I hate rules.
Let me clarify. I hate rules in which I see no purpose.
This has been a trait of mine since I was a kid. I remember in 9th grade Chemistry, my teacher, Mr. Henderson, a 60 year old body-building enthusiast that creeped out all the girls in the class, had this rule that if you didn't have your name on your paper, you'd lose 5 points.
Now, this is a totally reasonable rule. I used to teach third grade, and it would drive me crazy when students didn't put their name on work, especially at the beginning of the year, before I learned everyone's handwriting. I get it.
But at the beginning of every class, Mr. Henderson would go around and check that everyone did their homework. We'd pull our homework out, put it on our desk, and he'd give you a 100 if you completed all the questions, and a 0 if you didn't bring it.
One morning he came to my desk and wrote a 95 at the top of my paper in red ink.
"Mr. Henderson, I completed all the questions."
"Yes, but you didn't write your name at the top of your paper."
"But it's on my desk. I'm sitting in front of it. We aren't turning it in, it is clearly my homework."
"Yes, but the rule is that you lose 5 points if you don't include your name."
"That makes sense if we're turning in the work, but is irrelevant if we're sitting in front of it the whole time you see it."
"Sorry, that's the rule."
"But that doesn't make any sense."
It went on like this for entirely too long.
Now, me a ninth-grade student shouldn't have been arguing with my teacher, at least not as long as I did, but this memory has stuck with me.
Rules that make no sense in certain contexts drive me insane.
I feel this way about most "rules" we have in the quilting world.
The rebellious 14 year old girl with waist length blond hair and braces, wants to break
Pablo Picasso famously said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
I love this quote. I believe it so firmly, I'd like to tattoo it on my arm. (Not literally, but you get my drift.)
This is what defines an artist.
They are a master at their craft. They know all the "rules", and more importantly, they know when they are relevant, and when it would be a brilliant idea to break them.
I'd like to invite you on a journey to become just that-- an artist.
To master your craft. Learn the proper way to do different techniques. Learn the "rules". But also learn how to break them in such a way that is surprising, brilliant, and definitive of your unique style.
If you’d like to join a community of quilters from around the world who are doing just that, I think you’d love Meander. Learn more about Meander, here.
So let's raise our figurative glasses and toast to breaking the rules.
What's your favorite quilt "rule" to break? What drives you crazy?