No Girls Allowed!’.

*cue the tires screeching sound*

I’m sorry, what was that?

That’s right, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO is doing a three month exhibition of pieces by men only called, “No Girls Allowed!”. One of the participants is the well known Ricky Tims.

The exhibits managers at the museum, Irene Berry, is quoted as saying, “Women have been quilting for centuries, and then men start doing it and suddenly it’s important.” Irene honey, if you’re the exhibits manager, don’t you have a say in whether this “man only” show tradition the museum has had going since 1992, can keep going? Why are you pandering to the patriarchal bullshit we have been dealing with since the dawn of time?

As far as claiming that there is a “gender barrier” for men in “our” quilt world, you can just screw right off if you believe that people men. Bitching and moaning that you’re not as welcome, or that people assume you’re the husband when you’re in a quilt shop, really? That must be rough.

But, do you know who REALLY pisses me off? The women that fawn all over male quilters. I’ve seen it, and you know you have too. Well passed middle age women, flirting and acting all giddy towards a male quilter (including openly gay quilters with husbands, making it all the more disrespectful to be flirting with them.) Really ladies? C’mon and stick with “the team” here, would you?

We are living in a society where women are STILL not paid equal to men. We have to fight every day to keep our medical rights OUR rights and decisions, and not some white male in Washington’s. We are often expected to work full time and STILL take care of all of the children’s needs as well as the housekeeping and cooking duties despite a perfectly physically capable husband/partner (Which is why I am thankful everyday for having found a man who can take care of himself.) We live in a world where, when we are raped the patriarchal society we live in questions if we wore something, or went somewhere, or too late at night, that makes us deserving of the rape. In a society in which our daughters are being sent home, education disrupted for wearing leggings and accused of distracting boys from THEIR education (which you should find just as insulting for your sons as they are say your boys are to animal like to control themselves.)

But yeah, you go ahead and lose your mind over a dude, because he can quilt, JUST LIKE YOU CAN.

I just don’t know what to do anymore ladies. There are women in this industry that have put DECADES into trying to make a decent living with our art in quilting and still come up profoundly short of being able to anywhere near support ourselves with it. But a man can start quilting, and seemingly months into it, is making a living and being invited to fricken museums for solo shows. Or having fundraisers to get a machine, or pay for a one man traveling exhibition. Well I call bullshit. Double bullshit!

Pretty much every business that profits from we quilters, is owned by a man; fabric companies, machine companies, thread companies, etc. Men are profiting from us, when we as a gender can’t readily make a profit from this industry that is keeping them housed and fed comfortably.

What I want to see, is women like Pokey Bolton, to become like the Martha Stewart of our industry and give the male dominated companies a run for their profits.

So tell me, are you a company that is owned and operated by a woman/women? Please tell me and I will feature your company on my blog. Do you know of a fabric/thread/need/notions company that is owned by a woman? Tell me about it and I will contact them for a feature here on the blog. It is time we start helping each other (ourselves) and stop giving one of the few businesses that WE should be profiting from to some guy who decided it might be neat to learn to sew on a button.

Please email the female owned companies you run or know of (or for you men that are going to be all pissed off at me) at