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Thread: Questions about quilt show judges

  1. #1
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Questions about quilt show judges

    I have not yet entered a quilt in any kind of show, but I am working on one now that I think I might enter in a juried show (if it continues to go as well as it is going *tonight*). I have a background in dog shows, so I'm no stranger to entering shows, and the concept of subjective judging. I'm also not expecting much other than a critique (if offered at the show).

    In dog shows, we know who the judge is well in advance (about a year), and most of the time we know what the judge likes or dislikes - and we can base our decision to enter that particular show under that particular judge. For example, one judge I know calls herself "the tooth fairy" and will not place a dog with a missing tooth or any other dentition problem. Us dog show people know this and if we have a dog with a bad tooth, we don't enter under her. Why waste the entry fee (and travel expenses!).

    I looked at several entry forms for quilt shows, and online announcements etc. and no-where can I see that judges are announced prior to the event - heck ... I've rarely ever seen who the judges were AFTER the event.

    So ... are judges ever announced?
    Do quilters enter shows knowing who is going to judge their quilt, and enter (or not enter) accordingly?
    Do quilters keep a record of what judges like or dislike? Dog show people keep copious and detailed notes!

    One more question about judging.

    Are judges allowed to use weapons ... err ... I mean tools (rulers) to actually measure the detail work? I know they measure the total size of the quilt in contests where sizes are stipulated. I'm talking about the "detail" work of the quilt. Will they measure quilted ruler work to make sure that all the lines are exactly 1" apart, and measure blocks (and parts of blocks) for uniformity? Or do they just eyeball it?

    I know my way around dog show judging, what they can and can't do, what they might do, and what they have done in the past. Would like to compare notes about quilt judges (not individual judges, but judging in general).

    thanks
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  2. #2
    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    You have some good questions, I will bookmark for later.

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Frequently the names of the judges are never revealed , as with so many competions there are those who will challenge a judge if they believe the judge/s made an error. Those compitions that the judges comment, very often the judge just uses a number tocomment ex: Judge 1 - binding lacks fullness ...and such. I have seen competitions where no comments are left , and the judging takes place in hours that are off of the regular show hours. Some give comments on all quilts entered with both good comments and areas for improvement.

    Some competitions get a "reputation" for certain things ... I have seen one where if it was not tradtional ... don't bother... and others that "art" quilts are highly prized.

    As for measuring quilting distance ... I have not seen it .. but that does not mean there isn't that one judge that does it. So much of it is soo... subjective and particular to a specific competition.. that there is no set standards. I have seen magnifying glasses used but not often.

    I entered one competition with two quilts. One was by all quilters that saw it far superior to the other in just about every way, colors, difficulty , quilting, you name it .... and I won with the what many thought to be the lesser quilt. I was stunned! ... and I never got to ask anyone why one was considered best over the other. I was just told the judges thought that one was the best.... and never knew who the judges were or where they came from. This taught me just how subjective these things really are... .
    I would love to see your quilt !
    Last edited by Lori S; 11-30-2011 at 08:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Depending on the show, a judge could be someone who knows very little about quilting. I would assume that a juried show would have judges with credentials. Did you check the show website? Could be the names are posted there. Even with credentialed judges, you will get different comments from different judges.
    Beth in AZ
    www.bzyqltr.blogspot.com
    Innova 22' with Lightning Stitch and Pantovision
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Lori,

    From your answers I have two more questions.

    In the first paragraph you said that comments (if given) may come as "Judge 1". So presumably the quilts are judges by multiple judges? I knew that there are multiple judges at a given show, but I thought each judge had an assignment of "Bed Quilts" and another "Wall Quilts" - then perhaps they all vote on the Best in Show etc. No?

    In another paragraph you mention that some competitions have a reputation for certain things like traditional quilts. This would indicate that either they hire the same judge(s) year after year, OR they are giving the judges instructions as to what they want (or what is preferred). Do you know which it is, or is it both?

    So far the only similarity I see between quilt shows and dog shows is that the process of choosing placements for quilts is a subjective matter given to the knowledge, preferences, and whims of the individual judge.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  6. #6
    Super Member CoyoteQuilts's Avatar
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    I too, am going to watch this one

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I only know of one national show that announces the judges beforehand, and that's Road to California - they list the judges on the entry form. For local shows, they may have only one judge, and hire the same judge each year. Depends on the show.

    I have entered a lot of shows (it's addictive!), and while I know there are judges I felt liked my work better than others, it is far too much effort to keep track of their likes and dislikes. I try and make a quilt that I am happy with, do the best work I can, and hope for the best - when you work by hand, that's pretty much all you can do. For some shows, just being accepted is triumph enough.

    There are some shows that cater to specific quilt categories. Quilt National, the quilt show at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, and a few others, look for the best art quilts. They would not be good choices for a traditional quilt - that's not to say you wouldn't get in, though. There are shows specifically for machine quilting.

    Most national shows I've entered have had 2 or 3 judges, all of whom look at the quilt. Considering how many quilts they have to judge, I don't think they spend enough time to whip out a ruler and measure anything - good thing, because they'd find lots of mismeasured things on my quilts.


    Janet

  8. #8
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    It would be helpful for novices if there was some sort of "checklist" to know what is being evaluated.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    It would be helpful for novices if there was some sort of "checklist" to know what is being evaluated.
    The Vermont Quilt Festival uses a point system, where each aspect of a quilt gets a certain amount of points. They're split between workmanship and design. They publish the list of points in the show booklet every year. I found it helpful.

    Unfortunately, most of the other shows don't do that, but if you google quilt show judging, I'm sure you'll find lots of helpful information.

    Janet

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that dogs are judged against a rather specific written breed standard, the ideal, while quilts are not. Dogs are also shown under the same judges again and again, intentionally because they do well under that judge. By not publishing quilt show judges in advance, that is one of the things that is avoided and the field is made a bit more level for the entrants.

    Maine Quilts also uses the point system of judging instead of the elimination system. While judging a quilt on its own merit (point system) and not against others (elimination system) sounds great, it has some severe limitations and is less frequently used because of them.

    You may find some answers to your questions from the NQA FAQ sheet. http://nqaquilts.org/judges/judges-faq.php
    There are also several blog entries by this blogger relating to show judging (how and what) and what is looked at. http://patchworkpie.blogspot.com/200...dges-look.html
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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