Apparently, the March/April issue of Quilter’s Home magazine was “too hot” for Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts — at least that’s what they told the distributor for the magazine when they refused to carry the “controversial” issue in their chain of stores. This after editor/owner Mark Lipinski had paid $2,500 to wrap some 45,000 copies in plastic like a porno mag.
Why so much fuss about a quilting magazine? Because the publication dared to include Shocking Quilts, an article by Jake Finc.
The shocking quilts include Gwendolyn Magree’s Southern Heritage/Southern Shame, a quilted response to Mississippi’s refusal to remove the confederate flag from the state flag (which shows lynching), and Mary Beth Bellah’s Helping Hands, which is apparently a cheeky representation of erectile dysfunction — complete with a hand and little blue “pills” made of fabric, a couple of which have actual penises printed on them.
These quilts are the very definition of art — not just something made by hand, but unique works exploring issues of our society. You remember art, don’t you? It’s one of the ways people communicate & exchange ideas, start dialogs. Well, Jo-Ann will have none of that.
Please confine your creativity to the kits provided.
Oh, bother. I thought that with Bush banished from the White House, censorship would move back into the hands of individual consumers. You remember them, right? People who choose to buy — or not to buy — based on their own particular set of values.
But Jo-Ann feels the need to protect us from ideas & creativity.
…Hmmmm… Doesn’t that seem to be against the mission of an arts & crafts retailer?
Let’s see. This is what the company has to say for itself:
Today, Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. is a leading national specialty retailer of crafting, decorating, and sewing products-a “Create-It-Yourself” Superstore. We sell fashion and decorator fabrics, related notions, patterns, crafts, seasonal products and other merchandise. We sell the components to which our customers add their own talent and time to make fun and exciting projects. We are the only fabric and craft retailer that offers creative people everything they need-the products, the assistance, and the inspiration-to fulfill their creative dreams.
So what if my dreams include penis-print fabrics? What if my exciting project explores racial history, or otherwise doesn’t share your CEO’s political philosophies or religious leanings?
I guess then I’d need to shop elsewhere.
I could just let that irony be the last nail in their coffin, let the marketplace speak & pronounce the chain dead for such a stupid thing — because I and millions like me won’t shop there anymore. I personally have a Hobby Lobby and a Michael’s — both well-stocked. As well as an internet full of other options. I urge all readers to use any of them rather than Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores.
But I don’t think that’s enough. I think we all need to support Lipinski and Quilter’s Home, let them know that we appreciate the coverage & support of creative artists & atypical projects — and the best way to do that is to subscribe. Yes, even if you don’t personally quilt; give it as a gift.
Or better yet, keep the mag & dare to be inspired to make your own radical quilts.