This week I’ve been appliquéing my rabbit onto my background. It’s almost done. There isn’t a lot to show in that process. It’s been hard for me to concentrate as the routine of my girls is already starting to change. I fear I may be a victim of Spring fever.
I did think I would take a few minutes and talk about entering shows. Why do I enter shows? Well, why do I make art? I make art as a form of self expression. I enter shows so that people can see what I do. It is more satisfying for me to have my work in shows than for my work to collect dust in the closet. In fact, I have a growing collection in my closet — it makes me sad. Art is meant to be seen.
My first show ever was back when I lived in Alabama. The fabric store advertised for the Alabama Quilt Symposium to be held (that year anyway) in Birmingham. I thought it would be fun to enter and take a few classes. It was my first time. When I walked into the hall, I was enthralled by all the pieces. I had been working with textiles for a couple of years. I turned a corner — and saw my piece Childhood hanging — with a blue ribbon beside it! Best of Show & 1st place in its division. (That was, by the way, the only time I’ve won a Best of Show.) It was shocking — and thrilling!
I took that piece and Dalmatian Downs and entered them in the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah in 2004 — and what a surprise I had when they were both accepted. No ribbons, but I did visit the show and get to see them hanging. There was row after row after row of the most incredible quilts I had ever seen in my life. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t process how a judge could pick a best in show.
I also entered one of the Mancuso shows — Pacific International (PIQF)– and the International Quilt Festival (IQF) in Houston. I had several quilts accepted over the years into PIQF — but I was not lucky enough to be accepted to IQF. I stopped entering AQS-Paducah as my work became artistic and fell outside of their size restrictions. (At one time, they wouldn’t accept a quilt whose width was between 24″ and 40″ — although I don’t know if they’ve since changed that rule or not.) I told myself year after year that if I didn’t enter IQF, I’d never get in — so I kept entering.
Several years went by and I started to lose hope. We all do at one point or another — but then one year, I thought “one last time.” That was 2006, and my first monochromatic portrait Faces in Cloth I was accepted.
I have since entered Quilt National, Quilt Visions, and Quilts=Art=Quilts — but have not been accepted. I do admit that I haven’t been as diligent about entering as I had been with IQF. Sometimes it is because of the expense — and sometimes it’s easy to see from the other work accepted why mine was not.
I have also been accepted at some other wonderful shows — Art Quilts (at the Chandler), Sacred Threads, and the La Conner Quilt Festival — as well as some local Atlanta shows — Georgia Artists, Fiber Art Fusion (which I now co-curate with Rebecca Reasons-Edwards), SEFAA’s ARTlanta, and East Cobb Quilt Guild.
Right now, my desk is littered with folders — for quilts and for shows — as I try to decide shows to enter, how much it will cost, which quilts to send, how long they’ll be gone if they’re accepted, and how to enter pieces in such a way that I don’t enter a piece in more than one show at a time (because that’s just bad business). Decisions, decisions. I tend to enter & support the same shows that I have in previous years — but throw in a new one here and there to see if I get in — to expand my horizons.
I have had one piece juried into the East Cobb Quilt Guild Show this June — Beach Guardians. In July, both Beach Guardians and The Bowl Judgments will travel to Sacred Threads in DC. They have both also been chosen for an extended travel exhibit of Sacred Threads in Omaha, NE.
I also have been working on entries this week — but I think it’s bad luck to mention an entry before the jurying process is complete.
Sometimes I help Lyric Kinard with her list of Shows to Enter. At one point years ago, she thought about not keeping up the list and I offered to help. It was the only resource of its kind at the time and I wanted to see it continue. It’s a great way to look at the landscape and see what venues are available. Although many of the more local shows have not survived the current economy, there are still a lot of opportunities available.