July 4, 2015: Vermont Quilt Festival – more on judging and more pictures

Greetings!  I had a lot of great responses to my comments on the judging at Vermont.  Many of you support some sort of extra consideration by the judges for original design.  I had a wonderful e-mail response (she isn’t able to respond to the post with a direct comment) from Christine Wickert who gave me permission to share it.  She was the Vermont Best of Show winner last year and my last post showed pictures of her beautiful silk quilt “Le Jardin Joyeaux.”  I like her point of view:

“You are right.  There is no reward for submitting an original design.  I have come to terms with that.  I compare the recreations of some one else’s designs (and indeed many of my winning quilts are adaptations of someone else’s designs – lately those of Deborah Kemball) to a pianist playing the works of a composer.  Debby Kemball (the composer) provided me with the notes for “My Version of a Persian.”  I acknowledged that publicly every place that quilt was shown and on my signature (label) on the back. (She included a picture of the label.)  I feel I have had to practice long and hard in order to “play her music.”  And that is what is being recognized by the judges.”

I wrote back to her:

“Great response!”  In reality, almost all of us use design elements that are already in existence (for example, quilt blocks!).  It’s the elements we choose to use, how we mix or arrange them, and how we color them that expresses our individuality.  Yes, you use Deborah Kemball’s designs, but you arrange them in your own way and then you execute the design to perfection.  I consider your work “original” in that your pieces are not strict copies; “adaptations” are not necessarily “copies.”  I also do understand that executing someone else’s pattern can require tremendous skill, experience, and perseverence and can result in something lovely and exciting.  To stick with your musical analogy, I can marvel at Yo Yo Ma playing a Back piece even though he didn’t compose it.  In fact, I used a pattern from the book “Quilts From the Henry Ford Museum” as a jump off point for designing my “Feathering My Nest” quilt that won a blue ribbon and the hand quilting award at Vermont 2 years ago.  I made the quilt my own by adding original elements (an original border, sashing) and radically changing the block size and colors.  I don’t mean to denigrate anyone who creates quilts from patterns.

“I think what I really mean is that when quilts are judged and awards are given, there should be some way – maybe bonus points? or some sort of extra consideration – to reward someone for the extra effort of creating an original design (only if the design is good, of course!). ” For example, maybe some extra consideration for “artistic originality” nudges a quilt at the upper end of points for a red ribbon over into blue ribbon category.   I saw instances at the show this year where that would have been fair.

So…..that’s enough on judging for today!  Let me share some more quilts from the show that I liked (click for closeups).

This one was a stunner!!!  It’s many awards included Best pieced, Best quilt from outside the US, and Judge’s Choice.  It takes a huge amount of skill to get this many pieces to lay flat and I’m in awe.  I have made some hexagons florets and hexagon stars, but so far have always appliqued them to a background instead of piecing the connections.  This may inspire/challenge me to at least try totally piecing at least a doll quilt or crib quilt size hexagon quilt:

7415 hex#1 7415 hex#2 7415 hex#3 7415 hex#4

I love autumn colors and autumn themed quilts so loved this next one, especially because it was beautifully hand quilted!!!

7415 october#1 7415 october#2 7415 october#3 7415 october#4

I loved the use of color in this next traditional quilt.  I could see myself making something like this some day:

7415 geese#1 7415 geese#2 7514 geese#3 7415 geese#4

This next quilt was Best of Show.  It was a lovely quilt, though not an original design, and was technically beautifully done:

7415 bos#1 7415 bos#2 7415 bos#3 7415 bos#4

There were a handful – ? maybe 4 or 5 (I didn’t actually count) – of Baltimore Album style quilts in the show.  I believe this was more than last year.  This one was the most impressive with wonderful applique.  I personally felt that hand quilting would have been better for it!  I do, however, realize, not everyone is going to do that!  Furthermore, though, I felt that the darker colored threat used for the machine quilting was somewhat distracting (you can see it by clicking for closeup) – I personally would have preferred to see a neutral, less visible, color thread used.  (My personal opinion!!  Not saying everyone should agree with me!)

7415 albumq#1 7415 albumq#2 7415 albumq#3 7415 albumq#4

Enough from Vermont for today!  I have many more, though, to share in future posts so stay tuned!

Well, I was going to end this post by showing you my latest stars for the Stars in a Time Warp quilt along, but my computer is telling me that it can’t upload any more pictures – I’ll have to investigate what’s going on and will show the stars in my next post.

We spent yesterday with family and tomorrow will be attending a cookout with a dozen or so of our closest friends, most of whom are musicians.  There will be plenty of good music and food.  I’ll bring my accordion and play some tunes with my “Quattro Formaggio” buddies.  Today is for relaxing with sewing, blogging, reading, hot bath, etc!  I hope you all are having a good weekend – a good holiday if you’re from the US.  Life is good.   Gladi


2 thoughts on “July 4, 2015: Vermont Quilt Festival – more on judging and more pictures

  1. Wendy Reed

    Thank you for another great (and thought provoking) post. In the words of my mother (and the millions of artists before her) “there is nothing new under the sun”. We draw our inspiration form the world around us. As quilters, sometimes that means we adapt another quilter’s style of quilting. To me, those are all ways to express ourselves and should be rewarded as being “creative”. When a designer’s published pattern is used to create a quilt, the judging (in my opinion) should be based on craftsmanship and appropriateness (is that a word?) of color. When students ask me how I “dare” to enter competitions, I tell them to simply make a quilt that brings you joy and any awards will simply be gravy!

  2. gladiporsche Post author

    Wendy, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Beautifully said!!!! I especially agree with the goal of making quilts that “bring you joy” and that “any awards are gravy!” I make quilts because I love them and am passionate about the process – moments of joy are a part of that. And luckily I am not trying to make money with my quilts. For me, prizes are nice, but not necessary. Gladi


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