One of my 2015 goals is to enter my original quilts into local and national quilt shows as well as other venues that have “call for entries”. It’s a bit scary putting yourself out there, but my mantra this year is “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Plus, it’s great exposure and you never know who will see your work. Of course, coming off a first place win at QuiltCon doesn’t hurt for your confidence to enter other shows 🙂
I submitted a quilt that I recently completed— view of NYC from the Whitestone at 47mph—into the Northern Star Quilter’s Guild annual show. This was the 36th year for the show and it took place in Somers, NY this past weekend. Most of the quilts in the show were traditional or art quilts—not many modern quilts—but everyone in the Guild that I met during drop off and pick up were really accepting and complementary of my modern quilt. All quilts that were entered were accepted (not the case with all shows). You could elect to have it judged (which means you get written feedback from the judges when you pick up the quilt and you’re eligible for a ribbon). More on this later in the post!
The judges notes were really interesting. The three judges (all certified by the National Quilting Association) gave me almost perfect scores for visual impact and design. I did well (sevens and eights out of tens) in the Workmanship category areas and was even given some bonus points for “something extra” that the quilt has that isn’t covered in the other categories. In the comments, they wrote “Your story is told beautifully with limited fabrics and color choices.” Under “Needs Improvement” notes, they explained “Some skewing is noted of vertical piecing lines.” (not a surprise—I always didn’t enter it for this reason). It was also indicated that my quilt was held for “Judge’s choice”. I’m thinking that I came close to being awarded that ribbon too and that the technical issues may have prevented this—someone else’s quilt just may have been put together a little bit better. Seeing these comments are so helpful. They are both validating and motivating. While it’s great to hear what the judges have to say about what they liked, it’s even better to know how I can improve as a quilter.
When I submitted my quilts into my first show last year, I was initially really confused about the checkbox that had to be marked to be judged in the show. I thought to myself, why not? What do I have to lose? I even reached out to the organization presenting the show and asked if there was something I didn’t understand. The response was simple—some people just don’t want to hear comments or judgement from others. Personally, I think this is silly. Quilts are typically judged taking in account different criteria (including workmanship and design). You can have have a beautiful design, but if it’s poorly executed it’s going to take away from the visual impact (and vice versa). I think getting constructive criticism is a great thing—it makes you better at your craft. I often miss being in art school for this reason. The flip side of this is of course with anything creative, especially about design, can be subjective. If I strongly believe in one of my designs and a judge does not like it, I understand that it’s just one or a few people’s opinions and I can choose not to let the comments bother me. I think art school (and being ripped apart at times by my instructors and guest lecturers) prepared me for this.
Enough of me on my soapbox… here are photos of the quilt!
Now it’s you’re turn! Go make something awesome!