I received last week a copy of the book that features the quilts that were selected in Quilt National 2007. I opened the box with excitement as one of my quilts was accepted in the competition and therefore would appear in the book. So I thought I’d write a review not just of the book but also about the quilts that will appear in the show that will tour the US for the next two years and of the experience of being in the show.
Over the years I have had mixed feelings about Quilt National. While I am deeply appreciative that there exists a high-caliber, contemporary, international quilt show, I have often thumbed through previous years’ books and not purchased them because I was not inspired by enough of the quilts. I’m not as interested in surface design as the jurors and some of the pieces appear to have been embellished to death. In some years, subtlety and craftsmanship seem undervalued.
There have been in each show, however, a handful of quilts that take my breath away. I mean, really amazing quilts that I would never have seen were it not for Quilt National and for that I am deeply grateful. These quilts stay in my memory for years and I have learned a great deal from them. Even though I disagreed with many of the selections for the show, I greatly admire Quilt National and am honored to have had a quilt chosen for it.
Having had three books published I knew that colors in the printing process are hard to control and that errors often creep into books at the last minute. At FunQuilts, we have had so many mixed experiences with having our work photographed that twice in the last year we have sent handwritten thank-you notes to photographers who have done an exceptionally good job at a magazine or newspaper. I know it’s hard. The thing that made me nervous was that as a part of the competition you have to sign away rights to the image of your quilt. This was new territory for me and while I wasn’t thrilled about it I wanted to try to have a quilt in the show so I signed on the dotted line.
So when I opened the book and found that my quilt had not been hung straight so the stitching is a bit off and that the only image of it that appeared in the book was cropped, I was mystified. If you see it in the book, the stitching should be straight and the top has been chopped off so the proportion is misleading. But they got the color right.
There are three quilts in the book that have been cropped. It looks as though a couple of others have detail shots overlaid on them. And yes, there are some breathtaking pieces in the book that make the book worth the price. So here’s my advice to aspirants: If you are required to sign away your rights to an image of your art, ask if you can approve the image before it’s published. It only seems fair that if you can’t use the image yourself, you should at least be able to approve how your work is being portrayed.
All in all I’m still thrilled to have a quilt in the show, but the whole experience kind of reminded me of my high school prom–I was so excited to be asked but in the end the fantasy was better than the reality.