Yesterday emails were sent, read, and either celebrated or commiserated over.
The wait is over, and Quiltcon has its show quilts. Regrettably, none of my quilts will be hanging in Austin this February. Nor am I the only one without an entry, many of my amazing, talented quilting friends did not get in. Instagram has a new hashtag: #quiltconreject
Here is where I have a problem: the word reject.
Reject can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, reject means “dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste” As a noun, reject means “a person or thing dismissed as failing to meet standards or satisfy tastes”. Reject has the undertones of failure, inadequacy, of not being good enough. Its not a very happy word, and using it to describe ourselves and out work is detrimental and frankly insulting.
People, WE ARE NOT REJECTS.
We were not rejected, we were regretfully passed up. Not because our quilts weren’t good enough, but because they just didn’t fit with the vision the curators had for the show.
It is hard to get a letter saying that your work is not chosen. I understand all too well. But that does not mean you aren’t good enough.
Jess over at Quilty Habit spelled it out perfectly in her blog post Positive thoughts on Quiltcon Rejection. She gets to the heart of the matter in a great way. there were over 1300 entries to Quiltcon. The show coordinators have a vision of how they want Modern Quilting to be represented to the public, and the quilts they chose reflect that vision. There are so many interpretations of Modern Quilting, so many aesthetics and techniques and visions, that to narrow it down to one must have been agonizing. But they did, and then they had to flip through the thousand plus entries to find the quilts that reflect the chosen aesthetic. It is the same selection process used in museums and art galleries. You could submit a masterful landscape painting that accurately reflects the people, time, and techniques of the style, but if they want flowers in vases, the landscape isn’t going to make it, no matter how talented and perfect the landscape is.
From what I have seen from the quilts that did get in, this year Modern Quilting will be represented by bright, bold colors, simple quilting, color blocking, and graphic designs.
So lets change the hashtag. Lets rejoice in our shared love of quilting! Lets cheer for our friends in the show! Lets ooh and aah over the quilts that will be displayed, and see the show for what it is : a curated selection of quilts, selected from a pool of the best modern quilts in the world-our quilts!
*UPDATE* Latifah Saafir at The Quilt Engineer has an amazing, insightful post about the jury process. Go check it out, it helps to put things in perspective!