Thursday, May 22, 2014

There is more to competition than winning...

Well, at least for me.  Don't get me wrong, winning is great, but so are the many other aspects of sending a quilt out to a show.  We'll start with a little rewind -

Facebook was a crazy place last night.  I bowed out early and missed much of the craziness -- apparently it got much worse and turned into nasty negative mud-slinging along with deleting of posts and I'm sure a lot more.

It all started with a few people (myself included), waiting for acceptance results for the Minnesota Quilters Annual Quilt Show.  Acceptance letters (via email or snail mail) were due 5/16.  No one had really heard anything.  Monday, I received an email from MN Quilt requesting my mailing address.  Well, within minutes of a FB post for info everyone received emails stating some pertinent info was accidentally excluded from the acceptance packages.  This stirred up many comments, many about the new Blue Diamond category.  This new category is as follows (excerpt taken from the Minnesota Quilters show website):

New Blue Diamond: Any quilt that has won a monetary award and a ribbon in a previous national show must be entered in this category. Examples of national shows include the AQS shows, International Quilt Festivals, Road to California, Quilt Odyssey, and any of the shows produced by Mancuso Shows. State Fair competitions are not considered national shows. You may enter only one quilt in this category. Work may be done by one or two persons. You are welcome to enter a second quilt in another category if it has not won a monetary award at another national show.

So what that means is if your quilt has received a cash award at any national show you are to compete in the Blue Diamond category.  That lumps several types of quilts -- from miniatures to wholecloths to wall hangings to bed quilts to art quilts to any type of quilt into one giant category.

WHAT?!!  Those poor judges!  I couldn't even imagine trying to judge that category -- I would think it would all fall down to which quilt the judge liked the best - all technique aside, that has to be beyond difficult!  So a few people went back and forth discussing this and some decided to withdraw their quilts.  That is totally their prerogative.  No one can be in charge of any one's thoughts, reasons, or ideas except for them.  I assume they felt that a category that vast was too much and winning wasn't an option.  Again, totally their choice to make.  This may be a show that people decide they don't want to enter.  The show promoters may decide to create professional/master categories for the continual award winning quilts and require them to compete separately.  I don't know - not my decisions to make.  The part of this that did bother me was what if all quilters felt that they should only enter shows they know they can win?  Would we have any shows to attend?  Winning is not a given.

To me, there is so much more to showing my quilts that just winning.  When I create a quilt I have hopes and dreams that it will win every single show I enter.  Hahaha.... I'm human, I make mistakes, I learn from them, I share most of them here so that you too can learn.  Not every quilt I make will win awards - that doesn't stop me from making them.  That doesn't stop me from entering shows.  If one of my quilts hangs at a show and inspires just one person - THAT is my award.  That inspiration sparked in another - that keeps this industry going.  If showing quilts were only about winning awards and only a select few people entered those shows, we'd stop going really fast.  What boring shows they would be!  You'd only need to attend one or two and you would have seen all the winning quilts.  Not every quilt wins, that doesn't make it any less of a quilt.

When I'm at quilt shows and I see people huddled around one of my quilts, I don't run right up and start talking -- I mingle and listen to what they are amazed by, intrigued by, and inspired by.  That is what keeps me inspired.  And you want to know something -- people will look at the quilts that didn't win just as much as the winners!  Sharon Schamber told me a long time ago that you create a quilt because it needs to be created, not to compete at a show.  She also said you should never rush your work because of a show deadline.  Well, I do this rush thing a lot and those are the quilts that don't do well.  Perhaps I should heed her words a little more!  Quilts should be *born* -- it should be an emotional journey -- those are the quilts that do well, at least for me.

So back to the FB mud-slinging - most of the negativity was about the person who withdrew her quilt. That was totally her choice - people get over it!  It cost a lot of money to enter these shows, as well as shipping, insurance, return shipping, etc.  Some people treat competition quilting as a business -- if they don't seen an opportunity for placement and ribboning they chose not to enter.  I do not see competition as a business, it's different for me -- the competition is the cake - it is good all on its own, but awards are the icing - they are the deliciousness on top of the cake.  And sometimes you get icing on your cake and sometimes you don't -- either way, it shouldn't stop you from eating cake!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Green thumb - achy back

Yep, that pretty much sums up the weekend -- Saturday was full of green thumbing, Sunday was full of achy backing!  Oh, and I should warn you, if you're looking for pretty quilts it's not happening in this post -- lots of nature, but no quilts!

It all started here at Home Depot, with these beautiful sunflowers.  And I should mention that they still need to be planted, they are temporarily living on the patio getting watered daily until they find their new home in the yard!

Then somehow we ended up at a nursery looking at oak trees?  LOL - seriously, we have needed a large tree to provided some shade on the one side of the house as it gets sun from morning to night. So Saturday seemed like the perfect time - not too hot, beautiful breeze... you know planting weather!

While driving through the nursery we spotted the cutest baby weeping bottlebrush (one of my favorites), so on the truck it goes:

And home to dig!  Now don't let these pictures fool you, I was helping too.  Technically I was multi-tasking, because I was helping dig, cut old sprinkler pipes, get cold drinks, and take pictures!

And after those two trees were planted we ate a quick lunch and somehow ended up at yet another nursery.  Look bananas!

And some amazing looking cactus -- yep, I'll be back for this one!  They also had some beautiful elephant ear plants which keep calling me back as well...

And look!  Two more trees!!!!  A jacaranda (can't wait for this to bloom) and a dwarf poinciana.

So cute!  See that mound of grey stuff behind the tree?  That's Florida soil -- looks like sand right? Because it is!  We had to add 40 pounds of potting soil for each of these trees!

Now that was all day Saturday - the multi-tasking day.  Sunday was full of yard cleanup, palm trimming, pulling out of old overgrown massive palm bushes and dragging a bunch of stuff to the street -- and not as much multi-tasking... no pics and tons of aches and pains.  I'm not so sure this aging thing is great when it comes to manual labor - the older I get the less it takes to make things ache!  I have made the determination that being an artist was much better than a landscaper!

Sorry there aren't any quilts -- maybe next weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday Fun!

Friday night was my create day with the cronies -- my besties Nancy and Natalie.  I was crazy excited for this create day because we haven't gotten together for what seems like forever!

It started with pizza - OMG deliciousness in a cardboard box!

Then we slowly got working on our project.  We were painting on fabric that had been treated with soy milk.  I managed to steal a couple of pictures from Nancy since she's the one who prepared the soy milk:

And I totally LOL at this picture every time I see it... Nancy's hubby must be a brave man if he is willing to drink yellowish-beige milk!!  And she's such a sweetie for warning him!

the beginning:
the middle:

the cronies - Nancy and Natalie:

And yes, I just got my haircut, but you can't even tell - the creative ponytail is already there:

And here is my finished lily - I'm not thrilled with my leaf, but I'm finished and it's ready for quilting!  I'll share that as soon as it happens!

And it was yet another great Friday with friends - can't wait til the next one!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Wow, I'm doing a few challenges this year.  That's probably because I love challenges.  Not just the competition part, the challenge part - the pushing my own limits part.

I'm writing yet another accountability post... they keep me on track and they let you all know what I'm working on!

Journeys Thru Art - this is more of a project than a challenge, but still, close enough.  I just shared about this the other day, if you don't remember check it out here (or just scroll down to the previous post).

And you remember how I said I wanted to try a new technique?  Yeah, not so sure about that -- still clinging to the greys.

Wicked Challenge
This is going to be a blast.  If you don't remember, I posted previously about it here.  This challenge is through Cherrywood Fabrics - go check them out!

I have my idea drafted out -- just a couple of quick changes and a few items to squeeze in and I can start on it.  I would love to share the drawing with you - here's the paper and the fabrics, but that's about as much as I can share right now.

Martin County Quilters Member Challenge
This year the theme is Music, Music, Music - I had an immediate idea and doodled it out and it was cool, then... dammit!  Music - what?!! I love music, any and all kinds of music.  So I sat down and started thinking about what songs mean the most to me.  Then I was thinking which ones would easily adapt to a quilt -- why, I do nothing easily, and besides, this is a challenge - who to challenge if not myself!  No, easy is totally unacceptable.  And the challenge doesn't have to be the song, the song is just a starting point for inspiration.  Well, let me tell you, there are so many songs floating around in my head right now I could easily create an entry for each member of the guild!  I am seriously going to have to work on this one and narrow it down a bit.

And for some reason I feel like there is one more challenge I'm forgetting about.  Oh well, when it comes to me, I'll share it!  Can't wait to share my progress on these with all of you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Journeys Thru Art - 2015 Project

Today was Journeys day!  

This past year our wonderful little art group has gone through some major changes - not all good, not all bad - but we have survived and hopefully this will be our best year yet.  I say this is the 2015 project because our due date isn't until April 2015.  We have a year... that's more than enough time right?!! [insert mischievous cackling laugh here]

I'm super excited about our project.  We are calling it Famous Female Faces.  I LOVE THIS!  I have been wanting to create a Lucille Ball quilt for some time now - and she works perfectly for this project. Did I mention I am so freaking excited!

So here is my inspiration photo:

I absolutely love this photo.  It shows her beauty while still capturing her comedic personality.

So on to how -- me, still being in my grey phase immediately wanted to paint this exactly how it is - grey scale, black background, white highlights, etc.  Hmmm.... although artistically challenging, it seems too simple - why not push the envelope.  So, I'll be trying a new-to-me technique.  I'll be sharing  the journey - problems and all as it progresses.

You'll have to stay tuned for more on this one!