For years, I was a pretty traditional quilter, following all the rules written in the many books I read on the subject. It wasn’t until 2005, when I made my first art quilt, a totally original creation, that I felt the freedom to be ME. Up to this point I hadn’t entered quilt shows, nor had my quilts been judged. My first traditional quilt show was a revelation! Wow! Quilt show judges are very picky! Their comments, while meant to be helpful, sure stifled my creativity. Sorry, judges, but I’m just not a 100% cotton kinda girl!
After much soul searching, I decided to be true to myself and make what pleased ME. I printed a sign in BIG black letters which read “MY QUILT. MY RULES.” and hung it above my sewing machine. To this day, I have tried to live by that motto.
Yes, I am a non-conformist trying to fit into the quilt show judges’ rule book. I admit to being ANAL…to judges, a good thing, but also WACKO which means my work is often misunderstood.
The quilt featured in this post is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The title of the piece, made for a log cabin challenge, is “Pique Pineapples with a Pinch of Pizzazz!” Yes, I made very traditional pineapple blocks of a white pique fabric, a GOOD thing. However, my “Pinch of Pizzazz”, a very glitzy “dance costume” fabric, was a BAD thing to the judge’s eye. The comment “The glitzy fabric is totally inappropriate to the piece.” was, to put it mildly, upsetting. Says who????? It was THE pinch of pizzazz. Gimme a break! Did the judge happen to notice the cut-outs surrounding the piece, not an easy thing to pull off successfully, or was she too blinded by the “inappropriate” glitz?
Like childbirth, the pain of a bad show score is quickly forgotten as I create my next piece. I have come to the realization that the viewers’ reaction to my work is far more relevant than any judge’s. There is nothing I enjoy more than anonymously standing off to the side of one of my show pieces and listening to the viewers comments. Thankfully, some “get it”, which is always a thrill, and, some don’t. Oh, well, win a few, lose a few. Life goes on.