First, I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the Why Do You Quilt poll and left comments--either on my blog or on the RTCQ (rec.crafts.textiles.quilting newsgroup) discussion by the same name. Although I'm posting an update on the poll, it will remain open until the end of March. I realize some quilters don't get to log on as often as they'd like. So far, the top two poll reasons for quilting are self-expression and to create beauty.
I am so enjoying everybody's responses--hearing your personal stories, thoughts, and feelings. I knew why I quilted, and tried to stretch beyond myself in creating the poll choices, but as I suspected, quilters' motivations are as individual as the quilts we create, and for many of the quilters who responded, the poll choices were not complete or totally missed the mark.
One reason stated by many respondents--one that I myself can relate to and should have known to include on the poll--is simple enjoyment of the process, and playing with the colors and textures. It just gives us a good feeling. For some, the love of color came at the knee of a mother or grandmother who quilted. One quilter mentioned always having the love of color and especially enjoying Tempura paint and the box of 64 Crayola Crayons she had as a child. (Oh yes, I remember that box of crayons too.)
Obsession, addiction, compulsion. Or in a more positive light, making order out of chaos. The quilter who offered this reason said that she can't control the world, but she can control her scrap box.
One said she used quilting to extend the length of her arms in order to hug a child.
For some quilting is a distraction from the challenges of daily life. For others a balancing of the left and right brain. Often it is one thing we do just for ourselves.
On a more serious note, two quilters stated that quilting was a replacement for a creative outlet they'd lost when they'd had to give up their jobs due to illness--one an advertising designer and the other a writer.
Some pointed out that they enjoyed being part of the community of quilters. Yep, that's a good one. Quilters are some of the most generous, caring people I've ever had the pleasure to know, above and beyond sharing the simple love of the art.
Naturally, there were the humorous observations--legal, non-fattening, and cheaper than Bingo. Our one male respondent (so far) said quilting kept him out of bars. Then he confessed to living in a dry county, but having no other way to explain his huge stash to his wife.
The most straightforward answer, and perhaps the most accurate, is that we quilt because we are quilters.