Posts tagged growth

Reach for the Stars


I was giving an interview yesterday for a local paper. She asked me, now that I had won a prize in Houston, what was my next goal.

LincolnI am a firm believer in having goals. I’ve spoken before about always reaching for the next rung on the ladder. But I didn’t have an answer for her. It sounds silly to say that I’m still stunned by having won in Houston. It was 7 months ago. Surely I’ve made new plans.

I’m not sure where my brain has been on this one. I know it should be doing something, but it seems stuck. I have applied for professional juried membership into an artists organization and I’m hoping to be accepted — I’m re-entering the same shows — but what am I going to do next that is different?

I have some distant things I’ve thought about — a shot in the dark. If I tell someone, will they be more likely to come true? Or less likely?

A couple of years ago, I entered the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in DC. I was not accepted. I was not surprised — but because I had entered, they continue to send me emails on the competition and other events at the Gallery. I was surprised to see a LOT of mixed media winners in last years competition. I want to say that last year’s top winner was made from salt. It may be time that I hang up that lack of confidence and enter again. The only way to guarantee that you will never get into a show is to never enter. (I need to keep telling myself that. It’s true but sometimes it helps to use it like a mantra.)

This week, in the process of writing this post, I did make a change. A friend of mine told me about an opportunity for exhibition with a prestigious gallery in Brooklyn, NY. If I entered, I would be unable to enter two other shows that I’ve entered in the past. I would be competing at a much higher level with other artists — this is not a quilt show. It’s about time I change — reach for that next brass ring — so I sent in my application last week. The great thing about this show is that it only required that I be female — and there was no restriction on when the piece was made — so although I entered a couple of new pieces, I also entered a piece that has timed out for most quilt shows. It’s still a great piece and should still be exhibited. My mom was represented by a couple of galleries in NY at one time — so why couldn’t I also have my work shown there? If it was possible for her, it’s also possible for me.

So — this year, my exhibition list may not be as long as last year but hopefully I can shake things up a little and enter some new markets. If nothing else, I’ve pulled myself out of my rut of doing the same thing that I did the year before. Change is good. Carpe diem!

When You Are Ready


When I spoke at the Alpha Arts Guild Tuesday night, someone asked me — at what point did I know I was ready to enter an international show? When did I know I was a professional artist?

In retrospect, I don’t think I answered it very well — but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I wanted to share my thoughts.

ChildhoodThere was no flash of light. No-one stepped forward and declared — you may now begin. I was very lucky in that I won a Best of Show ribbon in the first show I ever entered. It was a state level show and I had only entered my piece Childhood because I was going to take a class and thought it would be nice to have a piece in the show. I walked in — and you could have knocked me over with a feather.


Dalmatian DownsAnd so I thought — I’ll enter Paducah. I was on the QuiltArt listserv — they were talking about it — so I thought — why not. They accepted both Childhood and Dalmatian Downs. I was lucky enough to go to the show and I was blown away by the work others were producing. There was a stunning quilt everywhere I turned — and it seemed unending. I was truly humbled to have been included.


Faces in Cloth II also had some luck entering Mancuso shows — but I wanted to get in the International Quilt Festival in Houston. That was the golden prize. I spent many years with rejection letters from Houston — but I just kept trying. After 5 years — I got discouraged and decided not to enter — but then a friend reminded me that that would guarantee I wouldn’t get in — so with my heart in hand — I sent in an entry with my latest endeavor — the beginning of a portrait series. The Lord must be kind to those who wait because that year they accepted Faces in Cloth I.



LincolnAnd then I put my mind to winning a prize at Houston. A girl can dream — right? And I waited and I hoped and I waited some more. There were times I was discouraged — but I think you always have to reach for the brass ring. The next rung on the ladder. Eventually, The Lord blessed me again and in the seventh year, last year, I won first place in my category for Lincoln.

Why did I do these things? Maybe early luck motivated me. I like to think it was also because I saw my mom break barriers in the art world. At one time, she traveled to Paris and was asked to move to New York to work with a famous painter. She stayed with her family but she pushed the boundaries of what was possible for a mom taking care of her kids in Alabama.

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