You’ve toiled over that quilt for weeks, months or possibly even years. You’re proud of it, and so, it seems, is your significant other (who may just be happy that your machine has finally been turned off). Now what’s a quilter to do besides move on to the next project lurking in the corners of the brain?
Well, before you jump-start your next masterpiece, consider a break-out move. Instead of passing the quilt onto some lucky recipient, consider entering it into a local, national or (gulp) international quilt show, We’re giving you 10 reasons why this is a good thing to do at least once in your q-life.
1. Peer Pressure 1
The pressure of knowing your quilt will be submitted to a show for judging and viewing often means you perform your best work. And if there’s a skill you’re not great at, you may also find yourself taking a class to improve, which means you’re expanding your quilt horizons.
2. Challenge Me
If the show you’re submitting to has a theme or challenge your quilt needs to reflect, trust us when we say this is an excellent way to exercise your creative muscles!
3. Show Off!
Hanging your quilt-laundry for all the world to see is good. Really good. It builds confidence in your abilities and, if you’re lurking near your quilt at a show, it can give you a chance to hear great feedback from viewers. Yes, you need to have a thick skin (or at least wear a sign that says Quilt Maker Here—Be Nice!) but it’s also fun to surreptitiously hear how people react to your work.
4. Judgment Day
For any serious quilt show, especially the juried kind (which means you have to be accepted into the show,) the judges’ comments written on your paperwork usually offer an honest evaluation of your quilting skills as it relates to that quilt. Again, a thick skin is sometimes needed, and judges are not perfect, but they tend to be pretty accurate about the pluses and minuses they see in your work. Jake worked harder on making her machine quilting stitches more consistent because of a judge’s comment. (Yes, she wanted to torch their homes first, but mostly because they were right.)
5. Ribbons = Wall Art
Everyone should feel okay about displaying an award for a job well done. If you happen to win a ribbon at a show, it feels good. Darned good. And it looks great hanging in your studio, too, especially when your uber-critical MIL visits.
6. Humble Pie
Humility is a virtue, and a quilt show is a great place to practice it. After all, it’s just a blanket, folks. You’re not curing cancer and your quilt is not a reflection of all of the good works you do in the other areas of your life. So it’s okay to accept the hugs or the knocks with grace and charm (and it’s great training for that MIL visit).
7. Marketing 101
If you’re even secretly contemplating writing a quilt book, teaching and/or competing in the q-universe at some future point, you need to show your work. It’s one remarkably effective way for your name to become known. And yes, the established biggies in our biz almost all started out this way.
8. Peer Pressure 2
You’ve been trying hard to get your husband/kid/best friend/MIL interested in your quilting but have gotten nowhere. In fact, that significant other of yours won’t even drop you off at the door of the convention center where the show is held. Well, fret no more because if you have a quilt in the show, they no longer have an excuse for dodging the fiber. You may not convert them to the cloth, but at least they’ll have a better idea of why you’re textile-obsessed. (And if they’re really miserable accompanying you, you won’t even want them with you next time.) Cured, we say!
Submitting a quilt to a show involves at least one, if not several, deadlines. Even your home guild’s show has a drop-off date and time. For many of us, deadlines propel action and completion on our part. Use the show’s deadline as a way to finish that UFO growing mold in the corner of your studio.
10. Show Me the Moolah
Some shows offer cash prizes. If you win something, it may offset the cost of the materials that went into your pretty. Of course, it will probably represent less than five percent of the cost, and no, we’re not including labor here. Still it feels good, and you can then call yourself a professional. (Can we say tax deductions?)
Call for Submissions: Modern Quilt Guild Showcase to Hang at Fall International Quilt Festival 2012 Houston
Welcome to the Big Dance, modern quilters!
Having a special exhibit of your particular quilting niche hung at the world’s largest quilt festival is kind of like Queen Elizabeth inviting you for a cuppa, and then whispering in your ear that she likes your outfit.
Modern Quilt Guild members are being invited to submit quilts for possible inclusion in the first-ever Modern Quilt Guild Showcase, a special exhibit that will hang at Quilts Inc.’s International Quilt Festival in Houston Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2012.
The exhibit will feature about 25, possibly more, examples of modern quilt designs, and is limited to submissions from MQG members only. We talked with Quilts Inc.’s special exhibit coordinator, Amanda Schlatre, to get more information. It’s a natural follow-up, she says, to the growing buzz about modern design influences and younger stitchers in a craft that is often laughably misunderstood and filled with stereotypes of grandmothers hand stitching at quilt frames.
“We’ve noticed in the last couple of years that this has really become a movement and that a lot of younger people are coming to learn and know about quilting through the Modern Quilt Guild,” Amanda says. “And if the craft itself is going to survive, you’ve got to pull in younger people.”
She also referred to similar special exhibits of art quilts that began appearing in the 1980s, when art quilts began staking out some of the quilt-show real estate, expanding the classic definition of quilting. Quilts Inc. opened the door to art quilts then, she says, and now it’s helping to open the door to modern quilts.
Amanda says she and fellow special exhibits coordinator Carmen Valls are particularly excited about this new exhibit because they are personally interested in the modern movement.
“We’re from the younger generation and we’d all been following blogs of some of these ladies, so it’s really exciting for us,” she says.
The deadline window for submitting quilts for this special showcase begins Jan. 6 and ends March 2, 2012. But don’t just take an iPhone pic and email it to Quilts Inc., for pity’s sake. Get the details at https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/international-quilt-festival/call-for-entry-the-modern-quilt-guild-showcase/10150811422955112.