Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bacon's First Quilt Show

Sorry if this is a bit late and you are super sick of Quilt Con posts. But I wanted to include some thoughts on having quilts in the show. 

I had two quilts in the show at Quilt Con. This was the first time I had shown my work in any serious way (not that I don’t love bloggers’ quilt festival, but it is not juried and it is more of a celebration than critical experience).

I didn’t win anything, but I am not disappointed. I honestly feel like seeing my quilts in the show was a great prize. I have also not gotten my feedback from the judges yet, so I don’t know how they did. I am not sure I will share the feedback on this blog. I doubt the judges will be harder on me than I am on myself, so I am not too concerned with what the judges think.

I just wanted to use this space to ruminate on how showing my quilts made me feel.

When I first saw my quilts on the show floor, I got really excited. I made that! It is hanging from the wall! There is a label with my name on it!  It looks like Art! Then I started looking around and comparing my quilt with its neighbors. Is it as good as the other ones? Can they tell that my quilting isn’t even? Do they see the cat hair?

I do not make show quilts. I started these quilts with the intention that they would be mine.  I designed them because I had to. It is hard to explain, but sometimes quilting for me is like reading a really good book. I just can’t put it down until I see the end. I need to know!

I made these quilts with the idea that I would control their narrative. Most quilters do that; we make quilts for people, for charity, for our homes and beds. We quilt because we want to. We know that they will be loved. In a sense, we control who sees our work and where they go. When my quilts got into the show and while they were hanging, I lost control of the narrative. People, anyone who wanted to pay to get onto the show floor, could think anything they wanted about my work. This is not necessarily bad; it just is totally outside my experience as a first time quilt entrant. Strangers could not only judge my craft, they could interpret my work however they wanted.  They could be inspired, disgusted, bored, etc.

I am generally not concerned by the thoughts of others and I don’t think I mind losing control of my quilts for the weekend. I am definitely not fishing for compliments or writing this to be self-deprecating.

I just found it to be a completely disconcerting experience to stand on the show floor and watch people experience my work. These are people who don’t know me. They don’t read this blog. They don’t know I have a neurotic cat and love blue. They don’t know I collect cat fabric and need to sew like I need to breathe. They have no idea what my other work looks like. They are just experiencing this quilt, this collection of cotton fibers that three months ago I was curled up under, as a piece of art. For that moment, it belonged to them.

My quilts arrived at home yesterday. Soon they will be back on my couch. I think I will take off the hanging sleeves that I had to attach by hand. They will both go back on the couch to be cuddled and snuggled under as I always intended.

I also think I will probably enter more quilt shows.

One thing that I know, I will continue to make more quilts. I have to.

Thanks for reading friends. Next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.


  1. Hey I think that is awesome that you went and showed you quilts at a quilt show, I have never been to one myself but I do love to quilt too and I am an artist so I have been to work shop and that is somewhere where everybody sees my work. I have also put my art work up in a fair and I can sorta relate when it comes to putting up a work of art you have done for everyone to see, judge, or get from it whatever they want. As I said I love quilting too and you do awesome work! It looks like you do that finer detail stuff, which is awesome because that is the kind of quilting that overwhelms me when I think about doing. They are beautiful by the way and it is true that memories and every quilt usually means something or stands for something, or at least can, depending on the seamstresses. I made a quilt one time (lol, actually the only quilt I have made by my self) and lots of the fabric I used had some original connection with me or meant something to me. It was so cool i love that quilt! Also the colors in it made me think of my home because it was the color of this hill we would play on at home and the colors just were the colors of my backyard at home. So anyway, what are some other quilte you have done and what are some of the meanings?

  2. I Love seeing your pics of them hanging! Quilt shows are a pretty big deal...Quilt con is definitely a big deal. I put one quilt in a little bitty show in my hometown one time, and was thrilled when It received viewers choice...but then again everyone in town loves my mother and father in law, lol! I am not surprised the hear about the different feelings you experienced...they are our babies aren't they, and to put them out in the big wide world of their peers is not something everyone has the gumption or unction to do! I was personally thrilled just knowing your quilts were hanging in there somewhere...and you got to be there with them :) I always get a kick out of your take on things...thanks for sharing again!

  3. I'm so proud of you and your entries! It is a humbling experience, for sure. Most important thing is you love your quilts and you got your ideas into something tangible. Personally, I love your quilts....but I do realize I am a bit biased!

  4. Awesome quilts in an awesome show by an awesome gal!

  5. Oh! I LOVE that triangle quilt - I kept walking past it when going to the vendor's hall and it always made me smile!

    That's a very true, wise point about controlling the narrative. You very neatly put into words what I had been thinking for a while but couldn't express.

  6. Love both of your quilts! HOpe you had a blast at QuiltCon!


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