This weekend is my guild’s quilt show. Quilt shows are big deals for guilds. For most, it’s how they make their money to offer more classes and programs for their members. Each year, attendance at quilt shows seems to decline. Not just ours, but others I have talked to indicate attendance is down on their areas as well. And shows I have attended year after year, seem less crowded.
So in discussing this with my husband, I asked him why he thought attendance was down. The economy is always a factor, since people whose disposable income is down won’t travel far, or spend as much. Understandable. But to me, the decline seems steady over the last 15 years or so.
So I asked my husband, as someone who is on the fringes, why he thought attendance wad down. Over the years he’s accompanied me to many quilt shows, but he doesn’t quilt, and he is careful with his opinions because he likes sleeping in the bedroom.
His opinion: computerized quilting. The results of computerized quilting machines is now so perfect that the gap between professional and hobbyist is a gulf. And hobbyists can’t compete. Yes, they can “quilt by checkbook”, if they can afford it, but then the finished product is not fully their work, eliminating a sense of pride that the hobbyist feels when they see their own creation from start to finish. And even those hobbyists who create some marvelous pieces cannot be as prolific as the computerized quilter. So shows are full of two very different levels of quality.
So, I don’t know. I see a lot of merit to my husband argument, but I’m not sure if that’s the whole story or not. What do you think? Is the traditional quilt show coming to an end? And is computerized quilting the catalyst?