I’ve been talking with some of my private coaching clients and IAPQ members lately about how they think of themselves professionally. When someone asks you, “What do you do?” do you call yourself a professional quilter, a quilt artist, a quilting professional, an artist who works in fiber, or something else? Do you even call yourself a professional?
This conversation began when I was talking with a potential client and she thought that professional quilter meant someone who quilted on a longarm. Back when The Professional Quilter first began publication in September 1983, the longarm industry wasn’t even a shadow of what it is today. Back in the day, our readers were teachers, shop owners, pattern designers, judges, crafters and contemporary quiltmakers who sold their work. By strict definition, a professional was someone who made money from her work, so everyone was a professional quilter. A concern for many of our readers at that time was taking that leap to really think of themselves as professional. Thank goodness we’ve made progress on that point.
As a result of this conversation, I started thinking about the name of our organization and whether when we call ourselves the International Association of Professional Quilters, newer professionals in our field don’t see themselves with that label. Do they feel excluded because they think professional quilters are people who quilt for money, specifically with a longarm? I also think other “titles” could make a different group of professionals feel excluded.
So, I’m asking you to join in a conversation on our blog. What do you call yourself: Professional quilter? Quilting professional? Artist? Quilt artist? Quiltmaker? Artmaker? Something else? And, do you feel excluded by any of the other names?
Please share your thoughts below.