My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Learning to talk about your work

I believe that learning to talk engagingly and intelligently about your work is one of the most important skills an artist can develop.

How many times have you listened to someone talk about their piece and gained a whole new appreciation for it? And how many times have you heard people point out flaws, put themselves down, or say a variation of, “I just liked those fabrics so I made it.” Hmmm. 

And it’s FINE if you DID just 'like' the fabrics! But perhaps you could say, “I liked the way these fabrics worked together and I wanted to play with the proportions and see how it altered the conversation between them.” Same thing really, but just said with a little more agility.

I'm making this blue quilt at the moment because I liked the indigo-dyed napkin that I printed with fern fronds, and I found some other blue leftovers. But instead of saying that, how about, "I wanted to see if I could compose a successful composition using a limited palette."

I do not claim to be that great at speaking about my work, but it’s something I’m aware of and I’m striving to get better at. 

I’ve recently been watching the videos of the Quilt National ‘19 exhibitors. These are short videos of makers talking about their quilts. And it’s been a great learning experience (besides also being able to enjoy the beautiful works.) I try and think when I’m listening:

Are they making sense?
Are they adding to the story I see visually?
Have I learnt something?

Here’s the link if you want to listen and watch too.


  1. This is a great point. I'll go over and watch those to learn from the way that other quilt artists talk about their work. I'm glad I found your blog - there will be lots to learn.

  2. Even non art quilts have a story... how the fabrics came to be... what sparked the interest in a pattern... who the quilt is for. I have always found these things to be interesting but it always seems like pulling teeth to get the back story... and although your wording is lovely, it doesn't always need to be a carefully curated set of words.


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