Tuesday, October 5, 2010

musings on entering shows

Recently I have been thinking about shows that require the work accepted not have been shown anywhere before. Perhaps the most famous of these is Quilt National. Now I have actually been fortunate enough to have been chosen for QN a couple of times back in the 90's. It is still an honor that I reference frequently. Of course I would have loved to get in again.

I can logically understand the rules of QN--after all they are the premier event of what is new in art quilts. I can easily see why they wouldn't want to show a piece that had been in other exhibits. Moreover, they really do have the right to determine the rules. I am not disputing any of this.

I must also remind my readers that I make quilts to sell them--this is how I support myself. Moreover my studio is open to the public--a couple years ago I had friends who were accepted into QN only to have their work rejected after it was discovered that someone else had taken an image of their work and posted it on the web.

So I knew there was a double whammy against me even if I could create a work that had a possibility of getting accepted. I confess that I had a great idea. I even went into the studio at times when I knew no one would be there--I couldn't risk having some well meaning tourist snapping a picture  when I wasn't looking and posting it on the internet.

The quilt had possibilities--still does--but life intervened. I had orders to fill. Family to deal with. I couldn't justify the time when I knew that realistically even if I made a qualifying work it would probably not get accepted--no matter how wonderful it was. After all, 1800 quilts are vieing for about 100 slots. I was OK with my decision--still am.  I read with a bit of envy the posts of others who could set aside that week or so to create quilts--I was happy for those who got accepted and felt for those that didn't.  I do support myself selling quilts and most of these lovely people do not. It is my choice.

Unfortunately the issue just raised its head again with another show. Now this is a more local show--I can probably get in--there would be advantages to me of showing there. And truth be told I do have one quilt that I have not taken to craft shows or posted on my web for just this show. But now part of me wonders what this show will be like with such rules.

Wouldn't the show be stronger if they would ease the rules--after all don't they want to see the best quilts available? And don't you as an artist want to either share your best work with your fans immediately or maybe even sell it? I doubt if changing the rules would diminish the draw of the show--personally I love to see the actual piece--no matter how great the photograph is there is nothing like seeing the real thing.

Well, I am not in charge. These are not the rules of the organization sponsoring the exhibit but those of the exhibit space.  Because of this I will not submit rainbow hills, rainbows of summer or blue rainbow. I won't submit midnight ocean or prairie sky or colors of autumn.  I will submit my one piece. It is a lovely. This will be their loss not mine.  At least that is my opinion--what do you think? Have you run into this problem? How do you solve it?


  1. I find this very interesting, not least because we don't have an equivalent type of event for hand embroidery. I can understand the national show using this rule but not a local one. After all how many of the people visting will have seen any of your quilts. Are they expecting only quilters to attend, or are they expecting local visitors due to the fact that it's local and if they miss your quilts that will be a shame.
    I think it would be nice to see two quilts on the same theme, or contrasting, by the same artist that way it gives a better idea of you work but also of what is possible.