Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Melody,

I attended the Paducah show, and was wow'ed by the big winners. However, on the drive back to Lexington, my friend and I started talking about how many of the quilts were quilted with Long Arm machines.

So, this got us thinking and decided that the rest of us who make our own tops, and do our own quilting are not really competing on a level playing field.

When I got home I went to check some other shows (especially Houston) and noticed that they have made quite a few changes.

I am asking your thoughts on 3 things.

Quilters paying someone else to quilt their quilts and only having to mention that they did not quilt it.
More than one person working on a quilt and competing with one person.
Whole cloth quilts, painted tops and then quilted.

There are separate categories on the entry forms for two-person quilts and quilted by longarm. They are competing within their own categories, against each other, except when it comes to Best of Show or other large prizes, in which those categories are also elegible. It is all up to the biases of the judges who wins, and that is always the case.

A funny thing happened at the Paducah show. There was a whole cloth quilt that looked like it had been done with Fabric paint and then layed in the sun with leaves and etc on it. Later when we were shopping we went into a shop that specialized in Japanese and Indonesian fabrics, and low and behold there was the fabric. This person had simply purchased a wide piece of fabric and quilted it and it got accepted into the show.

They probably submitted good slides. This could be the main reason why any quilt is accepted. If it looked good in the final shot why not accept it? There is no such thing as fairness when it comes to these contests. There are always stellar pieces that get ignored and the dopey one gets the prize. It is all subjective and a crap shoot. Just do your best, and enter a good clear picture and you eventually will find acceptance, or judges that agree with you.

I for one have lost interest in competing...

Melody

16 comments:

  1. entering and winning is sometimes a crapshoot.......I agree...there are always quilts that are overlooked for prizes and others that you wonder what the judges saw in them.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:44 PM

    I agree with the competing issue. When I finally decided to enter a show, from then on out it was tense while I was quilting. Worrying the whole time what the judges would say, etc... So now if I enter fine, if not fine. But one question if you have time or want to (not that you do too much on your blog that you don't want to) Can you tell us how to take good pictures of our quilts. Not just for entering into shows, but for our own personal record keeping. Thanks! D.H. in S.C.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with you Melody. In the past, I've entered baked goods into competition and seen box mix goods win. I've learned my lesson. I would never consider entering my fiber work into a contest. Opinions are just that - opinions and why risk getting hurt or irritated when it comes to one of my best loves - - my fiber art. Better to just enjoy it myself!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous2:48 PM

    See Carol Taylor interview on photographing your quilt.
    http://www.thequiltercommunity.com/tqc/articleDetail.do?postId=327

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm fully with you on this, Melody. Apart from being the least competitive person I know, I just want to be able to make what's in my head and in my heart. If other people like my work, great. If not, tough.

    Shirley in New Zealand

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous8:37 PM

    I went to an exhibition in the weekend and the quilt that won best of show was a kit with pattern, material and everything supplied. The person had added a couple of her own things to it but I thought it was a bit much that it won best of show. I for one feel that I have not completed a quilt if it is quilted on a long arm but thats me. I am like you and just do my own thing for ME.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I notice that at the Schweinfuth show this summer - the show associated with Quilting by the Lake = they have prohibited the entry of quilts that were done on programmed longarms. In my opinion, that's a step in the right direction. Although a saleswoman tried to dissuade me of my opinion just yesterday, I do not believe that pushing buttons and walking out of the room while the machine does the work is quilting. Ironically, that's what people said about machine quilting not too long ago...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, machine quilting on a regular machine, not a longarm, is just as hard as handquilting. Quicker, but just as hard, maybe harder. Think about trying to draw by moving the paper against a fixed pencil..I know nothing about longarms.
    As for the wholecloth quilt that was purchased fabric, maybe the judges knew that (or maybe not). After all, if a wholecloth quilt was all one plain colour, you wouldn't worry about whether she had dyed it herself or purchased it, would you?
    I enter shows to let people see my quilts, not to win. Winning is always unpredictable. Unfortunately nearly all shows seem to be juried/judged so it's hard to share your quilts without entering shows.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I guess entering any kind of juried art exhibition is a lottery, and should be entered in that spirit. Although it is still a blow if rejection comes.

    This business of mechanical quilting - I'm afraid I cannot tell what is longarm and what not - but I think that the overall design and content of the quilt as a piece of art work are the main criteria. For instance, are the latest digitally printed quilts by Michael James quilted with a long arm? Also what about all that mechanical looking 'fill in' quilting which often bears no design relationship to the content of the quilt?

    To avoid situations like a piece of commercial cloth simply being quilted and accepted as art work, the European juried quilt shows request a sample to be submitted with the slides.

    If the fabric has to be manipulated: pieced, appliqued, etc. before it is quilted then I guess I don't make real quilts myself. I draw an image on the computer, have it digitally printed onto lawn cotton by a company and hand quilt it intensively. Is it less valid because I don't cut it up then stitch it together again? The quality of the design and the workmanship should be the criteria by which it is judged.

    But then, whose idea of good design? As you say, it is just a crapshoot.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. Shirley8:21 AM

    One of the few things that we can count on is change. Remember when quilts were handquilted and machine quilting was looked upon with disdain...and machine quilted quilts were in a separate category...etc., etc.??? Speaking for myself (whose quilts, by the way, have never even been awarded an honorable mention), the joy and satisfaction in quiltmaking is the derived from the exercise of the creative process and the finished product. Putting a quilt in a show is sharing. If one wins a ribbon or a cash reward, it's icing on the cake but it's not the reason the quilt was made in the first place. Per the Thesaurus competition = rivalry (opposition, war, struggle) or contest (fight, clash, struggle, battle). What in the heck does that have to do with the creative process? With making a quilt? With designing a work of art? Oops! I'm falling off my soapbox!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mel,

    Your author seemed to think that every quilt done on a longarm is done for pay by another person. Not the case anymore. A number of professional quilters have thier own machines.

    I'm not sure what the author is complaining about... a lot of it seems to be sour grapes.. but maybe that's me. Choose to enter or choose not to. Choose to attend, or choose not to. But don't expect other to change to adapt to your personal opinion.

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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com