Quilt shows and the fall of traditional quilting

During my travels on the Internet this morning, I thought I’d stop in at IQA and see if the entry form for the 2008 show was available yet, thinking I might be able to finish up The Misery Quilt in time to enter, and wondering in the back of my mind what category I’d enter it in. It’s beyond “traditional,” what with the embroidery already there, the original layout, the mixed techniques, and the embellishments that I plan to add later.

…there were only two lonely categories for traditional quilts, one for appliquéd quilts and one for pieced quilts…

The entry form wasn’t there yet, but I looked at the page with the winning quilts from the 2007 show, and I was quite surprised when the categories for art quilts just went on and on and on, in multiple (but seemingly) minuscule variations for different sizes, types, and styles, and then way down at the bottom, there were only two lonely categories for traditional quilts, one for appliquéd quilts and one for pieced quilts which were not even further divided into “small” and “large.”

I didn’t enter the IQA show last year, but seeing the winners page reminded me that I’d been meaning to go on about this very issue for quite some time, ever since I read Paula’s post that referred to Jeanna Kimball’s post about judging the Houston Show in late September, 2007. Jeanna Kimball is a traditional quilter, obviously a good one since she’s out there judging, and she made some interesting observations about the number of traditional quilts that were entered in the Houston show:

One element of the contest, however, surprised me a great deal—I still can’t get over it. The last time I paid attention to quilt contests, the categories with the most quilts seemed to be traditional quilts.

It is not so any longer. The entries have dropped so low in traditional pieced and traditional appliqué that there is only one category for each—no longer are there two categories with one being large quilts and the other being small. What happened!? Where are all of the traditional quilts?

I have to second that question, but I’m afraid I know what happened to the traditional quilts. The quilters who enter the larger shows have discovered that traditional doesn’t win big. Oh sure, if you have the best traditional quilt in the show, you get the first place award in the traditional category, but when was the last time a quilt from the traditional category was awarded “Best of Show” with the big money attached? Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ve watched (and entered) the major shows since 2001, and my overall feeling about it just from what I’ve seen and experienced is that it’s been many years. Continue reading “Quilt shows and the fall of traditional quilting”

Showing your quilts – Why do it?

Part one of a four part series about entering quilt shows, the jurying and judging process. This series is based on my experiences at quilt shows and classes I’ve taken about the quilt judging process.

I like the challenge of doing my best work on my show quilts

I recently gave a lecture at a guild meeting about showing quilts and the quilt judging process, and I’d like to share it here as well. I’m sure many of my readers have been to some sort of quilt show, but how many of you have entered your own quilt in a show? I love to enter quilt shows for a number of reasons. If I know I want to enter one of my quilts in a show, it makes it easy to set deadlines and goals for myself based on the entry date for that show, and this tends to keep me moving along on a project because I know it needs to get done at a certain time. I like the challenge of designing something new and different, and doing my best work on my show quilts.

Feedback from the judges when my quilt is returned is always educational, because it tells me what the most notably well done parts of the quilt are, and also shows me where I need to improve my skills. The feedback from some shows is more clear than others, and we’ll go into that more later. Another big reason I like to enter shows is the excitement of winning! Continue reading “Showing your quilts – Why do it?”

Stars In My Hand awarded 2nd place at NQA Show!

Stars In My Hand Quilt

Woohoo! I’m sooo excited! Yes, I’m tooting my own horn here, but I can’t help it! Stars In My Hand was awarded 2nd Place in the Bed Quilt – Pieced category at the NQA Quilt Show in Columbus, Ohio last weekend. This is my first award at a major show and I am really, really jazzed about it! You can see larger pictures and detail views of Stars In My Hand in the DreamWeaver’s Quilts Galleries and see a list of all the award winners on the NQA site.