One of things that has frustrated me in finding quilting community was a fundamental lack of constructive criticism. I think a lot of the hurt and backlash from being rejected from QuiltCon was because there wasn't any feedback given. If the work you are making is largely self-propelled and some what insular, it is hard to receive feedback. If the only feedback you've received has been overwhelmingly positive and then you are rejected from something that is propelled by the community you are part of, it feels really personal. I think being able to make a space to talk about work and give constructive criticism would be really great way for individuals and the movement alike to grow. Teaching one another both to see the successes and short-comings of the work we are making was fundamental in my growth as a maker.
Social media has made connection much easier, which is awesome. It's awesome being part of something where everyone is each other's cheerleaders, where we are collectively inspired by each other's work. I believe it is part of the reason that I picked quilting back up; I wanted to make and be surrounded by people who make for the sake of making. The community around quilting, both now and historically, has largely been an organic thing. It feels the opposite of my experience in the fine art world.
One of the first things I learned in school was that I was part of a tradition. In order to move beyond what had already been done, it was imperative to learn the history of the medium and to refine craft.
After returning to it from a decade of hiatus, I approached quilting in the same way that I was taught to approach photography. The first book I read was Quilts in America. I come from a family of women who sew and quilt and grew up and lived in an area who's quilting history has been extensively researched. My main inspiration is the Amish quilts of Lancaster county. I approach quilting with the idea of using stuff that has outgrown it's use as one object but can be remade into something new and useful again.