Sunday, March 09, 2008

Show Season

The half of the year that I call "Quilt Season" is the opposite half from when almost all of the quilt shows are. I made the arbitrary goal a while back of putting quilts into ten (10!) shows this year -- they are listed in the sidebar -- and the first one is coming up in two weeks. It's the 14th Annual "Airing of the Quilts" in Milwaukie (Oregon), and I've entered Two Complex Shapes and Quilt Map of Oregon (might as well put pictures of 'em up yet again, I suppose!). When I dropped them off and registered them yesterday, one of the women referred to me as "the new good-looking young man from the Guild." Well, I'll take it.

I mentioned all this to a non-quilting friend last night, who was puzzled by the whole concept. Was I entering the shows in order to sell the quilts? Hell, no. Well, then, why was I bothering with it? Probably it's a sign of how immersed I am in the whole process that it had never occurred to me to think of the question. But for all that, I think I came up with some pretty good answers.

I suppose the starting point is that you show a quilt because you consider quilting a medium of artistic expression, as opposed to, say, an esoteric method of blanket manufacture. You make things "to express yourself," or at least to bring into being an idea that you thought was interesting, and to have people see that and, with any luck, think that it's cool validates your process. Put another way, you want attention. Recognition for your work. Ideally, praise. Well, who doesn't?

Connected to this is that participating in shows is a way of participating in the community. Shows are quite literally put together communally by quilters. They are generally fairly festive affairs, places where people can get together and share ideas, feedback, praise, and of course sotto voce nasty remarks about each others work. The more quilts submitted, the bigger and better the shows are, so to a small extent submitting your work is a way of pitching in.

Finally, putting work in shows is for me a way of lighting the proverbial fire underneath my buttocks. Planning to have Quilt X in Show Y gives me, first and foremost, a deadline. It has to be done in time. Moreover, there are going to be a lot of knowledgeable people looking at it, so that encourages me to do better work. If I want to get something into a juried show, I know I need to bring my absolute A-game. And, participating in shows in general has forced me to gradually learn more about the generally accepted standards of excellence in quilt shows as a whole.

There are shows and there are shows, of course. For this Milwaukie show, anybody can show anything, and I expect it will be a fairly low profile event. So, I'm not showing my best, brand-new stuff; I'm saving that for my Guild's show, in a few months. Even at the intermediate level that I operate at, it's fun to save the "major debuts" for the "high profile venues."

Here's the details on the Milwaukie show. Live in the City of Roses? Then maybe I'll see you there!
March 21-22, 2008
Milwaukie Center
5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive
Milwaukie, OR 97222


Meme Duty

I was tagged by The Quilted Philosopher a while back, and it's about time I did something about it. The concept is pretty broad -- I'm just supposed to "post 7 weird or random facts about myself." Here goes:

1. I followed objects with my eyes at birth. The doctor put me down, walked away, noticed, came back, and said "You aren't supposed to be able to do that." I don't remember this, of course. But my mom says so.

2. In high school, I won my division of Oregon's state mathematics tournament. Twice. Yes. Thank you.

3. I have a large map of the United States on which I keep track of every county I've been in. Sometimes I will fly to a city, rent a car, and drive around for a while, checking out the area and collecting new counties.

4. I like kids, but never wanted to have kids of my own. So, I didn't.

5. I'm not above painting my face green and yellow if it might help the fortunes of the University of Oregon football team. This confuses some of my more intellectual friends.

6. Although not at all a religious person, I have a
blog about the Bible. This, also, confuses some of my more intellectual friends.

7. I have never eaten at a MacDonalds.

Those seem weird and random enough.


jovaliquilts said...

Yes on both weird and random, but that's part of what makes your blog interesting (that and the great quilts!). I've kept track of states (all but Alaska, even though I almost moved there, twice), but it never occurred to me to track counties.

I like your thoughts on quilt shows. I find the idea of art vs blanket a central point in the quilting world, and there are no comfortable answers. I like quilts on both sides but have the common and very mushy idea that it can't be *just* one or the other.

Rebel said...

Why do we show quilts? For the glory... all for the glory! I'm still not there. I thought I would have my flying geese quilt done in time to show somewhere this year, but it doesn't look like it will be happening anytime soon.

I saw the ad for the airing of the quilts yesterday at the fabric store, I will totally be there!

Exuberant Color said...

I always had trouble explaining quilt shows to people too. They would always ask if all of the quilts were for sale. When I said no they asked why we were doing it then. It is all about recognition and acceptance and validation.

Quilter In Paradise said...

Interesting blog - how have you managed to NEVER eat at McDonalds??? I don't do it anymore unless the grandson insists!