Last weekend was the Jax Quiltfest. It is a smaller, non-juried quilt show in Florida. I have had bloggy friends suggest I enter there (yes, they live in the area), but previously had not because of the dates/quilts available/etc. The prizes there are small. I know...what has this world come to when a ribbon is not enough? Well, I tell ya...if there are three other shows at the same time in September that have good prizes, then that about explains where my most competitive quilts will be. Never the less, I sent Postcards from Venice and Sea Glass to Jax anyways. I have a client from out of the country that enters quilts there, and she goes to this show as a part of a vacation. I entered my quilts from 2011 partly for giggles, and partly so she can see some of my work. Now, I am painfully aware that these quilts are 2 yrs old and they really are not competitive in the quilt circuit, mostly. They did OK for a year, but the level of quilting is really good, and they often just don't place now.
Turns out, my Sea Glass took an HM, and the Best Machine Quilting award. It earned a whopping $100, but nobody is complaining. Not me anyways. The show did get a bunch of other folks complaining though. The most surprising thing is the number of emails I have received since the show to complain to me about the show judging. They are quilters, not judges, so whether they really "know" all the facts is debatable. In fact the funniest thing, while I was writing this, someone from Jax just called me. Talk about a hot topic! I know that these quilts that I sent have flaws. I even know where they are - no surprise there. I haven't seen the other quilts at the show in these categories, so my ability to comment is limited. The emails were to tell me that this quilt is way better than the ribbons hanging on it might suggest. The messages thought that the show winner was lackluster and not deserving. That is a harsh thing to say. It just told me that perhaps the judge favored hand-made quilts. It was a ballsy group of gals that contacted me, but it is suggesting of a much deeper issue. Shows like this that want to be competitive with quilters and the choice of quilters cannot gain the reputation of having biased judging, or completely irrational judging. Shows must (I mean "MUST") have more than one judge, as this most definitely keeps personal opinions tempered somewhat. Jax Quiltfest only had one judge. I can comment more sufficiently on the content of the judging when my quilt arrives home and I see what criteria are on their judging form.
Now, don't mistake this post. I am not really too upset by this. Amused, sure. But, I won't enter there again with my better quilts if I think that there's crap going down in the judging room. Clean up your act!
I have been holding out showing a picture of this quilt for a while now. I quilted it in May or so. It belongs to Carol, and is 74" square. She entered this and another (I did not quilt) in Jaxfest. This was in a duet category, and it took 1st place! I'm delighted for her. Who doesn't love a blue ribbon?!? I will show some close-ups of the quilting in a couple of weeks. It is coming out in a magazine at the end of the month!