The normally oh so civilized quiltosphere is abuzz with conflict regarding the latest issue of Quilter's Home. According to this article in The Washington Post, Jo Ann's Fabric Store refused to carry the scandalous March/April issue because it features pages of controversial quilts. Even though editor/owner Mark Lipinski ponied up extra cash to have the issues shrink wrapped in plastic sleeves a la Hustler magazine, the issue was deemed too shocking for Jo Ann's customers, out of fear that they might accidentally look at the magazine. Let's check out the front cover, shall we?
What? No T&A? Just an alarmingly excited man (Lipinski himself) playing a post pubescent game of hide and seek on the cover... But it is advertised as "Shocking," so what's inside this issue anyway?
WaPo writes, "Flip past the ads for stencil companies and portable ironing tables to Page 24. Behold, seven straight pages of shocking quilts. We're talking fabric phalluses. Gun-toting Jesuses. A newborn peering out from his mother's lady parts (constructed out of lots of soft, embroidered orange cloth)."
You don't say.
Sadly, I don't have a copy of this magazine (if you do, PLEASE send us scans and I'll update the post), and QH doesn't publish excepts online, but a little detective work has uncovered some of the art and artists included within these controversial(!) pages.
First up, Gwendolyn Magree, whose quilts draw comparison to Jacob Lawrence. Southern Heritage/Southern Shame, included in Quilter's Home, was created as a response to Mississippi's refusal to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag.
God of Our Weary Years
When Hope Unborn Had Died, of which Magree writes, "A couple has bought a hog and toddler at auction. Its mother, screaming in anguish, runs desperately out of the fields."
Requiem, a quilt devoted to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
And then there's Miss Mary Beth Bellah, along with her featured quilt, Helping Hands, which is apparently an ode to Viagra. And penises.
Don't be deceived by her middle aged wholesomeness, but do note the pliant puss in hand. And the penises.
Can you see them, masquerading as dog bones? Also, the blue diamonds represent delicious Viagra pills. Apparently, this quilt was exhibited at a hospital -- fitting, no? -- but was taken down due to complaints. Really, you'd think hospitals would appreciate the free advertising!
Last but not least, Shawn Quinlan's Jesus Get Your Gun quilt, featured in the now notorious QH issue, really got some blogger's threads knotted up in a wad.
Nothing like religion and politics to ruffle a few feathers. Apparently this piece was the recipient of an award at the Andy Warhol Museum, and was also awarded the Greater Latrobe School District Art Conservation Trust, but the latter was rescinded "due to controversial subject matter." Read the letter that inspired it here.
Oh, but there's so much more.
As My Daddy Always Told Me, "At Least Democrats Will Throw You a Bone."
Farwell Quilt #2, which was inspired by a conversation between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. You can read the very intriguing transcript here.
Who Would Jesus Bomb?
Well, readers, what do you think? Is Jo Ann's Fabrics "out of touch with their customer base," as Lipinski suggests? "When you consider that a 70-year-old could have been dancing naked at Woodstock and a 50-year-old could have been smoking pot in high school -- sometimes you have to change your marketing." Or is Lipinski just a sensationalist out to make a buck? WaPo does note that he used to be a talk show producer.
Should quilts -- generally a traditional, conservative field -- only mine the terrain of calico and wedding ring patterns? Or are penises, lynchings and angry Jesuses, appropriate fodder for material?
Drop me a note and let me know what you think!
Totally unrelated to Quilter's Home and its collection of randy quilts, but you people have to head over to Double Takes to see the Dead Rapper quilts Lauren posted. Have to!
UPDATE PART DEUX!
Totally awesome reader, Bobbi, send in scans from the mag of the quilts I didn't manage to find on the net.
Yes, those are some hot buns by Randall Cook, and a tiny baby peeking out of an orange (?!) vajayjay by Gayle McKay.
Another quilt by the very talented Gwendolyn Magree, and The L Word Quilt by Diane Johns.
Thanks Bobbi for sending in the scans, and thanks all your peeps who have written in with your own stories of censorship and strife in the quiltosphere. DC readers are the best!