Show us a winning quilt!


Leftovers #7 - Debra J won 1st place for Improvisation at Quiltcon 2018
How the idea of the quilt came to you? Leftovers #7 is from a series of quills that began with the intent of using leftover fabric pieces from previously completed quilts and using tiny piecing. I have 13 'Leftovers' quilts now of various sizes.
What was your inspiration? I always want to use as much of my fabric as possible without too much waste.  I like to keep a very small stash and use what I have. I think I'm a thrifty quilter too and that influences my work sometimes.
I didn't intend for this quilt to enter the show, I thought it was too scrappy and not very modern. I really just made it for myself. My daughter insisted I enter because she liked it, so I followed her suggestion. Two other quilts in this series were juried into Quiltcon in 2017 and 2019. This quilt was in Quiltcon 2018. 
What steps were involved in the submission of the quilt? The MQG has a form with detailed instructions on entering your quilts, if you follow it step by step, and just take your time, it's not too nerve racking. The MQG is also very good at answering questions you may have about filling out the form. Most times when I send in a question, I receive a reply in a day or two.
Taking a good photo of your quilt takes a bit of practice. The ideal picture will show your quilt as square and flat as possible. If the quilt is small enough, I take a picture of the quilt laying on the ground instead of hanging. I take a LOT of pictures, outside in early morning sunlight to try to get the photo showing just the right color and definition. Afterwards I go through them all to find the best one. 
Yes, I will submit more quilts, I love how the MQG showcases modern quilts and I feel like I fit right in. I already feel like a winner when I have a quilt juried in. The extra surprise of winning a ribbon was just icing on a delicious cake. 

Unmoderm made modern Challenge - Kate E.
I made the quilt for a Guild Challenge (#unmodernmademodern) and decided to enter it as it was original and I was very proud of how it came out.
I have  entered quilts into the Cabin Fever Quilt Guild shows when I was a member.  Many many years ago, I also entered a quilt into a  Quiltmaker contest for “my cup of tea” and it hung in their gallery for a month or 2.

To submit this I only had to do an online entry form and send it on with the quilt. Very easy. They sent me an email letting me know I won, I was surprised and proud.  I did call several friends to let them know right away.

I would probably enter other quilts as long as I felt they were special.. I think that is what motivates me, creating something that feels special.

Water Fall - Sarah L. won Handi Quilter Excellence Award at Quiltcon 2019
How the idea of the quilt came to you?  Glad you asked!  It was the product of our very own Orlando MQG improv bee.  The prompt we were working on was black and white high contrast with black as the negative space.  I saw the photograph by artist Minor White called “Watkins Glen, New York”.  That was my inspiration point.  When I made the small block for the bee quilt, it became this abstract moonlit waterfall with a mid-century modern vibe.  Immediately after that study I knew I wanted to make it bigger.  The bigger one added another dimension by using the golden ratio to calculate proportions.  Fun fact, the other one that got in this year was also a product of an Orlando MQG challenge.  Just sayin’.  You can see some progress pics at www.sarahjlauzon.com
Did you make this quilt specifically for a show?  Yeah, kind of.  I made it knowing I wanted to give it a try for Quiltcon, but I also made it knowing I just needed to and wanted to.  If it didn’t get in, I was going to love it anyway.   Actually, I have a friend who is an art collector who said he was really into it. (P.S.  This friend liking this quilt is as much of, if not more than, an honor to me as the ribbon it received.  I was just going to give it to him, but now I might have to finish the study for him.)
Was it the first time you entered a quilt to show?  No.  First time was Quiltcon 2018.
What steps were involved in the submission of the quilt?  I knew from the get go I need a really good straight on full shot, so I used my backyard ivy wall on a not too sunny day to get good contrast and tone.  I also needed a detail shot so I tried to get one that showed the most amount of detail in one frame while still giving reference to the overall quilt.  Then I needed to fill out the MQG’s submission form which includes writing a blub about the quilt (tried to be detailed, yet concise).  You can view that form even if you don’t intend to enter.  It’s kind of interesting.  I also went a step further.  After all the talk about derivative work in the MQG in the past, I still have some lingering anxiety about it even though I’m really clear on how I feel about it.  So I checked in with a professional in the fine art world to get an opinion since I used a photograph as an inspiration point. That just helped me push the submit button.
How did it feel?  See video
 

Will you submit other quilts?  Yes.  I’d like to try for some other shows too.  I think it’s a good motivator for myself as an artist to be working on something that I could enter into a show each year.
Would you like to share anything else?  So there’s this thing called imposter syndrome.  Let me tell you, it’s real.  In my professional life I’ve had a lot of training and experience in dealing with situations where I am under the microscope, including highly competitive environments, presenting ideas to those who may, well, tear you apart, and speaking to groups from executives to a crowds of 16,000 people.  All this didn’t prepare me to have my artwork front and center on the Winners Row.
I learned two big lessons from this:
1) Just about every artist feels this way.  When I opened up to other artists, they had stories of similar experiences.  There is a great podcast episode that Hillary Goodwin (@entropyalwayswins) posted about after QuiltCon. Link is here.  I needed to hear that.
2) There were a series of events, and some conscious decisions, that led me to put the quilt in the box and mail it not feeling it was the absolute best work I could do.   This was very much against my nature.  I mean, it was ready to go, and it was good work, but there are details I wish I could have had the bandwidth to fix in retrospect.  I’m not going to go into detail about what, why, or pick myself apart.  But I now know this, having confidence that it was my very very best product would have helped a bit with the aforementioned syndrome. 

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