Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quilt National Judging Part 1


This year the three judges are Linda Colsh, Judith Content and Penny Mc Morris. Below are short bios on each of them, taken from their websites or online.


QN _Cenote Azul_

Judith Content- is a fiber artist in Palo Alto, California, who utilizes a contemporary interpretation of the Japanese dye technique, Arashi Shibori. Her hand-dyed, quilted, and pieced silk wall pieces often depict elaborate landscapes that are inspired by the mystery and majesty of the Pacific coastline.


Linda Colsh- builds her pieced, layered and stitched artworks from the images and ideas that she collects as photographs, drawings and writings. She is known for her images of elderly women and men. Anonymous and invisible to most others, her subjects come from the streets where she finds them. She strips away their context, and reworks them with new narratives and imagined scenarios. Each work begins with blank white or black cloth, which Linda alters with dye, discharge and paint. She works with design software to develop her images for printing by digital or traditional methods.

Penny McMorris-has been involved in the field of quilt studies for several decades, working as a dealer and quilt scholar. She hosted three quilting shows in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Quilting, Quilting II, and The Great American Quilt, all of which were shown on PBS. She has also authored several books on both historic and contemporary quilts including Crazy Quilts. She is the co-founder of The Electric Quilt Company, which produces software for quilters. McMorris worked as a dealer in the quilt field for a number of years, especially focusing in the area of contemporary art quilts. Along with Michael Kile, she curated the exhibition The Art Quilt held in the 1980s.

The three judges are chosen by the Quilt National director, Kathleen Dawson. There are always two that are quilt artists and one that is in a quilt-related field such as museum curator, art historian or author. Kathleen reviews the resumes of different people that are recommended to her or that she hears would be potentially good judges. Judges are paid a fee, airfare, hotel and meals in return for two days of judging and writing a statement for the book.

Sept 28, 2012

Friday, 9am. Jurors sitting at table in front of two large monitors. One monitor had full quilt on it and the other displayed the detail shot. Also Jane Forrest Redfern- Director of Dairy Barn Arts Center and Kathleen Dawson were directing the events plus staff to aid with the computers and scoring. I was the only outsider observing.


(Linda Colsh, Judith Content and Penny Mc Morris)

They had score sheets in front of them with names and numbers of each quilt in order.

Instructions to the judges: If you have personal knowledge of the quilt, have seen it, then you should recuse yourself and not vote. Then the other two will decide. There is no bargaining…I’ll put this one in if you put that one in.

This year there were 851 entries but the judges had the images to review at home and spent many hours viewing and scoring them on their timetable. Their scores were sent in and tabulated and hundreds were eliminated.

The importance of professional photography here cannot be emphasized enough as the quilts are judged purely on image quality. The first quilts to be eliminated were the poor photos, such as quilts pinned to siding, hung over railing, bad lighting etc. These images in round 2 all looked professional to me.

So, they started with Round 2 of about 380 quilts.

This is how the Scoring worked:

1- out

2- want to look again

3- like

4- definitely want in show.

The judges had 15 seconds to view each image and score. Total silence and semi-darkness. Judging sheets were whisked away to the back room where they were totaled and the next round of images were prepared.

The quality of the art quilts was phenomenal and I couldn’t eliminate any of them at this point. Also I couldn’t guess the artists on most of them except about four that had very distinct styles: Susan Shie, Pam RuBert, etc.  The judges aren’t allowed to discuss or know who the artist is until the end.

The next round was to decide on multiple entries from one artist since there can only be one quilt from each artist in the show. Judges spent a good amount of time viewing the multiples and deciding on the one they would keep, if any. The advantage to entering two or three is that they may get more screen time if they make it to the third round.

…to be continued next week!

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous to know the inside working of QN, especially being 1 of the 851 that got rejected=) Thank you!