Wednesday, August 16, 2006

APNQ wrap-up

Here is my quilt "The Weaver" hanging in the show. It is always interesting to see your own work hanging. It looks different than it did at home. For me, it always looks smaller and a little dull. I tend to use a subdued color palette, so when my work is surrounded by work in really bright, bright colors it washes out.

There is always a lot of discussion on the QuiltArt list about whether Art Quilts really belong in traditional quilt shows and the difference between how work looks on pipe and drape compared to gallery type shows on white walls. You can see we are looking at pipe and drape here. Dark canyons of pipe and black drape.

It seems to me that while APNQ accepts a lot of "art" quilts, they tend to be judged by the same criteria as the traditional quilts and the art quilts that win awards are those that are easily understood, have elements of traditional quilts and exhibit fussy workmanship.

I got my quilts back today. The judge's comments on The Weaver included:

"The applique appears to be very precise and machine satin stitch is quite consistent."

"Strong visual impact and an air of mystery portrayed in subject. Strive for more consistency in the length of your quilting stitches."

"Excellent use of thread painting on painted fabric. Knife-edge finish is well done."

Fair enough, and flattering in some instances, but it was clear they were more concerned with technique than design and content and meaning. Oh well. It is what it is and I understand now why my favorites weren't usually the judges' favorites. I don't notice the length of quilting stitches and don't particularly value consistency in the satin stitch.

Two years ago we were all quite disappointed in the jurying of the show. There were two large machine embroidery sampler quilts that were literally identical, not very interesting and, it turns out, were made in a class. There were at least three quilts made from this commercial pattern. There were a group of nearly identical quilts all made in another class. For such a large pool of quilts to choose from we expected more originality. This year's show was much better in that regard, though we did encounter a few quilts that were both poorly constructed and dull, dull, dull. You have to wonder what the jurors are seeing sometimes. Still, there was a lot to enjoy, as I have shown in the previous posts.

In two years the show will move to the Seattle Convention Center, a much larger venue. Will we go back? Absolutely. It's a getaway weekend that we look forward to for two years. The Quilt Show is just an excuse.


  1. How interesting, Terry - the same discussions occur on a regular basis in New Zealand. I agree with you that art quilts are often still being judged within a traditional framework. On the few occassions that I have judged competitions, I have very carefully avoided quilts from commercial patterns in categories where orginality was required and have a strong tendency to reward bravado and creative solutions. I suspect this has made me umpopular, because it means that a technically excellent quilt may be passed over in favour of a courageous attempt that was less successful. I'm sure we will still be debating this in a century's time! Congratulations on your lovely quilt!

  2. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Terri --

    Although I am a traditional quilter, I can appreciate your comments. A asnwer would be for APNQ to have two sets of judges. Is that being done now?

  3. I'm curious...will you continue to enter your work in more traditional quilt shows/venues? It's an interesting dilemma, and depending on the direction an artist/quilter wants to go, there would have to be much thought.

  4. You made that?!?!?! That is the kind of art quilt that I like though - pictoral rather than abstract. It looks great!
    To be fair though I think that the workmanship should be good no matter what kind of quilt it is - art or traditional. But you are right, they should also look at composition, etc.

  5. Ideally all quilts at all shows would be hung against a flat wall, instead of on drapes, and with lots of space around each quilt, but that isn't going to happen due to cost and space restrictions. If not at quilt shows, where would art/innovative quiltmakers show their work? Gallery exhibits are few and much harder to get into. How many gallery exhibits draw thousands of attendees, as quilt shows do? To show or not to show is a decision for each quiltmaker, but if they want exposure they will need to include quilt shows on their list of venues. As a collector I rarely buy from galleries, choosing instead to view quilts at shows or online and contact the quiltmaker directly. As a quiltmaker I like to have a personal contact with the artists represented in the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection, something that is rare when dealing with galleries.

  6. I think your quilt is incredible! Wow!

  7. You do such beautiful work Terry!

    I'm always disappointed when I see the show winners too, but we art quilters still have to enter traditional shows--exposure is everything and there still aren't many venues. The more folks get used to art quilts, the more accepted they are.

  8. I don't think your quilt looks washed out. Looks great, in fact. I was very interested in hearing your criticism of the show. I find that the more shows I attend and the more I enter, the more critical I become. I attended one recently where all categories were hung together in a big mish mash, and in addition quilts entered purely for display and not for judging were all thrown in with the others. This seems to me to be a recipe for lowering the quality of the show.

  9. I agree with your comments about the art quilts. I was disappointed four years ago when two quilts I entered were not accepted. I figured they didn't meet the standards of the APNQ jurors until I attended and saw that my two quilts were of the same or better quality as those that were hanging at the show. I was frustrated wondering what the heck were the jurors looking for!

    Your quilt was gorgeous though and you deserved to have your work displayed.

  10. interesting that a JURIED show would have accepted identical derivative quilts. Don't know what the answer is tho...other than accepting none of them.