Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Keeping It All in Perspective

News spread like wild fire, in the fiber world this week, about the jury results of a major international fiber show. Who was accepted and who was not? I have some thoughts about this show, mainly about the entry rules, and how they apply to me and my goals. I'd like to share my thoughts, but in keeping with my policy of keeping this blog positive, and also not naming names, I'm going to talk in generalities.

To answer the obvious question, no I was not accepted, and I'm not posting my opinion because I'm unhappy about this. I'm posting because it's been on my mind for a number of years. A few years ago, I would have mourned my being rejected for a day or so, and moved on. This time, when I read my email, I thought "OK" and I'm moving on. No mourning.

While it's always wonderful to be accepted in to a show, especially one with prize money and/or a book, it's important to look at the whole picture.

The whole picture for me is this..... Are the show eligibility rules fair to me and my career? What is my goal as an artist, and is this show THAT important to my goal?

Here are the eligibility rules for this particular show, that disqualify a work, that I'm concerned about:

- "Any work will have appeared, prior to May 2009, in an American fiber arts exhibition that draws artists and/or visitors from more than 100 miles from its venue."
"Any work that will have appeared, prior to May 2009, in an American publication that has national and/or international distribution."

- "Any work that has appeared after September 1, 2006, on an internet site other than your own."

Here's why I'm concerned:

- I read a lot of show entry and eligibility rules, for many different kinds of shows, for many different kinds of media, and in many different venues. I have not seen the above rules posted anywhere, ever, except this one show.

- I've created a lot of work in the past few years. In early to mid 2007, I created eight pieces that I am proud of. Two if them I am especially proud of. For me, they were a break-through in my art making. Immediately, I had to decide, do I hold these pieces back from submitting to other shows so I can submit to a show with a September 2008 deadline, which I may or may not be accepted? Or, do I submit to other shows and books, thereby making these pieces ineligible? Hmmmm. Tough question.

Since the chance of being accepted in this show is always very small, and because most shows have a two year window for when a work was created, I chose to hold some work back, but not most. Here's why:

My goal is to show my work in painting, printmaking, mixed media shows, and maybe a few fiber shows, chosen by jurors or curators from museums, or galleries, who see the big picture in the art world. Submitting to books and magazines, with a national and international mixed media focus, is also important.

If a show has such strict rules, like this one has, I have to decide which is more important, possibly exhibiting in this one show, or a multiple of shows? As an artist, I need to promote my work via many venues. Holding back work for the possibility of being in this one show does not fit in to my goals.

Enough said.

The images in this post are a combination of some of the work I did, and did not, submit to the show I'm talking about.

I'd like to congratulate the artists who were accepted in to this show. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, by posting these comments. I'm very happy for those who were accepted.

To those who were not accepted, please don't let this drag you down. It's one show, and there are many others. Please don't give up on your art.

If you want to discuss, my email address is No hate mail please. This post is my opinion about how this show does and does not meet my goals at this time. Nothing else.