The Importance of Our Quilt Show

Sharon Holladay wrote this insightful piece on the importance of a quilt show.Your 2013 Quilt Show Committee hopes you will take a minute and read this,

I never expected to co-chair a quilt show, but when I was asked, I found that it was time for me to take on a bigger job for the guild.  And as retirement looms ahead, I’d have more time and probably will need reasons to get out of the house (for better, for worse, but not for lunch!).  So I agreed, but I’ve been reflecting on exactly what it is I’ve agreed to.
We’ve all been to shows, but what are the reasons we put on a show? I’ve come down to three primary purposes.  Read them over and see what you think:
1.  Money. It all comes back to the basic, unarguable fact that our show supports the guild.  We pay $400 each month to the Holiday Inn.  With yearly dues of $25 per member, we need a membership of 176 just to break even on rent.  That doesn’t even include speakers’ fees and expenses, special projects, membership booklets, or anything else we’d like to do.  So where does the money come from? Yep, the show!  It takes on a whole different meaning for me when I reflect on that fact.  If we want a viable, functioning guild with a variety of good programs and classes, we have to participate in the show.  I don’t even want to think about what our dues would be if we didn’t have the show! We have to enter quilts, volunteer to work, sell chances, and donate small quilts if we want to see the opportunities we currently have continue into the future.
2.  It’s the ultimate show and tell.  I don’t know about you, but I’m always wowed by the work we exhibit!  From traditional to contemporary, miniature to California king, we have it all.  I attend shows in other places as I’m able, to be inspired and to get ideas I can carry into my own work, but I’m also glad to see all skill levels exhibited.  The work of a master quilter is breathtaking to us all, but can inhibit someone just starting in quilting, so it becomes imperative that we all enter quilts, regardless of our skill level, if we are to encourage others to join us in quilting.  Even what some may consider a simple quilt can be the inspiration for a new quilter. Have you ever told yourself, “Well, I can’t compete with her…”? Competition shouldn’t be the only reason we enter. We owe it to our guild (remember the money?) and to our community to take part in the show and promote our chosen art.
3.  I know…I just said that competition shouldn’t be the only reason we enter a show, but it is an important part, and not just for a ribbon.  I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few ribbons, but in truth it isn’t the reason I compete.  I blame it all on Loneta Blevins.  Yes, ma’am, it was Loneta who convinced me that competition isn’t about winning.  It’s about LEARNING!  A judge doesn’t have to run into you at the grocery store or the next guild meeting.  If she says your bindings are good, she’s not protecting your feelings; she really means it. Conversely if she thinks your binding technique needs work, she can say that and not have to worry that you’ll never speak to her again.  It’s your best shot to get an honest critique of your work, and really, isn’t that how we improve?  Competition also pushes us to do better.  You can’t leave that point blunted if you are to have a chance of winning, nor can any other technique be less than perfect.  Judges go to multiple shows and have seen it all so design also takes on a whole new emphasis if your quilt is to stand out above all others.  But win or not, you end up with a product that is more than it would have been had you not decided to compete.  Ribbon or not, that’s a prize in itself.
Perhaps you see other reasons for a show: camaraderie, vendors, whatever…but this is how I see it.  I’m hoping you plan to actively participate in our 2013 show, as an entrant, a promoter, and a worker.  Our guild gives us so much – it’s our turn to give to the guild!