Thoughts on a Rejected Quilt

Cracked Ice will not be seen at QuiltCon.

I thought it had potential (of course I did, or I wouldn’t have submitted it), but it will stay home when I go to view those that had more than potential.

About a day before getting the rejection email, I read an interesting blog post about confidence and art by Elizabeth Barton. (Here is a link to the whole.) The short version is this: there is correlation between confidence and marketing skill, but not between improved confidence and improved art. When I read her “If it’s getting easy, it is probably getting trite,” I thought of how quickly the idea of Cracked Ice had formed, and I had a moment of wondering if it was “oh so last show.” That may have been my only moment of self doubt.

I had a flashback to college teaching days, to students who had been at the top of their high school classes and to their surprise that in college freshman writing they were only average. Their peers had shifted and so had their rank. My quilt had had a similar shift from being admired by friends and followers of my blog to being one among many that had been so admired.

Not having a smart phone, I missed the discussion of the judging on Instagram, but I enjoyed the analysis Elizabeth Eastmond provided and ensuing discussion.(Here is a link to the whole.) Among other things, she mentioned not limiting the number of entries per person and the ambiguity of definition of modern quilt design. And comments pointed out the difficulty of defining an evolving moment. I rather agree. If modern quilting becomes easy to define, it will become trite. “Follow the rules and create a modern quilt” is not where we want to end up.

Other bloggers pointed to Latifah Saafir’s discussion of the jurying process, which I think is a must-read piece (link here) for anyone entering any juried show. One year at Quilt National a process similar to the one Latifah describes was presented. Off in the corner was a video screen. The audience was to pretend to be a juror.  Quilts were flashed on the screen for a very limited number of seconds, and we were to say “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” Then go back and discuss our “Maybe” category with others who were watching at the time. I can never look at juried shows or at my own quilt entries the same after having participated in that demonstration.

Am I disappointed? Of course I am. Do I like my quilt any less? Not one bit.



Filed under quilting

5 responses to “Thoughts on a Rejected Quilt

  1. Lovely post and I am happy to be a part of the conversation about art, quilts and putting our “children” out there to be judged. I agree I don’t necessarily need “rules,” but probably would have saved myself some money if I knew that “feathers always get turned down.” Although I would hate to *really* think that was the case, I have a feeling it’s not too far off from the truth. A subjective opinion has now become, in my mind, a truth to watch out for when thinking about their show. I need to read Elizabeth Barton’s piece. If you like it, I suspect I will too. You do inspire me.

    • I’m not convinced that feathers are an automatic reject. Some trend setters may be that rigid, but others are more flexible. I’m thinking of Heather Grant’s lecture with a list of about 10 features; her claim: modern quilts contain 1-4 of them, not all. Or her laughing at herself for having said she had never seen plum in a modern quilt as she showed one she had recently found with plum background. If the rigidity wins, modern quilting will become trite indeed. I’m hoping there was a mix of types among the jury.

  2. Sorry about that! Don’t give up! I have learned personal tast plays a great roll when people look at things! This was not the show for your quilt, it will come!

  3. Cher

    nice post…great links and I am back from reading all of them and thank you for including them.
    At the end of the day, we need to make the quilts we love…if they get accepted into a show, great, if not, it does not lessen our love of them.
    Still looking forward to seeing your quilt in person!

  4. dezertsuz

    The most important thing to any artist is what you think of your own work. I’m glad it hasn’t affected your liking of your quilt that it wasn’t accepted. Another group of jury members at another time might very well accept it. People, opinions and movements, which the modern trend is, are all very fickle; a beautiful quilt transcends them all, as Cracked Ice does.

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