As time has gone on, I have done more and more co-hosting with my mom on her PBS quilting show, “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting.” For several decades now, my mom has been half of the “Fons & Porter” duo. She and Porter — that’s the other half — made quite the names for themselves in the quilting industry. They’re titans, really. Titans with thimbles. A while back, Porter decided that she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren and play more golf. She was able to retire and chose to do so, a decision that wasn’t sudden or unexpected, really. Time marches on and the woman had worked hard for years — she earned the right to hang up her professional needle and thread.
When the producers of LOQ sat down to figure out what would be next for the show when the Porter half eventually moved on, it seemed pretty clear that:
a) I was becoming quite the little quilter
b) folks in the quilt world seemed to like me
c) mom and I had done the show together before, as I
had appeared as a guest several times already
d) if one Fons was good, two might be completely awesome
And so it was decided that I would come on for at least a few series as the co-host of the show. I was thrilled. Mom and I love working together. In fact — and I hope I’m not going to get in trouble for putting this out there — Mom was unsure of <i>her</i> future with the show until I came onboard. She’s kind of interested in retiring at this point too, you know. But once we started taping the show together, she was hooked. Totally. The crew, the floor director, the producers, the IPTV people — we all have a blast working on the show and it was clear immediately that it was a new age.
The good news is that we get lots and lots of emails and letters from quilters all over the country that say they really like the shows with Mom and me. Some of them/you even seek me out online personally and email me directly to tell me that you like what I’m doing and that you’re happy to see me on the program. Really, most of the time the mail is good and it’s so very, very helpful for me to hear that. Because I’ll tell you, it ain’t easy being the new kid. It’s a lot of pressure and I have a lot to learn.
It doesn’t help when I get an email that is not nice, which does happen from time to time. I got one today, which is why I’m bringing all this up. No one emails me to tell me I’m a terrible person, but one lady told me that as a retired costume designer, my clothes were all wrong. Another said that on the show she watched recently I mentioned my manicure too much — which is true, in fact, because it was the second show I ever did and I was nervous as hell — and several have asked me flat out when Porter would be back. That was the gist of the one today.
Quilters are wonderful people, in general. They are usually a titch more generous, kind, creative, and compassionate than the average person. But they’re human. They like what they like and change can be frightening — especially if the quilter facing change is over 65 or so, and it happens that many quilters today indeed hover somewhere around that age. Some of them won’t like a young-ish upstart like me coming in and messing with their Saturday TV ritual. They’ll continue to miss Porter and tsk-tsk at the Fons & Fons menu we’re offering them. Some will stop watching the show and that is too bad.
But others will start watching. I believe this like I believe in the other good things that are going to happen as a result of this change.
Why? Because “Love of Quilting” is a really good show and I honestly think it’s getting better. Fons & Porter had been doing their thing a long time. Without a change, a freshening up, a new guard to liven up the crowd, perhaps the show would’ve become stale as it went on. Perhaps it already was stale. All I know is that I am full of energy and enthusiasm for the American quilt and this thing is my family business, people. I’m like the next Godfather in the quilt mafia. The art form is in my blood and I feel passionately about its future, what I can contribute to the industry at large and my own community and family. I love working with my mother, I love working in Iowa twice a year, and I love to teach quilting techniques and make projects that inspire people all over the country.
I can’t be Porter. I can’t be Fons The Elder, either. I can only be myself, and I will continue to be myself until my last breath, whether I’m blogging on PaperGirl, co-hosting a television show, spending the weekend in New York, making theater in Chicago, working, playing, or somehow otherwise engaged.
Thank you, quilters, for watching the show. Keep watching.
[This was reposted, with permission of course, from a PaperGirl entry for 10-28-10 at www.maryfons.com]