Rejection is a hard thing for anyone, but it is part of every artist’s life if they are entering exhibitions. Most quilt exhibitions are juried by a panel reviewing slides of work and they see each image for about three seconds before they accept or reject it. There are a lot of factors that determine successful entry into a show — including the total amount of entries, the overall work of the entries, the intrinsic biases of the judges, and how well your work fits into the show as a whole.
Quilt National is one of the toughest, but also one of the more prestigious for art quilts. Entries in the exhibit tour for two years and are usually published in a book. Someone (forgive me for not remembering) thought that your chances at successfully entering Quilt National was about 10%.
Lately, I have been more interested in the art quilt only shows — the ones that do not have traditional quilt categories. So I entered Visions a few months ago — and then Quilt National.
I was not lucky with my Visions entry — but I wasn’t surprised. I recognize that personal issues threw my work off last year, and I didn’t create better work than the previous year.
But I was really excited about the Quilt National entry. I had started it in a flurry of creativity — and it was a quilt that was filled with intuition & creativity. It was representational — but not as illustrative as my other work — so I thought that it might find a place in the contemporary ranks of Quilt National quilts.
Alas, it was rejected. I received my first ever rejection email — and I didn’t know whether to be impressed at their technical savvy in giving immediate feedback — or crestfallen to be rejected so quickly & summarily.
QuiltArt has been great, however, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback, so I’ll keep it on the list for another show. Someone mentioned the Form, Not Function exhibit — but unfortunately, for the first time, my quilt is too wide (my quilts are almost always not wide enough).
If you want to read more about how it was done, I have a page about it on my website here.