Saturday, July 07, 2012

My Zen Garden at VQF

One last post from VQF.  I know you have seen this a time or two, but hey - it's mine and it took the Best Mixed Media Award last week at VQF.  That's the award for both piecing and applique.  My thoughts??...I was pretty excited to read that upon arriving.  Then I saw my quilt hanging, and felt horror & shock.  Red ribbon??? What on earth did the judges think I did wrong?  I'd have to wait for the quilt to come home for that answer.  The show hung my quilt on an end, in a lovely prominent place.  I was pleased for that.  It's probably my most dramatic quilt -- nothing subtle about the bright colors.  The purples & greens are all me.  ALL.  And did you know that when I designed this 14-15 months ago, I made it completely from fabrics I had on hand.  Only the backing & binding fabrics were purchased.
I will be happy when all quilt shows will put the cards and awards hung off of the drapes.  You can imagine how horrible it looked on the 24" miniatures to have all these cards blocking the view of the quilt.

The judges in general gave me very nice comments.  They liked my machine quilting, especially the checkerboard.  Gotta admit - this is so easy, but so very effective.   There is always one thorn in a bunch of roses though.  It was this way last year too (but somehow the average of the 3 judges yielded a blue ribbon then).  One judge scored my quilt way lower than the other two.  It's kind of irritating not to have more consistency, or at least some explanation  for deductions.  My piecing is textbook; no missed points anywhere.  So why take off 2 points when the other judges didn't?  This one judge took off a point on visual impact too.  They went so far as to write "powerful and bold impact", but only gave it 4 of 5 possible points. One judge shouldn't be allowed to score 10 points below the average of the other two.  And they ought to give some credit for complexity of piecing and applique.  I know they have a system, and I am far from understanding it, but when a very simply pieced quilt without so much as a triangle to possibly nip off can score a blue ribbon (because frankly there wasn't anything included that could be done incorrectly), it beckons the question, Why?
I could rant about judging until the crows come home, but all it would do is make readers think I am ungracious, which I am not.  I am a product of 45 years of having lived a competitive and judged life.  First it was competitive gymnastics through my youth.  Then I figure skated as an adult, and now the quilting.  I have lived and experienced judges that "just do it differently" than the others time and again.  I disagreed with it then, and still feel there should be be more accountability or guidelines for consistency.  At the very least, I'd like to receive some comment that indicated why this one judge thought this quilt only deserving of the yellow ribbon-points she/he awarded.  The fact that the Vermont Quilt Festival is known for being a conservative and traditional show should not be a factor.  I ask you...

What is improper about my suitability of materials?...
Is there something only 80% in my border treatment?...
Is the quality of quilting only deserving of 17 out of 20 points?...

 I bury all threads, it has perfect tension, and is wildly creative.  The fabrics chosen are perfect for a "blooming" style quilt, creating a big wow factor.  I stood around anonymously and listened to people looking at the quilt long enough to know that they thought it was beautifully executed.  The other two judges wrote that the values and colors were highly complimentary, so why is one judge allowed to deduct.   They should at the least be required to put their names on the judges forms (pink!) so that we know who they are.

Just my thoughts, ya know!

Here's some other looks at this quilt...here and here and here

8 comments:

Barb said...

I know how you feel. Among my 3 judges comments there was a wide spread of points off.
In the end it's always someones "opinion" and nothing more.
Sorry you were disappointed. Your quilt is lovely!

LynCC said...

Oh, my!! You finished the top, quilting it up (AMAZINGLY!!), and had it shown all in the gap that I couldn't follow my blog roll because of this move. Margaret, this is gorgeous, and I love the direction it took since I'd last seen it back before any of the flowers were constructed. (Yeah, the whole judging system stinks in just about every venue I can think of, having watched it in both the sports and the music worlds as well as quilting. It's profoundly subjective.)

regan said...

I've often wondered what the heck the judges are actually looking at, cuz the ribbons rarely reflect my thoughts. I guess all it takes is a judge that doesn't like lime green and then your screwed if you used it! Maybe there should be more than just 3 judges at a big show, that way the one guy who is crazy doesn't bring down the points total so much. Just a thought! I personally loved your quilt, and I think you're right.....they should be pinning the info cards and ribbons next to the quilts, not on them.

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

Who knows what the odd judge was thinking? I think that the quilt is gorgeous! I love the colors (of course lime greens, purples and aqua are my absolute favorites). And the little contrast yellow diamond at the tips of the inner star is such a great touch.

Virginia said...

I'm stunned. Your quilt is an award winner in my opinion. I've followed the construction and quilting since the beginning. I have and will continue to admire your talent.

Patti said...

I don't get it either because clearly your tops as you say would win peoples' choice. I can't wait every time I see you post something on your blog because I'm pretty sure my breath is about to leave my body.

Cassandra said...

I don't know anything about judges or shows but your quilt is absolutely gorgeous!!

Marié du Toit said...

In South Africa Judges generally also rather award a ribbon to a plain quilt with zero mistakes than to a complicated stunning quilt that has small things to be negative about. It is wonderfull that you know your quilt is perfect. You have a standard that you have met- congratulations- this is no small achievement. (I myself is guilty of not meeting the standards I know is important- not always unpick or make sure points is 100 % not getting my quilt as straight and flat as yours etc. You can be very proud of your quilts beauty and workmanship!