Judges’ comments drive me nuts! I am not going to write all those platitudes about how I know it’s a hard job yada yada yada. SO WHAT! I am refusing to be sympathetic about how judging a show with 400 quilts might be a tad daunting. I don’t care!

Do their eyes start to cross after the 200th quilt? NOT MY PROBLEM! Do their knees ache? DON’T CARE! Don’t care at all!

Is it hard to think up something to say about every quilt? GIVE ME A BREAK! This is quilting – something we all love.

I am a tad irked, a little bit riled, a wee smidge perturbed, because the judges for the Denver National obviously didn’t read the teeny write up I wrote for each quilt, because if they had, they could not have possibly written the dumb-ass comments they made.

Or they hated my quilts so much, they were clutching at straws to say anything other than Yech!

The two quilts that got comments were Our Love Was Like a Ruby and Maybe It’s the Acid Rain. Now I admit I entered Acid Rain because I thought it would shake things up a bit. It’s not conventional. And Ruby is subtly subversive. But the comments were so far removed from the quilts that I am just nonplused here.

For instance, this year, the judges noted that my quilts were not square. DUH! This is what I said in my write up. My quilts are NOT square ON PURPOSE.

Did they think I didn’t know this? Was this supposed to be a light-bulb moment for me? “Oh my gosh,” was I supposed to say, “waddaya know, my quilts aren’t square? What a surprise!”

Geez Louise! Did they think I prepped the quilts for entry into a national show without noticing that they weren’t square?

I find the trend toward squaring up and even blocking today’s quilts to be insane. For god’s sakes, we’re working in fiber. Not canvas. And ours is not a medium which is going into frame – like a painting. There is no need to be square, nor precisely rectangular. Unless you are someone with too much time on your hands. The art should dictate the size and the sides—that is, if it looks best with one side longer than the other, that’s cool. Go with it. As I do.

Then the judges noted that I use commercial fabric. When did this become a no-no? It’s how I use that fabric, that matters. I would think. Call me crazy.

But am I going to be condemned for using designer fabric? That’s nuts.

I happen to hate the smells associated dyes and the other components you have to use. And I hate mess. I may be an unruly quilter, but I am not a messy person. I just don’t want to dye my own fabric. This should not be a capitol offense.

Then they noted that there was no place to rest the eye (this comment was for Our Love is Like a Ruby). What?!?! I don’t WANT the eye to rest. I want the eye to be ENGAGED! Again this was INTENTIONAL on my part. It’s art, not a sleeping pill.

And they opined that my quilts should be flat. HUH?? They ARE flat when they are on a flat surface. They are flat lying against my walls. They sure looked flat to me. They don’t bunch up. They don’t have wrinkles. And again they are textiles not canvas. Fiber, not paint. They live and breathe and have batting. Although the batting isn’t bunched up either. So what the hell are those judges talking about?

This seems the most gratuitous comment I have ever received. Worst even than the comment last year for my quilt “You decide.” “No, you decide.” – the same quilt which was juried into 500 Art Quilts, just published by Lark Books – THAT quilt – last year was judged as too monochromatic. Is there a chromatic gauge they use? Is there an okay level of monochromatic that I somehow overstepped the boundary of?

Or are they just tired and hungry and wanting to get this judging thing over with?

At any rate, I will keep entering quilt shows because I think it’s important to get the art out there. And I realize that means I will keep getting these inane, unhelpful, irritating comments – until one day there will be a judge who will actually look at my artist’s statement and say “Hey, she is doing what she said she wants to do. Pretty cool.” I know that judge exists. I just have to keep entering shows until I find her.