Thursday, 23 August 2012

Festival of Quilts - Part II. The competition



 

 
The Quilters' Games by The "No Name" Quilters

I've thought long and hard before writing this, as I don't like to be negative and criticise people, especially hard working volunteers who try to do the impossible job of making quilting appeal to as many makers as possible. However... I was so disappointed by the judges decision at the Festival of Quilt. According to them, the 'Best in Show' was a humorous group quilt about the quilting olympics. It was full of quilting in-jokes and emphasised stereotypes about quilters being fat middle aged women (For the record, I am neither and it would be nice not to be made to feel the exception by works like this). What this work says to non quilters is beyond me and it just doesn't give positive forward thinking vibes about the craft.  I can understand this being the viewers choice, selected by visitors, who appreciate the in-jokes and often work which stays with you long term has less instant appeal as it takes time to mull over the design and thought processes.  But Best in Show?

The best in show is picked from the winners of each category and I find it hard to comprehend how it could be considered better than the pictorial or art quilt winners, on a level of design or technical skill.
Silencis by Olga Gonzalez Angulo.  Winner of the Art Quilt Category

Graceful Dance by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga.  Winner of the Pictorial Category
 

Obviously these are the categories that interest me the most, but just look at the the traditional winner and the miniature was technically amazing too.

Euphoria by Deborah Kemball.  Winner of the Traditional category

How can this one be the best in show? When it was announced I could have wept, especially after a similar quilt made by the same group won last year. I didn't say anything last year, but two years in a row makes me seriously consider whether I wish to be part of a Guild which considers this to be the pinnacle of quilting in Great Britain today. All the more ironic when a lot of the Guild time seems to be taken up with obsessing why they are not attracting more younger members. I don't think I need say any more!

Back to more positive posts next time.

44 comments:

Maggi said...

Well said Gillian.

Frieda Oxenham said...

I second that! As you know I wasn't at the show and have only seen fragments of it on blogs etc. This is the first time I've seen the winner and I'm shocked! Specially when you look at the quilts that were in the running. Still the judging in Birmingham continues to be a hit/miss affair as can also be clearly seen from the judging sheets!

magsramsay said...

I totally agree. And what does it say internationally - huge embarrassment.
Perhaps with new management it's time for an overhaul.

Sandra Wyman said...

This needed saying!

Deborah Kemball said...

Hi Gillian. I thought it but didn't dare say it so I'm glad you did! I was lucky enough to win the Traditional Award, about which I'm thrilled so I feel that I shouldn't say anything but I too was surprised to see the award given to the Best in Show. I don't know that this type of quilt, however clever or witty, would be awarded a top award at a show in North America.

Thank you so much for picturing my quilt, Euphoria!

Deborah Kemball

Gillian Cooper said...

Hi Deborah,
I thought your quilt was beautiful. I'm sorry my photo doesn't do it justice. Congratulations on winning the traditional category

The Quilt Quine said...

I am glad you made this point. The B.I.S. was fun but not very best quilt at foq. I was disappointed to see that judges had picked Pictorial winner, very similar to last year. Surely they should look for different ideas each year? I have always valued judging comments to see where I can improve for future but this year was unable to understand how they had scored my work. It has made me question my ability. There definitely need to be more categories, names on quilts after judging and more consistent judging!

Joyce said...

The miniature, traditional and pictorial were all stunning. Any of those three would have been worthy of 'best in show'. I take your point about the cartoon but the judgement that surprised me was the Quilter's Guild Challenge winner.

magsramsay said...

Having regularly entered the Guild Challenge and always got widely differing judges marks ( this year 1 excellent, 1 Good and 1 satisfactory with very condescending comments) it looks to me that the winner is sometimes a compromise given its' based around theme and so can encompass anything along the Traditional to Art Quilt spectrum. I don't think judges whose preference is Trad quilts really understand art quilts.

sheila 77 said...

Well said. I'm often mystified by the judging in Quilt Shows, but was extra puzzled by most of the Winners' Wall at Birmingham. It would be helpful if the judges had indicated why they thought each quilt was best in category. There were so many beautifully designed and beautifully made quilts which didn't get any recognition.

annabel said...

Oooo I don't know where to start except perhaps by saying I agree with you. No one wants to say anything negative or unkind about any of the quilts on show, as it is rightly open to all and should remain so, whether it's your first quilt or whether you make a living selling quilts. The problem is with the judging, and the criteria they use. One size does not fit all. The Guild which has a membership which is dropping like a stone, has a strangle hold on the foq. It's an easy option business move by Twisted Thread as they don't have to try hard to think of an alternative. If you need a prize to encourage entries you need a system of judging, and the guild have an established one, they train the judges on expensive courses, and constrain the categories and the freedom to move forward. It's probably hard to find another option.

But quilting and more importantly quilters have moved on in the last 20 years and the Guild has failed to keep up and restricts us all to outdated and outmoded judging criteria. Good business is about keeping your grass roots, and your money source happy, and a significant number of us arent.

In the quilts I make for example (and I rarely enter foq - there's no point) how on earth could I be judged fairly. It's about the finished result, about the painting, and surface effects. It is banal to be judged by anyone who is not a fellow artist.

My solution: To write to the new management and let them know that there are a significant number of quilters out there who are not happy with the status quo. You don't need to alter everything but how about a new category or two preferably with NO reference to the guild but judged by invited experts in their field. Not Royal School of Needlework either!! How about high profile people from the world of practising artists, or even their teachers from universities? Sponsership could be from a paint manufacturer like Golden or Windsor and Newton.

Definitely overdue for a shakeup though. Spleen vented. Thank you very much for releasing the valve!!

Margaret said...

I thought 'Best in Show' required not only content (and humour should not be excluded there) but also quality of workmanship -- design, yes, and use of colour, fabric, and the various techniques behind the applique and stitching (machine or hand). Having not been present to see it 'up close and personal', I would wonder if these criteria were met? If so... and if all of the above were achieved at a higher level than the others being judged...but from what you've shown, I can't see that it was. Perhaps it's time the judging was given some fresh blood...?

Marijke said...

I sooo agree with you all.
I couldn't believe Best of show and quite some other winners either.
I haven't received any judges comments at all, maybe I should'nt bother asking about them

My coat in my Dreams was in THE show

Marijke, the Netherlands

Cas Holmes said...

well considered comments. I was a little surprised at the best in show having seen some incredible pieces not even on the judges wall..and those on the wall certainly more preferable. At the launch of the art quilt competition at Knitting and Stitching show in the late nighties Andrew Salmon had the courage to give voice to challenging pieces which raised the profile of Art Quilts. Does this really mark progression in Quilt making as an art form or even mark the best in some of the most beautifully designed and worked more traditional quilts?

Debbie Jones said...

I wandered the aisles of the exhibition and anticipated best in show was going to be fabulous. Standing at the winners wall I could see the plaque saying 'best in show' but for a few moments my mind couldn't quite comprehend what I was looking at. Funny? Yes. The best example of the art? Not in a million years. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Someone has got things badly wrong.

HilaryB said...

There has been a lot of talk about this on facebook, following a link to your blog Gillian, and it has all been supportive. If anyone is interested in following two more threads on this discussion - please look at Annabel Rainbows or my fb pages. I know Annabel and Magaret have written to TT, but I also think it is important to let the guild know how a very large group of quilters feel. So I'm pasting a copy of my fb message on Annabels page (sorry to paste, but I am desperately trying to make a quilt for Harrogate, due on Tuesday, at the same time)Please lets act! - Hilary Beattie x

"Ok girls - I've been thinking (lots) and I wonder of there are a lot of people who very much want to support this, but are not not sure how to phrase things etc? So .... why don't we prepare a letter to go to the guild - covering all the points raised here, on the thread on my fb page and on Gilliians blog and make that available for people to copy and send with their signature .. this is how petitions often work. Peolple are so aften willing, but perhaps unsure, or time strapped. I feel we really do need to address this with both TT and the Guild. I am a passionate supporter of the guild, as I love our quilting heritage, particuarly as it is so largely female, and I really believe we have a duty to preserve and keep that record going for future generations - in so many ways it mirrors our growth and slow but strong development of our female voice in socoety. And I hate the idea that art and contemporary quilters will become alienated from that. I love that the Guild purchase the first prize winner from the Guild challenge each year to preserve as a record for all time ... we must surely try hard to find a place and understanding of our work in this organisation. But so much needs doing and I suspect art quilters are often too busy/hard up! to be able to train as judges, so we need a different system. I shall copy this post to my fb page and Gillians blog and hope for a positive response x"

Angie Burrett said...

I agree with all you said Gillian - how it weas BIS is quite beyond me. I guess it was fun - sort of - but actually left me cold. Well done for bringing this decision into the open.

Claire said...

I was really surprised at the quilt being chosen as the Best of Show winner, and a number of people I spoke to at FoQ were as well. For the group quilt category, picking a winner very similiar to the group quilt that won last year seems an odd decision. So it looks like making a quilt with a topical issue (olympics) and being slightly humerous, is the way to go. A woman I spoke to at FoQ is going entering a leprechaun quilt in the group category next year! Looks like the group category will now become the humerous/joke section...

Susan Briscoe said...

I agree with so many of the points made here. No matter how amusing some people might think the winner to be, it does nothing for the image of quilters and I really, REALLY couldn't see how it was Best in Show. I know some of the quilters in that group, so I've tried to be tactful, but after a good look around the other entries on Sunday, it's difficult.

I feel very disappointed that this was the winner, on the 10th anniversary of a show which was promised to be better than all the other shows and to have higher standards for the judges.

Hilary B was spot on where she said that she suspects 'art quilters are often too busy/hard up to be able to train as judges' - professional quilters and quilt teachers don't have the time or the spare funds to do a course like this either. I certainly don't. It would take a lifetime of judging at the UK shows to even earn back the outlay on the basic course fee (around £800 last time I looked) so it is a no brainer for anyone working professionally in the quilt world. It suggests both the judging system and the judges used for FoQ need an overhaul.

After a decade on the UK quilting scene, FoQ should be at the pinnacle, but unfortunately the judging results seems to suggest it isn't.

Kim Jones said...

Hi Gill, you've nailed it! This really is a travesty. The quality of the work was good, no question but not worthy of best in show, unless it was visitors choice perhaps.

The economy is not good, people were not buying like they have in the past, hotels cost more, food costs more and I question whether it's worth it after this.

Sheila Evans said...

I can add nothing to the comments in the blog. I agree wholeheartedly with the opinions expressed. It was fun but never BIS. Perhaps there should be a fun category.

Lizzie said...

I totally agree as well. I was there for the Awards and felt very disappointed at the winner of BIS. I have been thinking about it now for quite some time since the Show. There was some outstanding work there and most overlooked.

Lizzie said...

I agree too with everything said. I felt very disappointed at the result

Liz Whitehouse said...

Having been alerted to this blog by Guild members, I would like the opportunity to respond, on behalf of The Guild, to some of the comments above, if only to correct the factual errors in some of the comments. We clearly understand that everyone has a right to a differing opinion on the choice of winners in any type of show. We have posted a statement on The Guild web site at www.quiltersguild.org.uk (in the News section) about the decision-making process.

We would like to clarify that the Meerkats quilt won the Best Group Quilt category (and Visitors’ Choice) last year – not the Best in Show.

When making your requests with regard to judging, please remember that the judging for Festival of Quilts (usually around 750 quilts) is all done in around 12 hours the previous day. This makes copious feedback a practical impossibility. This is also why the names of the quiltmakers are to be found in the published catalogue, which can be prepared in advance of the show.

Annabel says in her post that “The Guild membership is dropping like a stone.” Sorry, Annabel but that is simply not correct. Guild membership increased by 330 members in 2011, which included 200 Affiliated Groups (currently 280 groups). This is on top of an increase of 354 members in 2010.

The Quilters’ Guild does not “have a stranglehold” on the Festival of Quilts. The Guild conceived and ran the very first Festival of Quilts at Lords Cricket Ground and went on to work in association with twistedthread to launch and run the Festival of Quilts in its current form – very successfully over the last 10 years. If Guild members would like to see changes at Festival of Quilts then please talk to your trustees or direct to me (Liz Whitehouse, Chief Executive). We have regular meetings with twistedthread, ideas are discussed and can be put forward if The Guild feels they have merit. However, please remember that, first and foremost, Festival of Quilts is a commercial show and final decisions lie with twistedthread, who need to find category sponsors in a difficult economic climate and take the commercial risk in putting on the show.

Sorry, The Guild cannot take the credit for purchasing the winner of The Guild Challenge each year. We have to thank the sponsor, Bernina for that. Each year Bernina buy the winning British and European quilts in this category. The British winner is donated to The Quilters’ Guild Collection and the European winner is taken into Bernina’s own collection.

Finally, The Guild’s Quilt Judging course is highly regarded across Europe with half the current participants being from Europe and one from Australia. The fee is for a two-year course, payable in two instalments and includes a three-day residential and the paid services of two tutors. Where people feel the judging criteria in any category should be changed, it is always open to you to write expressing your thoughts to the Chair of the Judging Committee (currently Brenda Wroe) c/o The Guild.

Victoria Hillman said...

I've scanned through most of the comments and agree with some and disagree with others. For my part I've been in discussion with Linda Seward regarding the disparity in the judges marks and comments for my own entry at the FOQ. My concerns were based around what appeared to as the two judges not using the same criteria. The only explanation for the variance in the marks. I hope the information I've given Linda will help this not happen to others in the future. With regards to the Best in Show, I was always under the impression that this was a work which would be overall best piece of work, technically, aesthetically etc. from the category winners. When in this instance it clearly states in the catalogue, which I didn't buy, it was the personal choice of the QGBI President and Patron. So perhaps they should change the name of the award! I have also studies the response by Liz and one thing that she leaves out is that the Quilters Guild are responsible for not only the Rules and Regulations regarding the Quilt Competitions but also the judging thereof. So if you want to get anything changed regarding either then as I see it there are 2 options. Either the Quilters Guild make changes to the Rules & Regulations or the New Company change the agreement they have with the Guild and they take this over. Food for thought.I'd also like to mention, before anyone else does, that I was a QG member for many years until a falling out 2 years ago. I am a Traditional Quilter and Quilt Teacher of many years standing and it's not only the more modern styles of Quilting that have problems with the current judging system. Rosemary Hillman

annabel said...

Aplogies to Liz for saying the Guild membership was dropping like a stone if it isn't. It was what I was told when I contacted the guild to complain (and no, I'm not saying who said it!) I have certainly heard Victoria's view mentioned many times by other people.

I still maintain very strongly that the Guild should not be involved in every aspect of judging for Twisted Thread, and that the art category especially should be dealt with in a different way. There are many options for a business wanting to make the leap.

If there is not enough time for judging, then the Guild must try and do something about it, either by insisting for more time or altering judging procedures to cope. Again there are options being talked about on the internet.

I want the Guild to listen. No I'm not a member and won't be, but I am subject to their rules on judging, so feel it's right that I have a voice regardless.



Sharne's Bits 'n' Bobs said...

Well said. I am mistified sometimes by the judging, they must be singing from a different hymmn sheet.

Patty Ashworth said...

Ah, after reading that the "best of show" is a purchase award for the sponcer, then it makes sense that they are picking the funny one for a sewing company. But that should be a seperate award and not called the best in show. There isn't anyway to contact a judge and have her explain her view point afterwards. You will have to remember her name and enter quilts according to her likes and dislikes in order to win. This happens all the time! Some shows are not telling you the judge(s) ahead of time to prevent that from happening.

I'm glad that you have brought this out. Too many times, negative comments (or rather comments that the people in charge don't want to hear) go unsaid to keep anyone from getting bent out of shape. Liz, you got plenty upset with this just showing up in a blog. I doubt you would have listened quietly and taken it in for the next show and changed anything. I have run a show and you get quite frazzled and worn out. There are always complaints and 9 times out of 10, they are just someone gripping because they don't think something was done to show off their quilt the best. But, things should be said and listened to. You don't have to justify anything. It's done. But it is not best of show. It's cute and as a quilter, I like the creativity of it. But as a quilter, I hate the thought that others will see me like those puggy women.

I have stopped helping with shows and organizing things in quilt guilds. I'm tired of the way things get blown up out of porportion with women running things. They all want their way but want someone else to do it. So I belong to 3 guilds now and just do show and tell and a couple of exchanges. I enter shows that are out of town but close enough to bring the quilts over. Guilds have lost the sense of sharing and the controlling women ARE driving others away.

Younger women are busy raising families and taking care of things. Most just don't have the time to join in. When they do show up, let's do more show and help. If the quilt that is getting the most money just needs to be to the liking of the sponcer, then they need to take over the organizing of the show. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially in a blog. If you don't like it, be nice when you reply.... or don't read them.

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

I agree with all and here is my solution. Judges need to include artists of other mediums not just quilters. They will not only look at the piece as a quilt but also as art and see what others fail to see. The quilt judges can look at the techniques they know so well and the balance of the two should result in a proper winner.

Gillian Cooper said...

Barbara, I think this is a great idea for the Art Quilt category and maybe for the Guild Challenge. It would hopefully help raise the artistic standard of the work submitted and give quilters some feedback from a different angle on their judging sheets.

Gillian Cooper said...

Patty,
The BIS was not one of the purchase prize pieces. This is for a separate category called the Guild Challenge.

I think some time the judging can seem uneven as some people naturally mark high and others low (I know I would rarely give a book a 5star Amazon rating, but that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed it). I suppose what matters is that the judging is consistent across all the quilts in that category and that any feedback comments are sensible/useful.

Susan Briscoe said...

Victoria wrote - "When in this instance it clearly states in the catalogue, which I didn't buy, it was the personal choice of the QGBI President and Patron."

Probably in common with many other traders, demonstrators etc. I didn't have a chance to read my catalogue during the show (too busy!) but I was rather surprised by this. Surely then the award should have a different title from Best in Show? e.g. "President's and Patron's Choice". It sounds like it has more similarity to the Judge's Choice awards. Or am I getting the info wrong?

SHELAGH FOLGATE said...

As a long standing tutor of City & Guilds & attending nearly all of the FOQ. I neither enter nor recommend to my students to enter this show. I agree with the comments made. It appears to me, and I am intitled to my opinion that it is very 'matey' its the same people winning time and again. I get furious with seeing quilts that have won at other shows appearing. There should be a category for previous winners. How can we possibly attract a younger membership when this chummy 'clique' is in evidence.
Well said Gillian, I want our art to continue, I desparately want to attract younger quilters & I abhore this portrayal of fat, old, grey haired quilters. I had better stop here, I am going to put a link to this thread on my blog. I do hope something happens now, this is a step too far.

Gillian Cooper said...

Susan, you are right. It is the President and Patron's Choice. According to the Guild's update, this year, the Patron wasn't available and was replaced by a past president. But for me, this is what makes it so disappointing, that this represents the President's vision of quilt. The update also says that they examined the backs to help make the final decision. As these quilts are not intended for beds,for me that should be an irrelevant part of the decision.

Shelagh, I like your idea of a past winners' category.

Deb said...

I so agree.Sad to also agree that the "Best of Show" award seems to lead jurors to lose their collective mind. Both times I have been to Quilt National here in the state the Best in Show winner had me (and a lot of others) standing there mouthing the words WTF were they thinking???

Susan Briscoe said...

Gillian, I agree re examing the backs of the quilts. When I judge, I never examine the backs. Why? Because, where it's relevant (i.e. bed quilt, cot quilt), it is perfectly reasonable to assume that a quilt with a beautifully finished front is going to have an equally well finished back - that's the case in my experience anyway.

I have a feeling that, had the Patron actually been able to take part in this award (and Kaffe should have made himself available for this, if at all possible), the overall winner would have been a different quilt.

Cynthia said...

I too was very disappointed on the choice of Best in Show. My first visit to FOQ what impression am I left with?
Not a great choice, there were better quilts there.

Cynthia said...

This was my first visit to FOQ, what impression am I left with looking at the quilt awarded Best in show?
Not a good one there were better ones on display although quite a few had me scratching my head....

Helen Conway said...

I agree wholeheartedly that the judging which resulted in the group quilt being best of show was, frankly dire. There were many quilts which could havebeen contenders, both on the winners wall and not. That was not one of them. It confirmed my viewpoint that (a) art should not actually be judged in the first place as it is not amenable to the precisely defined criteria that allows a fair decision. If you are the fastest at the 100 meters that can be measured. There is nothing in art which makes it possible to compare one with another. Which is better: VanGoghs Starry Starry Night or Monet's Waterlily's?
(b) the Guild are self justifying in their argument that there s not enough time to do it well. Either get enough time or stop doing it. Doing it badly serves no one. (c) the course is a waste of money. It does not produce a qualification acredited by any recognised educational body. It merely serves to confirm that the guild are happy that the judges do what they guld sees fit to the standard the guild is happy with. (d) the Quilt Guild is no longer the place for contemporary quilters. We need either to focus on SAQA as a forum for our discussions or make the CG a stand alone body.

irenemacwilliam said...

Irene MacWilliam
I have always held that to expect judges to fill out tick boxes and write comments in a very limited time is an impossible task and will inevitably lead to much discussion and often dissatisfaction by the viewing public and especially those who have entered work.

The judges used in recent years I believe have all passed through the QGBI judging course. Is there any other artistic medium where they set up to train judges? In the wider art world I believe it is highly respected practictioners or people with years of knowledge about the particular discipline who are asked to select for exhibitions and then to pick out winners of awards. They do not have tick boxes to fill in. Over the years by using different curators the shows and awards given cover a very wide spectrum of work.

I have beside me my marks sheet from FOQ- I wonder looking at the various boxes how would a quilt made of 2/3 layers of thin cork tiles be marked, it might carry a strong message about "cork oak" trees, but it would not score highly in many of the categores and would have many n/as. Without all the boxes in the excellent column under the current marking system I believe it could not rise to being best in its category.

Having such an outdated marking system for art and contemporary are quilts is I would suggest a real turn off for the avant garde maker. Without this system shows might attract more entries from colleges and so the show would appeal to a much wider audience.

There is also a lot of confusion as to what is an art quilt and what is a contemporary quilt. Thinking of this year's entries in these 2 categories many of the entries would fit very well into the non quilt world. Not sure exactly what I am trying to say but please do not judge/mark with criteria that are not really relevant.

One of the tick boxes on the mark sheets is for Originality / Content... how can a judge possibly understand many of the entries in the short time frame they have for each entry. I believe they may request to have the makers statement read out to them but time will be a factor in whether this is asked for. Without time to even consider if there is content beyond the immediate visual impact/ emotional response it makes it seems to me nonsense of the whole marking system.

I have no axe to grind. My quilts are not going to be winners so I view my crit sheet just out of curiosity. I have given much comfort to people upset by their marks sheet when I have told of the widely diverse remarks and ticks I have had over the years.

It is not the judges fault, they do not have time to do what they are asked to do. That is apart from the whole thing of trainign judges. Perhaps training judges to pick out winners in traditional and bed quilts might be appropriate, as I do not make these I have not given that area much thought.

I could go on but I have probably written too much. My remarks above have been qualified by my using "I believe" in places as obviously I do not know exactly what goes on during the judging process.

Susan Briscoe said...

I think Helen Conway has hit the nail on the head re my gut feelings about the quilt jugdges course. I have tried to see how it is relevant to me, weighing up whether (as a juge for Grosvenor) it is a qualification I could justify acquiring, but I can't see how it is any use in arts employment outside of FoQ - where I'm not actually interested in working.

The time v number of quilts to judge argument by FoQ is one I can't agree with. There should be an adequate amount of time to mark each quilt (since the juging sheet is essentially an assessment marking form) and this SHOULD include reading the artist's statement - that shouldn't be optional. If there are more quilts than anticipated, they should employ more judges. FoQ's preregistration process should give the organisers a clear idea of how many well in advance - isn't that the reason for it, according to them?

I don't like the method of using an assistant (no matter what they choose to call them) to hold the judging file, as it is too easy to be subliminally influenced by that person's reaction to a work rather than judging impartially without confering.

A lot of the problems in the judging seem to come from the evaluation points on the judging form. Like any assessment, if the judge/exam moderator is asked to work to a particular system for marking, that's what they have to use (think of this year's GCSE English row). So it seems to me that there is something wrong with the FoQ judging forms themselves. The early FoQ judging forms had so many things to tick, it was quite possible for a judge to contradict an earlier mark further down the form. The last one I had seemed simpler, but switching to points out of 10 would give a more detailed result than labelling things 'good','excellent' etc. Actually having fewer points to mark, and these being not so specific, could be better.

And, dare I say it, you will get a different result from judges who have come up through the quilting world rather than those who have a background in visual art?

I came to quilting from a fine art background myself (originally a printmaker), with four years at art college and uni, and my other joint hons degree subject is drama, where I specialised in stage design, plus I hold a pgce (post compulsory) with experience of marking adult artwork, so maybe I just have a different view on these things...

Victoria Hillman said...

Rosemary Via Victoria.

I've read the latest posts on this thread and it seems to me that the comments are predominantly from Art Quilters. So as I Traditional Quilter I'd like to put my view forward.

The Categories on the Judges sheets are pretty irrelevant to what we do too!!!!!!! If a quilt is to be used, such as a Bed quilt of any size then the first thing to consider is 'Is it fit for purpose?' Where is that on the sheet? If the particular item is for decoration only then surely it has the same purpose as any other quilt of that type whether it be Art, Pictorial or something else.

I have long argued, within and outside the Guild that the use of the word 'Contemporary' is confusing to those who are not part of the Guild. As far as I am aware everything that is made either now or in the recent past is contemporary with it's time. But to the Guild it seems to mean Art type quilts which is perhaps why so many people were confused as to which category to enter their work into. This in turn makes a mockery of the 'Fulfils Category' section of the Judges Boxes and possibly why there were some many comments this year regarding why some quilts were in the section that they were displayed in.

Another drawback in using a system whereby the more points you get the higher chance you have of obtaining a prize is that those who are fully aware of the system can actually make items which will ensure that they get the maximum points available even if the overall item then appears disjointed. This is a common fault with WI competitions and can result in some very strange items winning and some very beautiful items not getting and awards. If you make something with only 1 technique you are automatically penalised as will not score in any of the other technique categories.

A lot of what I've said relates to everyone's work but for us Traditionalists there are more problems. A lot of traditional work takes years to obtain a high degree of accuracy and skill, where is that allowed for? There is also the time factor, I've made small, medium and large items and there is a very different process when you spend a couple of years making a large item by hand than a few months making something smaller. Are the Judges even made aware of these things? Then to throw another thing into the argument, Can spending 2 years to get this judges qualification, give you all the information you need to Judge something which you do not yourself know how to make? This applies to all of us. So Non Traditional Quilters please don't think that this somehow only applies to your work we're all in this together.

UK Art Quilts said...

Hello again Gillian,

Your blog has become the focus of a lot of interesting ideas and comments so thank you so much for being brave enough to highlight this for us all. I have linked to it for Twisted Thread (who tell me they've read it all) and other blogs and groups, and hope you won't mind.

The talk about art quilts has rumbled along happily for years, without much ever changing. We know the arguments and the injustices. One or two chums have now agreed that the arguments should stop and positive action should take it's place. We've set up a new facebook page and blog (the links can be found here www.grumpyandmad.blogspot.com or by clicking on my profile name and following the links.

Basically, Hilary Beattie and myself have decided to build a group to see if we can instigate change - perhaps by forming a UK saqa kind of organization, and maybe sponsoring an art category ourselves. Certainly, we would like art quilts to be judged as art and not quilts by the Guild. We've explained it all briefly on the first posting of the blog. (www.ukartquilts.blogspot.co.uk) If you feel inclined, do come and join us and add your voice to the growing swell of unhappy quilters. We can change things. It may take a little time but at least it's a start.

Helen from Hobart said...

This year was my first time at FOQ. I enjoyed it but felt that many entrants did not understand the difference between Art and Contemporary Quilts. There were lots of fantastic quilts that did not get a prize, and perhaps should be entered in other competitions, as often who wins is deteremined by the quality of the other entries not failures in your entry.
I was totally gobsmacked by the Winner's Wall - and in particular by the 'Best of Show'. It was a fun quilt, a brilliant group effort, but no way was it the BEST in the entire show. There were others on that wall that were much better examples of the art and craft of quilting.
My major gripe was that it did not appear to have enough quilting to hold it together over a few years - no need for dense free motion artistry, just enough quilting in the blank spaces to stop the fabric sagging.

Helen from Hobart

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