I got a lot of responses back from my last week’s post about my thoughts on judging. Some responses were private and held surprisingly strong opinions. It is just my opinion; I want quilters to do what gives them joy – whether that be to compete, or just enjoy their own quilts and share them with friends and family.
Just like last week, I’m going to post photos of my landscape, just for grins. This week it is photos from previous years and seasons, and some plants and trees that are no longer with us.
Based on the responses from last week’s post, I do want to address why there are judged contests in the first place. Just because they exist doesn’t mean you should feel the need to enter or have your quilt judged. I am addressing why they exist and why you might care, even if you will never enter.
- Part of the reason I am writing about this today is because it’s been a tough week to remain sane in (beyond the horrific shooting that occurred). Hubby and I are fixing a crawl space issue that has plagued us for 23 years. We’ve thrown lots of $ and workmen at it and finally found an actual fix. In addition to $zillion x 5, the entrance to the crawl space entrance is in my sewing room. There’s the workmen in and out, the boombox (how could I deny them that? It’s nasty down there), and just having my back to all that. It disturbs my peace and perhaps distracts me more than it should. I know, this is a #firstworldproblem.
- I went to the Loomis Guild Quilt Show last weekend and it was wonderful! I just don’t have the energy to go through my photos and post. I didn’t even post my own guild’s show this year. So sorry! It was a great show.
- I’ll probably write more about this later, but I declared my trapunto bubble quilt dead. It has both cotton and silk bleeds on the formerly white silk dupioni. It’s not reparable. By the way, I used Synthrapol on it and it turned the blinding white dupioni a dingy, icky, yellowy off white. I am crushed. I have responded to many, many ideas about a fix and there is none. Remember, it is a mix of cotton and silk with wool batting. It’s dead. RIP.
Oh a brighter note, let’s talk about quilt shows. There are local shows, regional shows, international shows, for-profit shows, non-profit shows.
The 2 biggest shows are AQS Paducah and the Houston International Quilt Festival. There are also the Mancuso shows: New England, Pennsylvania, Pacific Int’l, Mid Atlantic and Greenville. And the iconic Road to California. QuiltCon is for Modern’s. We all miss the Tokyo Quilt Show which went under during the pandemic.
The Houston folks have added Long Beach (I’m teaching!) and Salt Lake City. The AQS organization also has shows in Grand Rapids, Des Moines, Daytona Beach and Branson. If I’ve forgotten any major show, pls write to me.
There are exhibits also – from SAQA, to regional/local exhibits, to museums and galleries.
Why do these shows/exhibits exist and why care?
It encourages others to quilt. I remember very clearly the first time I attended my local guild’s show. There were quilts that blew me away! In some cases they intimidated me and in some, they inspired me. No matter what, they made an impact! Here I am 23 years later, inspired by that local show.
It shares the beauty of our craft with the world. Quilts are just beautiful. Attendees at quilt shows are generally a happy bunch. I remember grousing at Houston because the line was so long to get in and a nearby quilter gently said something to the effect of “What could be a more happy place to be?”. True! I love, love, love that feeling of being at a quilt show, surrounded by beauty.
It betters the business side of the industry. Do you enjoy the huge selection of fabrics and notions that you find in your local quilt shop? Visitors are inspired by shows and the fabric and notion industry responds with new and fresh products and fabric. Think of how much better fabrics and notions are than 10 years ago.
Shows can create entirely new niches in quilting. Think about the Modern Quilt movement and QuiltCon. How would Modern’s have found their peeps if not for QuiltCon? Vendors love that because it taps into an entirely new audience. And SAQA shows bring art quilters together. Win – win.
Prizes and vendors make the quilting pie bigger. Notice how some of the Big Name Quilters did not show in the virtual shows during the pandemic? They do look to prize money for income. If not for the prize money, some of the best quilts would never come to be. Maybe money does not motivate you, but it probably motivates some of the quilters that inspire you.
It keeps the quilting world fresh and relevant. The bar gets higher every year. My quilt that won Runner Up, Best of Show in 2014 might not even jury in today. It keeps things moving, yes, even in the Traditional world with better reproduction fabrics and notions that make piecing easier and more accurate.
Quilt shows bring excellent opportunities for education that would not exist otherwise. This is a biggie. New long arm quilters will land at a show and take classes for 4 days straight so that they can go home and use their machines with confidence. I have opportunities to teach to an international audience. I also get the opportunity to take classes from someone who I could never take otherwise.
Quilt shows expose you to genres that you wouldn’t see otherwise. I remember the feeling of seeing a portion of Quilt National at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. WOW! At that time, I had no idea that the Art Quilt even existed: there were quilts made of match sticks, twist ties, sheer fabrics, discarded items! That planted a seed in me that has grown and now I am an art quilter.
I hope you see the role that quilt shows and exhibits play in our mutual quilting world. Some of you have no interest in shows, exhibits, ribbons and the like. One of my favorite expressions:
We all build our own quilting world.
I think shows, competitions and exhibits help build a better quilting world for all of us.
I’ll share at: