I mentioned in my previous post that I entered the Houston show and that I would write about the story behind that entry. I was shocked to find out that I juried into the World of Beauty show! The reason that is so surprising is that this is the third time I have entered that quilt!
I wrote about making Morning Breeze here, here, here and here. I tried to capture the beauty and texture that I enjoy on my daily morning stroll through my garden. It is a true two-sided quilt with one side white with black cotton thread and the other side is black with light gray silk thread. There was a lot of angst in the making of this quilt as I documented in previous posts. It took 6 months to complete. It is my favorite quilt so far.
Since this quilt has shown before, I’m comfortable posting this before the Houston show.
Now the fact that I was finally juried into the Houston show was not really a story about perseverance. It is more a story of circumstance than anything else. When you are trying to get into a juried show, there are circumstances you can control and lots of things that you cannot control.
NOTE: For some reason, the full front and back photos are coming out on my screen (and yours?) with yellow spots. I will try to fix that, but for now, I’ll post this way. The full resolution photos do not have the spots.
I can control what work I enter-I need to enter fresh work of the highest quality. I need to get the best photography I can. Photography is kind of like make up or Spanx. You need to do your best to showcase the quilt’s best features and minimize its flaws. I need to read the directions and do what they tell me to do….on time. My quilt needs to be clean and hang well. A well-blocked quilt will prevail over a wavy one. These are things that I control.
I can’t control how the juror perceives my work. I can’t control what other entries are submitted, the number of entries allowed, nor the unspoken prejudices that some jurors might have. There may be a bunch of other entries in the same style and genre as mine. There can be an extraordinarily high number of entries in my category that year. All this I cannot control.
I can’t control how the organization’s category system treats my entry. For instance in the Houston show, all whole cloth quilts that are bigger than a mini must enter the “Merit Quilting” category. Until this year, long-armed, mid-armed and domestic machine quilted work were judged altogether. Every year that category is dominated by long-armed quilts. This year that changed-this is definitely a change in my favor.
So why did my quilt jury in this year and not in the previous 2 years? There are all kinds of things I’ll never know, like the competition pool those years, number of entries, etc. What I do know about this year are two things: there’s been a change in my category that enhances my prospects, and I have a new “photo” of my work.
My black and white whole cloth quilts are extremely difficult to photograph. Morning Breeze is really about line and shadow-the camera has a hard time capturing that. I’ve had it professionally photographed twice.
This year I had a scan done by RCP Scanning Services in Michigan. RCP specializes in scanning art and this is a whole new concept. RCP has a specialized scanner that represents the piece as exactly as possible. The price was reasonable and I got an excellent image with a ridiculously high resolution. That is what I sent to Houston. I am convinced it made a difference.
Also, the change in category helped I’m sure-I’m competing only with other domestic machine quilters.
I also want to tell you about why I entered that quilt again. I felt very strongly that that Morning Breeze needed to hang in Houston for three reasons. First, I want the domestic sit-down (DSM) machine quilter to be recognized and featured. It is important to me for the world to hear/see that voice. I feel that the DSM quilter is under represented at major quilt shows.
My piece is done on a sit-down machine and it looks like it. And that’s beautiful! It does not need sparkly embellishment or lots of perfectly straight lines (ruler work-NOT my thang!). Quilts like that are beautiful! But I wanted to show that a very DSM-looking quilt can be beautiful also!
Secondly, I wanted my artist’s voice to be heard. Morning Breeze is about seeing the beauty in drought-tolerant plants. I hope the viewer can envision the grasses swaying in the wind. I want to show how a beautiful yard does not necessarily need color nor thirsty plants, and that simple texture and movement are glorious on their own. I hope the viewer sees that.
Finally, and this is unabashedly personal, I wanted my work shown. It is unique. I don’t see anyone doing that kind of two-sided, high value contrast DSM work.
What a joyous moment it was when I realized that I had been juried in! Paula Beck was the first to PM me and I knew nothing about it until then. I went to the link and saw my name there. But I was worried-why did I not receive an email? Is this for real? Also, I had heard that work for Houston was supposed to have never been shown before. Uh oh-if that was the case, I violated the rules.
So I wrote the Houston people and asked them if I was in. They kindly explained that if I had read the directions, I would have known that no email will be sent. Artists were instructed to check the link. And she confirmed that it did not need to be new work. Whew-I was really in!
So if you’re in Houston, be sure to enjoy the show! If you see my quilt, remember it’s a two-sided piece. Make sure the White Glove assistant flips it over.