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!