Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter's Guild OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter’s Guild
OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo hangs dozens of quilt exhibits every year, but they don’t do contests. Rather, they gather curated exhibits and they are usually working two years out. According to Marlene Ingraham, founder of OSQE, “The quilt exhibits are the heart of our shows. At every venue, we are creating a once-in-a-lifetime art experience for our attendees, so we choose our quilt exhibits very thoughtfully. Once a curated exhibit is chosen, it will travel to our various show locations. Most of our shows also feature a ‘Local Quilt Artists Spotlight’. We take the responsibility of handling these quilt exhibits very seriously. Of course we carry special insurance, and the quilts are stored in our climate-controlled warehouse, and transported by our own drivers, in our own trucks. The quilts on display at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos will travel all over America and be seen by 60,000 fans.’’

Red Fox, Blue Fox SAQA: Wild Fabrications Kate Themel

Red Fox, Blue Fox
SAQA: Wild Fabrications
Kate Themel

Some examples of recent exhibits hung at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos:

Wild Fabricationswww.saqa.com
Wild Fabrications celebrates a world of animals, both real and fantastical. Selected artists let their imagination run wild and created interesting and unusual interpretations of animals using unexpected or unconventional materials and adornment, and/or unusual techniques.

Winter Games Quilt Challenge – Wisconsin Quilt Expo
A collection of quilts that capture the spirit of the 2018 Winter Olympics! From quilts depicting snowy evenings to quilts showcasing winter sports, each entry is different, but each represents the excitement of the Winter Games.

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting Pieced by Linda Pumphrey Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting
Pieced by Linda Pumphrey
Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Red & White Quilting: An Iconic Tradition in 40 Blocks – Linda Pumphrey
Classic yet contemporary, red and white is one of the most iconic color combinations in quilting, inspiring designers, collectors, and major exhibits. The vibrant contrast of red and white quilts has enticed quilters for three centuries and been a staple since the mid-nineteenth century.

Best of North Texas Quilt Festivalwww.northtexasquiltfestival.com
Stunning, handpicked quilts from the North Texas Quilt Festival, selected from over 350 contest quilts created by members of six North Texas guilds. Within this diverse exhibit, you will find quilts with many forms of inspiration and quilters’ level of expertise.

Southern Quilts – Mary Kerr
The South has a rich quilting history, steeped in tradition and passed down through the generations. Enjoy these uniquely Southern patterns and styles.

Why should you think about entering your quilt into a contest or a special exhibit? Deanna Springer says, “As makers, we have a strong desire to make. Quilters love a challenge to showcase their talent and creative side.”

Marlene Ingraham has worked with thousands of quilters and she has watched them come to her shows, stand by their quilt, eager to hear the comments from the attendees. “I think people enter their quilts because they are proud of their work. And having their quilt hung is a badge of honor. It’s a validation of their talent.”

Unfurling by Frieda Anderson
First Place Innovative Pieced,
2017 International Quilt Festival, A World of Beauty
Frieda Anderson has made many prize-winning quilts. She started to enter her quilts into competitions because she wanted to travel and teach. She hoped showing her quilts would get her name out there. Her strategy worked. Her first big win came in 1990 when her fused art quilt, “June Jubilee” received an honorable mention at the Paducah AQS show. Frieda is established as a respected quilt artist who makes a living traveling all over the world, teaching her innovative quilt techniques.

 

Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Bodacious by Claudia Clark Myers Best of Show, 2017 Wisconsin Quilt Expo

Bodacious by Claudia Clark Myers
Best of Show, 2017 Wisconsin Quilt Expo

So, YOU LOVE MAKING QUILTS. After you made quilts for every bed in your house, you made quilts to hang on your walls. Then you made quilts for everybody in your family … and you made quilts to give as gifts to your friends. If you’ve started to run out of hairdressers and distant cousins to gift quilts, maybe it’s time for you to MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Why not make a quilt for an exhibit or a contest? There is a great big, wonderful world out there of competitive quilting, and the prize money can be quite amazing, like $30,000 for a First-Place winner!

So, where do you start?
In the past, quilters would begin their competitive journey on the local level, exhibiting in local quilt guild shows or competing at the county fair. In today’s world, thanks to the internet and FedEx, there are no geographic limits. Google “quilt call for entry” or “quilt contest” and you will be stunned by the opportunities. Chances are, you will be surfing the internet for hours.

Retreat in Chinook Country by Cecile Lafleur Third Place, Quilt from Book, Pattern, Workshop, 2018 Quilt Canada

Retreat in Chinook Country by Cecile Lafleur
Third Place, Quilt from Book, Pattern, Workshop, 2018 Quilt Canada

If you want to compete for some of that big prize money, check out the major quilt show websites: Quilts Inc., AQS Quilt Week, Wisconsin Quilt Expo, etc. Look for the contest tab on their menu with all the pertinent information: categories, deadlines, prizes, themes.

The Wisconsin Quilt Expo has a contest every year. Show Manager, Deanna Springer, says, “Our committee brainstorms quilt challenge theme ideas. We’re all quilters so there are many great themes, it’s hard to choose just one. For example: Fall Leaves; Black & White, Plus One (one other color); Winter Games; Modern Mini. Quilt Expo’s current theme is Bake Off. The 2019 quilt challenge theme is Log Cabin (premiered at Quilt Expo September 6-8, 2018).” http://www.quiltexpo.com/quiltcontest

Some groups provide or sell a specific challenge fabric or fat quarter and the fabric must be integrated within the quilt. Additional pictorial themes have been Barns of Wisconsin, Nursery Rhymes, Name That Tune, Guess the Letter.

Each show has unique requirements. Check show rules.

Each show has unique requirements. Check show rules.

Choose the contest or exhibition that fits you best. Of course, making the perfect quilt is what you’re going for, right? At this point it becomes all about the PHOTOGRAPHY of your quilt. The internet has changed this process. Most shows want you to upload the quilt photo onto their on-line entry form. Do not underestimate the value of top quality photos — they will make or break your quilt entry. You may be able to send in a manual entry form, but there could be an extra charge.

Be thoughtful about your quilt write-up. The quilt description, process and photos will determine whether or not your quilt is accepted into the show. Your write-up will be copied and pasted onto the informational tag hanging on your quilt, hopefully to be read by thousands of avid quilt fans. There will be an entry fee (typically paid by credit card).

Then you wait. If it’s a juried show, you may or may not get accepted. If it’s a non-juried show, your quilt will be accepted if it was entered before the total number of quilts allowed has been reached.

Don’t be discouraged if your quilt is not accepted the first time. You may never know the reason. The important thing is to learn from every attempt and move on. Shows get thousands of entries and, remember, the rejection was based on the pictures you submitted. You may want to attend shows to see which quilts they DID accept. Study the write-ups and try to understand what the jury sought. Then, TRY AGAIN. And Again ….

 

Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Rhonda Pierce with the first quilt she entered into a local quilt show.

Rhonda Pierce with the first quilt she entered into a local quilt show.

Have you thought about entering a quilt show? Our own Rhonda Pierce made the quilt above as a mystery challenge through her local quilt shop. It is the first quilt she ever entered into a show. She is not a competitive quilter, yet after all the work, she decided to celebrate its completion and entered a local show. It was accepted. Imagine her delight when walking onto the show floor. She was greeted by the first quilt, her quilt, on display.

There are reasons to enter quilt shows including the competitive spirit, cash prizes, award ribbons and winning quilting supplies and gift certificates. Surprisingly, for Rhonda, the sense of joy and validation were unexpected benefits.

The blogs for the next few weeks will discuss how to go about entering your quilt into a regional quilt show. Stick around . . . by the end of this series you too may overcome your fears and decide to enter your quilt into a juried show.

 

Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE