Yesterday the Portland SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) group met and got a look at some of the pieces that were not selected for the upcoming SAQA show called "Exploring Layers." I suggested we might do this because there were more pieces rejected than accepted and rejection is hard and misery loves company and it is just a good thing to share one's failures along with the triumphs. We all feel better when we know we are not the only ones. Besides, we all worked hard and hopefully on these pieces and it would have been a shame if no one ever saw them.
This was my entry, called "Layers of Culture, Layers of Time." You saw me struggle with this piece. I was never really satisfied with it, but I felt it was worth submitting. Looking at it now I actually like it better than I did when I finished it.
I don't know why it was not accepted for the "Layers" show. One rarely knows what is in the mind of the juror. Since I have been laying out the catalog for the show I have seen photos of what was chosen and I think this piece would not have really harmonized with the rest. The choices ran to more abstract, visual layering sorts of things. It will be a good show, without me! It is always easy to make yourself feel better to just decide that your rejected piece simply didn't play well with the rest of the show. And that might be the truth, in fact. It is also possible that it just didn't stand out in the crowd and could have been more appealing and wasn't your best work. I think it is always useful to consider how it could have been better. This is really a big piece and I think those large sizes are hard for me. I wanted to simplify the shapes and in doing so I think it became rather static. I also lost the effects of the combinations of the fabrics that play off one another in small pieces when I chose to use fairly large pieces of the fabrics. It is visually "flatter" than I had hoped.
Several years ago I was involved in helping to jury a show for High Fiber Diet. One of the artists whose work was not accepted became angry and demanded to know "why." She was told that her piece simply did not fit with the rest of the show that was chosen. She left the group, hurt and defeated. I have never forgotten that and still feel badly for her, but it provided an insight into the dynamics of acceptance and rejection and I vowed never to let myself be that defeated by one rejection. It is part of the game. It is a kick in the gut, but an opportunity to critique yourself and live to try again.
I think we all enjoyed sharing our rejects. I think it felt good to know that we were in good company. Some of the pieces were lovely. Some not so great, but we turned the session into a learning experience and even had a few laughs when one member showed her piece and joked that she planned to cut it into three table runners.
Here, Gerrie shares her rejected leaf design piece. Another flawed, but lovely-in-some-way, quilt. This one has a future—with a few modifications.
I left feeling oddly uplifted and supported, as well as a new fondness for my ugly duckling quilt. With all its faults it is kind of vibrant, don't you think?
I think it is beautiful.ReplyDelete
You always say things in just the right way. I just had three pieces rejected from a show, and found that this time around, it doesn't bother me at all. They were already part of a successful show, so not being in this particular one just means I don't have to spend money and angst sending them away.ReplyDelete
I do like your quilt a lot. The shirting series is a favorite. And from the photo it looks like Gerrie's would hang well with yours! Maybe you could have a show with just the rejected quilts! Such a good idea to all get together. I'm sure it helped those that were expecting to get into the show.ReplyDelete
I think it's lovely, the colors are just wonderful. I was a little surprised to hear you describe it as somewhat flattened, but that made me go back and look at your other current work and I could see what you meant. But the colors in this piece just grab me !ReplyDelete
I love all your work so you won't get an unbiased critique from me. Since I'm not an artist only an appreciator it could come home with me any time and I'd be happy - :) I do know what you mean about needing to pick yourself up after having your work rejected in some way and fellow artists are the best people to do that job, hopefully they can be honest without being brutal.ReplyDelete
Kudos to you for masterminding a group session like this! As an artist who has been rejected from shows along the way, I think the biggest problem for me was the isolation, feeling alone and maybe ashamed. To have everyone bring their rejected pieces to show and share is a great way to deal with it!!ReplyDelete
As far as your quilt, I love the composition, the shapes and colors. I don't know what the show was really about, but you have a unique inside view and can see what was chosen and how they work to form a cohesive show which is something most of us don't get a chance to understand.
And I love the idea above ...putting together a show of the rejected!
Several years ago a gallery in Pittsburgh had a "Salon des Refuse" show, chosen from the rejected pieces for an Associated Artists of Pittsburgh annual show. I was delighted to have my rejected piece chosen.Delete
Ya win some, ya lose some. No reason required, it's just life. Please look for other shows to enter your piece, and the same goes for the rest of you in your 'Refusee' group. Gerri's looks quite wonderful too. We all have a stash of these bad letters- just means wrong show, wrong time. Don't even dwell on it, wrap it up and try again.ReplyDelete
Re: your tutorial on fusing. I went looking for Liquifuse and could not find it. Your tutorial was posted quite a few years ago. Is the product still made? Has the name changed? I was able to find a product called Liquid Stitch (Original) marketed by the Dritz Company. Is it the same? What do you use now. This is something my art quilt group sure will be able to use. ThanksReplyDelete
Liquifuse is now called Liquid Thread, made by the Beacon Company. I thought I made a note of that on the original post.Delete
I'm not sure if entering shows is better or worse than job hunting. One position, sometimes hundreds of applicants. And if one is not selected, it is a very personal rejection. With a show, there's still only so many spots on the wall, the rejection not *quite* as personal, but there's still a nebulous 'but why NOT??' to get over. Ugh.ReplyDelete
I do like your piece, the colors and the design make me happy, but there is something of you missing from it. I'm not sure quite what it is. You say it's flat and perhaps that's it. It's still a very enjoyable work. I really like your treatment of the sky.
I checked the SAQA site and the show is in Newberg! Can't wait to go see.
I think your quilt is absolutely lovely! You should be proud of it.ReplyDelete
It is hard to put yourself out there. You have written a wonderful post of encouragement. I have a friend like you... after being rejected for a few shows I have entered I am still at creating, learning and trying. And you are right sometimes things don't match what a juror is looking for, or it doesn't match the show, or there is a certain amount of items that can be chosen. What ever the reason I like your turning things into a learning session. This is a very positive response. Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing this.ReplyDelete
And I do like your piece too!
Being rejected in a juried show made me think a lot about the purpose of my work and taught me that showing is not what I want from my art work and made me go another way. The more intimate relationship between myself and purchasers of my work is what makes me happy. Comparing my work to others in a show is too stressful for me, but making someone happy by making art on a one to one basis is easier for me. We are all different, but I do love the way you made this into a major positive for yourself and othersReplyDelete
Terry - thank you for once again sharing your feelings about being rejected from"Layers". You do have a way of helping the reader to understand it isn't personal!I like this quilt and love your technique and hope you will find another show in which to enter it as it deserves to be seen.ReplyDelete