Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Juror Comments

I was a juror, with Virginia Spiegel, for the Journal Quilt Project II: Elements—Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The show will be shown at the International Quilt Festivals, starting in Fall 2008 in Houston Texas.

For anyone who is not familiar with the Journal Quilts, here is a little background info:

Back not quite eight years ago, there was a discussion on the QuiltArt email list about making quilted journals. I wrote in to share what I was doing by making a quilt a week. There was discussion back and forth about what people felt they could or could not do time-wise. Shortly thereafter, the Journal Quilt project was born, thanks to the organization of Karey Bresenhan, Director of the International Quilt Festivals.

There are two books about these two projects, the "Creative Quilting: The Journal Quilt Project" is a book by Karey Bresenhan, about the first five years, and also "The Uncommon Quilter," a book about my project.

The Journal Quilt Project is in its seventh year, and this is the first time that it has been juried. It's also the first time I have ever been a juror. I have wanted to have the experience of jurying a show for many years. I felt it would be a good experience for me as an artist, to see how submitted work is seen by the jurors, and also to be able to be a part of a team picking the pieces for a very strong and cohesive show.

About jurying this show:

I didn't realize how hard it is to be a juror. Virginia Spiegel and I not only live very far away from each other, but are in different time zones, so we communicated via email and phone. We both agreed to look at the images of the 155 submitted pieces, and to rank them in our order of preference for acceptance. Then we emailed each other our list, discussed the jurying process back and forth a few times via email, and spent at least 2+ hours on the phone discussing how to make our selection. We then slept on it overnight, had some more emails back and forth, and then spent an other hour plus on the phone the next day.

Though we are not able to tell each artist why or why not their piece was/wasn't accept in the show, I do want every one to know that we could tell how hard each artist worked on their piece, and we feel that everyone should be very proud of their entry!

To answer a few questions that have been asked on the QuiltArt email list:

Q - Were artist statements looked at and considered when making the choices?
A - Yes. Personally, I wasn't going to read the artist statements at all until we had chosen the work, but felt I had to because there were many details that were not obvious when looking at digital images on my computer. The statements were usually very helpful.

Q - Was workmanship a factor in picking the work?
A - I can't speak for Virginia on this one, but for me, no. I looked at (in no particular order) color, contrast, design, balance, technique and did we already have many pieces in the element to choose from? As an example, there were a lot of fire or water pieces. I didn't count how many we chose in each category, but I was aware there were a lot to choose from.

Q - Since my piece was not accepted in this show, does it mean it won't get accepted in another show?
A - NO! Each jury has different results, and each show has different applicants. Please DO enter it again, in another show that's appropriate.


For anyone whose entry who was not accepted, I hope you will keep making work, and keep entering shows. The odds of being accepted in this show were about 30%, compared to Quilt National which I think is closer to 10-15%, depending on the year.

My hats off to everyone who made a quilt, whether it was entered it or not (since some people missed the deadline because of reasons out of their control), and whether it was accepted or not. You should all be proud!

I'd like to say thank you to Karey Bresenhan for inviting me to be a juror, Amanda Schlatre for organizing the work for jurying, and to Virginia Spiegel for being wonderful to work with. (Please be sure to read her blog about jurying.)

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