Thursday, January 10, 2008

Black and white and read all over?

Last week, on the advice of a friend with longtime publicity experience, I wrote and sent out a press release about opening the Quilt Studio. It was sent to 23 local newspapers and newsletters in eastern North Carolina. Aside from a few emails complaining my document format was "too new and please re-send in old Word" the effect seemed like a big fat zero with local media. Then last night's Carteret News-Times must have had a slow news day because the press release, with additional fluff, merited an enormous (almost a quarter of the page!) in the Arts and Entertainment section. http://www.carteretnewstimes.com

The News-Times is our largest local paper and comes out three times a week. Affectionately called 'the mullet wrapper' by locals, the News-Times is famous for its wrong info and misspellings. Sure enough, they got the studio phone number wrong! It's 252-726-4117, thank you! FYI: a mullet around here is not a redneck hairstyle but rather a local fish A 'mullet wrapper' means the paper is used to wrap up old garbage!

While I appreciate the publicity, with classic News-Times malapropism, the writer began the article with this:

Quilts are often a symbol of the past, provoking fond memories of time spent with loved ones at quilting bees or snuggling under a big quilt on a cold night.

Provoking? He must have meant evoking don't you think? Provoked means PO'd about something. I could be provoked that this craft, again, was relegated to some hazy misty old-fashioned scenario of long gone history. Used to be I was glad that I'd finally grown up and gotten some silver in my hair. Maturity lent me some semblance of authority. I'd been running around quilt shows and teaching since I was a hippie chick of nineteen and remember when I'd arrive at some gig and the ladies would look right past me, like I was a porter shlepping in bags of quilts, and inquire "When is the quilt teacher arriving?"

Don't get me wrong--I love the old quilts but also love the new wild-n-crazy stuff. I am certainly not an old-fashioned quilter who puts on her bonnet and rocks away my days piecing odd fragments of fabric together. Quilters have been fighting this QUILT=OLD equation for a long time. In the 1970s when Bicentennial quilt fever hit, I saw a cartoon that showed a PR man zooming up to a mountain cabin and leaping from his Jaguar with contract in hand. As he rushes to the porch to sign up the LOL (little old lady) quilter, she takes out her pipe long enough to say, "You better talk to my agent, Sonny!" Here's the contemporary equation for today: QUILT=ART and all of us who quilt can help bring the public up to date. Make quilts, share them, and show them!

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