There’s a cynical phrase, common in professional sports, that is used often in other arenas as well: You’re only as good as your last game. It’s a commentary on public opinion. Unfortunately, there’s a corollary in our everyday judgments of ourselves.
One of the modern guilds I belong to had an interesting discussion last meeting about which quilts are selected for QuiltCon, and why. We pretty much all agreed that the show is used to further the MQG’s own definition of modern quilting rather than to reveal the depth and breadth of the modern quilt movement.
So, am I a good quilter because my quilt was juried into an AQS show? Or a poor quilter because SEVERAL quilts were rejected for a QuiltCon show? A good quilter because I’ve designed quilts that were published? Or a bad quilter because every magazine doesn’t love every one of my proposals? There’s a temptation to feel great when a quilt wins a prize and to feel a bit down when one is rejected. But does that make sense?
Of course there are some “competitive quilters”, but most of us quilt because we enjoy it. My quilts are made to please myself, not to please other people. Even when I make a quilt for a challenge or show, I make it the way I want it, and I expect that is true for most people. I doubt that quilting is a road to fame and fortune for most of us, and that’s fine.
So, if QuiltCon didn’t accept my quilt, it is NOT a personal judgment about me, it is a programmatic judgment about where the MQG folks want the definition of modern quilting to go. And if some of my quilts are published or win prizes, that’s dandy, but I still made them to suit myself.
So much of life involves following other people’s rules, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not. Although I’m a serious quilter, I want to do it by my own rules. I’ll still submit to shows because I like to see my quilts displayed. But really, the quilt is an end in itself.
My friend Melanie has written a couple of posts on why we quilt. You might enjoy them: