Well, yesterday afternoon, QuiltCon quilt show jury results arrived and the usual reactions of delight and disappointment (or both, in my case) occurred on social media and in private. It was quite similar to the flurry back in September when the Quilt National letters arrived. Oh, and the same thing back in August when the International Quilt Festival World of Beauty emails showed up. Although I entered all three (and was completely rejected from two of them), I still see myself as an outsider learning to navigate it all. No stranger to rejection, I lick my wounds and move on. That is, even though I took a gamble in entering at all, there is good reason to wallow in a little self-pity. But then one must find a path out and onwards. Right? Of course, I need support from friends and fellow artists to see through the moments and devise the next steps. We are a community and these shaky times that come around periodically can serve to unite us.
There are some lovely responses that I’ve read so far:
- — Victoria Gertenbach gave the community a sweet bear hug and then offered a small assessment of the narrowing definition of modern.
- — Kristin LaFlamme mused about finding one’s audience. (Click over to see her amazing Grumpy Cat quilt!)
- —Leanne Chahley clarified the odds. (Click over to see her gorgeous dense quilting!)
- — Demystifying the MQG jury process, Latifah Saafir eased some minds somewhat.
- — And just by happenstance, Lisa Congdon is intereviewed today by Susan Mulder on The Rejection Chronicles.
Okay, so I had some success with my entries to QuiltCon: five of my quilts will be in the show. Here are snippets of the quilts. I’ve shown all but one here sometime this year, actually.
Now, some are not happy that some quilters have multiples in the show. Okay? I don’t know what to say to that. The rules did not limit the number of entries. And the only exception for acceptances was a cap of one in the category of “small” quilts. And then the quilter-blind jury process played out. (See Latifah’s post linked above.)
Should one feel sorry for having her quilts chosen? A little mandatory survivor guilt? Don’t worry, I’ve got it.
Now, I did enter three other quilts to QuiltCon that were not selected. Due to the “small” quilt rule, I knew ahead of time that at least one had to be turned down. And the other two? Well, they are quilts I made specifically for a challenge category in the show. So it stings a bit more. One of those is a quilt I view as one of my best yet and this result does not change my opinion of that. [Soon I’ll discuss the process of making those two quilts and how it made me grow as an artist.] In the end, this quilt was not what this jury appreciated for this show—they found other quilts more worthy. Great! No worries. I already have found the venue for its first exhibition.
This feels like rambling now. But that might be a symptom of survivor guilt mixed with a little bit of rejection?
What grounds me is taking the time to remember why I make things. No, really, why do you make things? I make because I must. It is my way to process events, emotions and ruminations. Sometimes what I make is just for me, a sort of journal exercise. On the other hand, I sometimes hope to engage in an artistic conversation through the artwork. Conversations require audience, hence exhibition. (See Kristin’s post linked above.)
I make because I must.
And I am grateful to get to share what I make with folks sometimes.
I hope to see some of you at QuiltCon! Let me know so we can meet up.