Threadbenders Quilt Shop

Threadbenders Quilt Shop
Threadbenders Quilt Shop

Friday, June 27, 2014

Show Us!: Some Thoughts about Quilt Shows

Squares made for a MMQG challenge contest
It's time for the county fair. We've already seen a number of folks coming in to finish a project so it can be put in the competition. 

We've also heard a fair amount of angst about that. Is my quilt good enough? Do I really need a hanger? What if they don't like it? What if they don't let it into the show?

I'm going to step outside the curtain for a moment and talk about this from my own experiences. I've personally judged a couple of quilt shows. And I've been in countless quilt shows. There are some very important things that happen when you show your quilt.

  • Quilt shows count most because they value quilts and quilters. When you walk through a quilt show, you see quilt after quilt after quilt hung as art and treated with complete respect. Not only that but you can walk your husband and kids through that show and point that out to them. It's a place where the community recognizes what quilting is. A quilt show honors your work as art, as craft, and as human expression. And about time too.

  • Quilt shows give people a place to show off. Quilting is largely private. We do go to meetings. But for most of us, there are quilts that no one gets to see. That's demoralizing. Part of celebrating your work is showing it off.

  • Quilt shows expand our interest and view point about quilts. What you see someone else do may spark a new idea or thought for other work of your own. And isn't that a good thing!

  • Quilt show bring us together. We get to see some of the amazing people in our world that are either doing something we do or that are doing something we may never do. It's a lovely way to expand our world and our community. And because quilting is private, you might never meet them any other way.
I have judged quilt shows. And the only truth about that is that it's one person's opinion. Or a committee of three. As a judge you are told what you need to consider for your decision. 

But there are a lot of human factors here. You might not  let this woman pick out your lipstick. So what she has to say about your quilt is more about her than you.
Now about that list of concerns
  • Yes, you really do need to put on a hanging sleeve. It's just how they hang quilts. If you're worried, come in and we'll show you how. 

  • Yes, you do need to label your quilt.
    It's like a non-verbal child on a bus. You at least need to pin a note on his coat. You should label all your quilts. If the critics don't want to know, your kids will. And their kids. It's important anyway.

  • What if they don't like your quilt?
    That's sort of like not liking what's for dinner. There's always peanut butter in the pantry. If they don't like your quilt, that's their loss. You might want to know why. But if it doesn't matter to you, it doesn't matter. The only real judge of your work is you yourself. And the only standards that matter are your own. It is possible to do something they've never seen before and don't know how to respond to. It may not get an award but it will open their eyes.

  • What if they don't want to show your quilt?
    Who are they? Years ago I ran into a woman on the stair case at a quilt show weeping her eyes out. She told me they wouldn't take her quilt because it was a cathedral window and against the rules. I asked her who made the stupid rules. Since it was the quilt guild's board, she got on the board the next year. She changed the rules so that they could and would show cathedral quilts. And went on to being a fabulous national quilt teacher.
Show your work for your joy, in recognition of your path as an artist and a crafts person. There is a winner for the contest. But everyone who shows their quilt wins in self respect, in expression and in exposure. Take your husband and your kids through the show. And watch them watch the people who love and respect your work. It's an eye opener for them too.

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