It is an age-old issue with quilters and quilt shows whether or not "the quilter" should get appropriate credit. It's not really an issue of whether the quilter should receive appropriate credit, but rather on of IF the quilter is given appropriate credit. Nowadays, most entry applications for shows request that the entrant provide the name of who quilted the quilt. There are few checks, however, that truly ensure that this is done. As a longarm quilter, I know in my mind and heart that many quilts are really not a "quilt" until they are quilted. Quilting brings so many dimensions and textures and patterns to a pieced or appliqued top. The quilting becomes the top and makes it a better version of itself. I guarantee that if there were Quilt Top Shows, they wouldn't attract too many viewers. It is the finished package that gets the "oohhs" and "aahhss". So quilters (you notice I didn't call them "quilt top makers"), please appropriately credit your quilter, AND notify them when you show a quilt that they quilted...AND when it wins something. Even though you own the quilt, I assure you they are interested in this news.
As you now know, I have an article in a current magazine and HandiQuilter ads presently running -- both of which give my website and blog added visibility. Many people will find me, so I am conscious of what I write on account of that. My business is only as good as the image I portray. This blog is much more visible and public than ever before. As a result, I generally try to keep my griping to a minimum when I know that the general quilting public and potential clients are reading it, but this is an area that it is just too hard to leave my high-horse behind. It is an area that all quilters should have a vested interest in. Afterall, if the shoe were on the other foot, and I had a piecer that made all of my show quilts for me, and all I did was quilt them, enter them in shows and reap the many ribbons -- dontcha think that the piecer would feel jilted? I do.
That is perhaps a slight exaggeration in my case, but not so for many quilters. Over the past week, I have received some wonderful news about a couple of my clients. Do you remember this quilt from last November? Last night I was panning through photos on my computer, and came across pictures of this quilt. When I sent the quilt back to the owner, I never once heard from her about receiving it, or what her thoughts were. It was a seriously gorgeous quilt when I finished with it, really. At the time, I just let it go. While the vast majority of clients are delighted when their quilts return home, there is always that rogue client that says nothing. For months following sending it home, I'd check her blog, but she stopped updating it. Eventually I lost interest and quit checking. Last night, I discovered a new blog she's started. Two weeks ago, her quilt "Aunt Millie's Garden - Brown is the New Black" won Best of Show at the Garden State Quilter's Guild show in NJ! Talk about me being shocked! And a little disappointed that she hadn't told me. It is hard to completely relinquish part-ownership in the quilts that I help to create. I have a vested interest interest in their ultimate successes, and a great desire to hear the news when they do well.
As the longarm quilter, I know that the quilts belong to the owner, and what they do with them is their business. I don't have a partnership with the piecers for whom I quilt like some longarm quilters do. These partnerships are relatively rare, but not non-existent. The two people share the ribbons and split whatever earnings the quilt makes equally. I love to share in and revel in their successes, but ultimately, their quilts are theirs once I send them home. All I have ever asked is that the piecer send information about how the quilts do at shows, as it is available. Seems simple enough, right?! Wouldn't you want to know?
Last weekend, Jeanette contacted me to tell me that her quilt "Autumn at Lost Mountain" won ribbons at the East Cobb Quilt Guild Show (outside Atlanta, GA). She won 1st place in her category as well as Best Machine Quilting! This is another large guild - probably over 200 members, and a quilt show that hosts many well known names in this business. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear from Jeanette, even more so to hear about the machine quilting award. This one I can claim as mine :-) She has already said that she's sending the dual ribbons and the money from the machine quilting award to me. I am honored and humbled and shocked beyond what words can express about her gesture. She's truly a lady of integrity, and I am proud to quilt for her. FYI - her quilt is going to be at the NQA show in Columbus, OH this coming weekend too. It has donned on me that I never blog posted the quilting of this quilt, so you can see the details of it here on my website. It's lovely!