Controversy — Warning The F Word is used in this post

Sheet telling about the  Fuck You Cancer quilt

Sheet telling about the Fuck You Cancer quilt

I came home yesterday afternoon from QuiltCon 2013, the first quilt show put on by The Modern Quilt Guild.  It was held in Austin, Texas and I’m hoping it continues to be held there.  I loved Austin!

Last night some of my friends on facebook started talking about the “F” quilts hanging in the show.  First let me say that I was not offended by any quilt in the show.  I think of quilts, all quilts, as art.  Some are based on subjects that I don’t particularly care for, but I keep in mind that it is the art of the maker and can be as volatile as any art in any museum.  Be warned.  You never know what you will see in a museum or in a quilt show.  If you don’t want your young children exposed to art, leave them at home.

Group quilt made for a friend who was fighting cancer

Group quilt made for a friend who was fighting cancer

That being said, I loved the “F” quilts!  I took photos of both and of the sheets telling about them.  Unfortunately, the photo telling about the more controversial of the two is blurry.  I’m putting it on the blog anyway.   (Click on the photos if you want to enlarge them to see or read them better.)  The Fuck You Cancer quilt spoke to me because I’ve had family die from cancer and many friends have fought it.  My cousin is fighting it now.  I’ve thought this exact phrase as my dear friend Catherine was battling breast cancer last year, for the second time.  I wish I had made a quilt like this for her!  I wasn’t quilting last year, so it was not a possibility and hopefully there will never be another need for it.

testing censorship and playing with words on quilts

testing censorship and playing with words on quilts

The more controversial quilt is also a group quilt.  They wanted to make a quilt that tested the boundaries of text and censorship.  The Give a F*ck quilt was born of that desire.  It was not my favorite quilt in the show and I’ll admit I was a little shocked when I first saw it, but it did not offend me.  I like this quilt!  I think it’s fun.  Seriously, who hasn’t heard this word nowadays?  It’s really not that shocking anymore.  That may be sad, but it’s true.  The times are different and this word is spoken often in movies, homes and in public, especially by younger people.

I'm sorry this is blurry, but I could still read it.  Hope you can too.

I’m sorry this is blurry, but I could still read it. Hope you can too.  Click to enlarge, it’s easier to read then.

I did not take a photo of the quilt that made me the most uncomfortable.  The one that came the closest to “offending” me was a pixelated gun.  When I first came up on it, I just saw the black, white and red.  Then I really “saw” the picture in the quilt.  I didn’t like it.  I am a gun owner.  I use them here on my rural land.  I don’t hunt, but I have them for protection against the occasional snake and that sort of thing.  I don’t dislike guns or even the thought of quilts with guns on them, but I was uncomfortable looking at that particular gun quilt this weekend.  It brought back memories of family gun deaths and then made me think of national tragedies.  To me, the gun was much more “offensive” than the “F” quilts.  I didn’t feel that the gun should be “celebrated” in this way at this time.  That was my feeling and my reaction.  You are entitled to your own.

***I’ve had a comment that explains the gun quilt more.  It is not a celebration but speaks of the gun deaths of children.  Thank you, amyps!  This is a great reminder that you should always read the quilt’s “story”!

I wonder if the “F” quilts would have been controversial if they had been hanging in a larger show?  Maybe International Quilt Festival in Houston?


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14 Responses to Controversy — Warning The F Word is used in this post

  1. Jan Thompson says:


    You may have opened Pandora’s Box with this one, but “Bully for You” for taking on the subject!

    I’ll be surprised if Karey Bresenham (Houston International Quilt Festival) is interested in an exhibit about the F word.

    As a Cancer survivor, she might agree with the “F cancer” sentiment, but she is way too much of a Southern Lady to couch her opinion in those words.

    I don’t like the fact that the F word has become so commonly used on TV programs, especially when young children are likely to hear it.

    That being said, I don’t claim I have not used it myself many times. I’m not proud of that fact but, to be fair, I have to admit it

    Perhaps my dislike of seeing the word on quilts is the fact that I think of quilts as permanent and spoken words as temporary. And the F word isn’t among those words that I feel deserve being saved for posterity. Although


    • I don’t think there’s been too much of a controversy about my post. Of course, you never know. The post will be here for a good long time so it could happen at any time. 😉 Thank you for your thoughts and for leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

  2. Jan Thompson says:

    Don’t know what I was going to say after “Although” so just cut that word out of the rely.

    Hugs, Jan T

  3. Pingback: Let me put this bluntly… | Thomas Knauer Sews

  4. You are exactly right. It is Art. People need to get over themselves.

  5. I love your sentiments! And, that you are honest and thoughtful in your opinions! I also LOVE LOVE that you are in Trinidad! (We have “the rusty nail farm” in Teague.

  6. amyps says:

    I made one of those blocks. Thank you for your thoughtful discourse.

    About the gun quilt – it wasn’t celebratory, rather it was in response to the fact that in Chicago, where the maker lives, 500 children died as a result of gun violence. (Her husband works for the schools & get a report on the subject – daily!)

    • Thank you so very much for clarifying the gun quilt for me! That’s what happens when you don’t read the information with the quilt. You jump to the wrong conclusion and make a fool of yourself! I appreciate it!

      Congratulations on being part of the “F” quilt! It’s been quite a conversation starter. I’ve enjoyed seeing it and talking about it. My son even read the blog posting, which is rare, and loved it. I knew he would, if he saw it.

  7. I`m a young person, and I don`t like using rude language. That being said, it`s not too shocking to me when other people use it. It just somehow seems more offensive that it was thought and and put there after a great deal of thought, instead of it slipping out on the fly in a bit of heated conversation. It is a word I reserve when times are very pressing and horrible, like a fire or car crash, and really when I am not thinking straight to stop myself from saying it. And I know that cancer is terrible and requires some humor to deal with it, but why does so much of society think that part of being an opinionated individual requires being crass and crude? I have strong opinions on everything under the sun, but I try to convey them intelligently and politely. Is that so hard to do?

    And the gun quilt that was supposed to protest gun based deaths? I think there should have been some imagery that shows it is a protest, instead of leaving only the explanation for it. The quilt will be forever, and the paper the story is written on is fleeting.

    • Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      I’m hoping the gun quilt has some explanation on the label which is hopefully sewn to the back of the quilt. You’re right, the paper explanation won’t last long and too often the information that makes a quilt important to someone is lost over the years. Then a precious quilt is often used for packing material during a move or clothing protection while working under a car.

      It’s not hard to express opinions intelligently and politely if you’ve been taught to do that, but many in our society are not taught to be polite or even intelligent anymore. Our children are taught to pass standardized tests in school instead of to think for themselves. Cashiers can’t make change, Crude, crass behavior passes for humor and makes millions of dollars for the people who act crude and crass. It’s sad all the way around.

      • I don`t think all aspects of our educational system do that. I`m only just in college now, and many of my in class tests were fill in the blank or essay questions that required analyzation beyond a recitation of facts, especially in my History courses. I think that may just have been due to the fact that I took i.b. (instead of the more standard A.P, at least for American schools) courses, and they expect some deeper thinking.

        I think crude behavior only survives because enough people let it slide with the thinking that ‘there`s no point trying to stop this behavior, it`s everywhere.’ I agree with the change thing, though. I know I can`t!

      • You are correct, not all schools do that. I was mostly addressing the schooling our children get pre college and university, especially in Texas, which is truly the only state education I’m familiar with. You do indeed have to think for yourself in a higher education situation, even in Texas. A professor is not going to coddle anyone. A person is supposed to go into higher education because the want to learn. If they don’t put in the effort, a professor is not going to hold your hand and walk you through it so you can pass a test.

        I also agree with you about the rude language and behavior, if people as a whole don’t object and try to change it, starting in their own homes, it won’t change.

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