silver colored medal hanging on a red, white, and blue ribbon with stars above and below the word winner.

Judging and Jurying: behind the scenes

February 14, 2024

So many times quilters enter shows, bound up in hopes and fears. Wishing so hard for the external validation of an award and fearing so much the harsh critique from someone who doesn’t know the heart and soul they’ve poured into their creation.

If you’ve been to one of my art/design lectures or workshops you might have heard my opinions about this process. Suffice it to say that a judge’s comments may or may not have relevance to your work and that I want you to grow into a confident artist that doesn’t rely on outside validation to know the visual message you are sending is ENOUGH. 

The viewer’s relationship to the work is not YOUR relationship to the work. That is as it should be. Their lens of experience  is unique to them and colors everything they see. As is yours. If we all saw the world the same way, thought the same way about art, we would be living in an Orwellian world of robotic automatons.

I’d like to point you to a lovely essay by Deborah Boschert about her experience judging one of the most prestigious quilt shows in the world. It’s honest and informative and will help you understand a little more about the process.

She says, “If a quilter is looking for a holistic, full, dedicated, thoughtful analysis or critique of a particular quilt or their body of work, the judges critique sheet from a show may be one component but can’t possibly be a complete review. (And each sheet is just the opinion of one person.) “

Other essays in this series

Showing Your Work

Showing Your Work: motivation

Showing Your Work: choose your audience

Showing Your Work: choosing venues

Showing Your Work: fine craft shows

Showing Your Work: traveling trunk show

Showing Your Work: a museum experience

Showing Your Work: local venues

Showing Your Work: photographing your art

Showing Your Work: organizing entries

Showing Your Work: judged vs. juried

Showing Your Work: the jury process

Showing Your Work: rejection

Showing Your Work: more about rejection

Showing Your Work: shipping your artwork


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Patti Maxwell
    March 3, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    So true!

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