15 April, 2010

Lessons I've Learned While Scribing...

I was asked to scribe for a couple of NQA certified officials during the judging process at our local guild quilt show yesterday. I'm not a stranger to this procedure, I've done it in years past, but quickly remembered that there's always something new to learn if one keeps their eyes and ears open. The judges take their job seriously and are extremely professional and open minded with their comments and critiques. The judging room is not the place to be for the extremely sensitive, or the uninitiated, when one's own quilt comes under scrutiny. There are actually very few people besides the judges in the room, as it should be, during the process. The room is quiet, the quilt name is called out and the judging begins. The judges study and inspect each quilt; nothing escapes their trained eyes. They dictate their comments to the scribe for notation on a judging sheet which the quilter will receive, with their quilt, after the show is over. I had to laugh to myself yesterday as I stood, with pencil poised, ready to jot down each and every word as it exited the judge's mouth. Who else gets as much rapt attention as a quilt judge while they're working? Few people, I daresay. The completed judging sheets are valuable tools on the road to improving techniques, if that is important to the quilt maker. It is to me; I like the feedback from someone qualified to inform me what areas need work, I enjoy the challenge and will likely try something different next time hoping for a better result. Understanding that the act of judging by another human being is, in and of itself, a completely subjective act, I prepare myself for the brutal truth. My friends are much too kind to be that honest! In the setting I was in yesterday I heard not only critique of my own quilts but learned of many things that would improve my own work that I would not have even thought of otherwise. I know that I grow from these experiences, I have kept the judging sheets from every quilt show I have ever entered. It's interesting to see how the comments have changed over the years, too. I don't quilt for awards and ribbons, although I wouldn't be honest if I said I didn't enjoy receiving them, of course I do; but it's not the reason that I enter quilts into judged shows. I put my quilts into competition because I truly desire to hear what the judge has to say and look for ways that I might stretch and improve as the quilt maker that I strive to become. There's so much to learn, but it sure does take courage to listen! That's the lesson I have learned from scribing, how to improve technically; but it's not why I quilt. It's important to understand the difference and keep it all in proper perspective. I quilt to express myself. I quilt to fill my home, and wrap those whom I love, in quilts that come from my hands and heart. My grandson certainly doesn't understand the finer points of a perfect binding but he does know that the quilt he adores is temporarily missing, (it's in the show) and this pint-sized quilt 'judge' is the one who gets my full attention these days; is there any better affirmation than that? I don't believe so.
Life is Good!

7 comments:

Quilt Hollow said...

Hope Scott was kind to you. :-)
Also..hope to see your show tomorrow!

Zlaty said...

I am sure you can learn a lot even from listening their comments! What is the most common "problem"?

paula, the quilter said...

I, too, have always learned a lot when I have the chance to sit in on some judging.

LauraQuilts said...

Amen.

Nane said...

Amen Sister! I love to give quilts to those I love, and if others like them too all the better. I wish everyone would enter just for the satisfaction of seeing something so personal to you being admired by others.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Maybe if I got honest and constructive written feedback from qualified judges, I would enter more quilts for consideration. The shows in our area do not offer written notes and the names of the judges are 'secret' so the whole things smacks of politics (aside from Davies which offers Viewer's Choice, one vote per attendee, for 3 ribbons - but still no critiques).

Are there generalities or specific items that you could share with us from what you heard?

AnnieO said...

It must indeed be fascinating to examine quilts along with the judges, even if you are just writing what they are saying about them!

Quilts are probably the most versatile, movable, packable, warm gift a person can make! I'm still trying to get through my large family's list of people to wrap up :)