Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Fair Wrap Up & Judging Thoughts

I am finally finishing up my fall fair postings...thank you to those who had some fun with my fall fair quiz.
The answers to my 2 questions were were 3 and 9:
1) I entered quilts in 3 fall fairs this year: 
Paris, Fergus and Erin.
2) I wanted to enter the 10 quilts in the photo, minus the top 2, which for some reason stayed on the table at home (a quilt block and a quilt top), plus the one quilt I took off my bed = 9 quilts entered!
Congrats to Sandra C who was the closest guesser, with her guess of 3 fall fairs and 8 quilts entered...send me your snail mail address Sandra and I'll get a fabric treat in the mail to you.
And a few thoughts on judging fall fairs...

after a number of years as a quilter submitting quilts to fairs and contests, and as a judge of juried shows and fall fairs, I can secretly admit to you that judging is mostly a matter of personal preference. In a perfect world, trained judges would make the same decisions re: awarding prizes and ribbons, but I know from judging with other trained judges, that it is not usually the case that we all agree.
This year I entered several quilts into my favorite local fall fairs. Each fair has it's own charm, and I love fall fairs, so I can't resist participating. 
I submitted my Dr. Seuss quilt to the three fall fairs.
In one fair it won a first prize and best of show.
And in another fair, it won nothing.
Why is that?
I think it is due to the personal preference of the judges, plus the category it was entered into, plus the competition of the other entries in that particular category. 
I don't enter fairs for the glory, (there is none unless my daughter comes with me and is sweet enough to gush about my quilts that receive ribbons) the ribbons (don't need more of those), or the cash (1st prize is sometimes $5!). I enter quilts because I enjoy this longstanding tradition of community participation. It's a lot of administrative/busy work to check the fair categories and see what quilts I could enter, get the tickets/paperwork all organized, gather the fabric samples to attach for some fair requirements, and to get the quilts to the right place at the right time, then pick them up at the right place at the right time. 
But I love to see quilts hanging at the fall fairs and I want to keep this community tradition alive, so I plan to make it my goal to try to participate every year if possible.
And I want to remind us all not to pin your artist's self esteem on winning ribbons or awards. Just because a judge didn't love your piece or "get" your vision, doesn't mean it's not an amazing piece of art. Keep making the quilts you love and sharing them with those who appreciate your efforts. Just sayin!
And under the category of bad ideas...
a deep fried Mars bar!
It was a new (to me) fall fair treat that I just couldn't wait to try... was so gross I can't even tell you! What the heck was I thinking trying that?!?!


  1. Woohoo!!! What a nice surprise this morning to see that I have won a prize! What a great way to start the day....thanks Kathy!

  2. I love participating in quilt shows! Like you, it's fun to win but that's not what it is all about - it's the participation and joining in with other quilters to show the world what we do. I registered 3 quilts yesterday for the Oktoberfest Quilt Show this weekend. My mom and stepdad will be here visiting, so it will be fun to view the festivities and the quilts in the show through their eyes.

  3. congrats on the ribbons! I've heard of the mars bar.....

  4. Well said, I could not agree more and enter my quilts in local shows for the same reason. It's so much work for the organizer, why not help out by entering a quilt! And really, any finished quilt is a winner.

  5. It's a lot of administrative/busy work to check the fair categories and see what quilts I could enter, get the tickets/paperwork all organized, gather the fabric samples to attach for some fair requirements, and to get the quilts to the right place at the right time, then pick them up at the right place at the right time.

    That is why I don't enter, but in the next breath you made me rethink... Maybe next year.

  6. Thanks for confirming my theory about the fried candy bar. They are frying EVERYTHING these days. (I heard fried butter - YUCK.) I turned over a new leaf (Health kick) at the begining of summer so I did not even have a funnel cake at the many fairs that I attended.

  7. Around here we don't have "Fall Fairs", we have county fairs and a state fair. You can only enter in the county where you live, so that limits you to your county fair and the state fair. I have helped at the county fair Home Arts department for many years and have observed how arbitrary the judging is--especially in quilting. I enter in other areas, but I never plan to enter quilts. That isn't a problem, though--we get more quilt entries than we can comfortably display. My Mom enters every year and is sometimes frustrated with the judging. I try to explain just what you have said here.
    Our county fair doesn't deep fry much, but at the state fair you can find everything deep fried--even the butter!

  8. Oh and I love that people enter their quilts so I can go see them up close!!! Good for you for entering!

  9. Winners - woohoo!!!!

    I've never entered a quilt in any fair or show so I appreciate your insight. Thank you!

  10. how fun to go to the fair and see your work hanging. congrats on the ribbons you won

  11. Good post. I had not thought about that aspect of entering quilts in fairs. You are right.
    Fried Mars Bar? Difficult to even imagine :D

  12. I agree with you and after not entering quilts in last years fair, then seeing only about 8 total submitted entered 4 this year. one got a Red ribbon from the judge and a Superintendents ribbon. Go figure. I love to go and see the quilts too. At Fairs, Quilt Shows, Expos, wherever I can. Thinking of running away to the 34th Annual Quilt show in Spokane.

  13. Here in Nova Scotia, we have Exhibitions, usually hosted by a county. I entered one this year and got a beautiful red ribbon! The quilt displays are always my favourite part of the day!

  14. I agree with your thoughts of quilting, judging and fairs. Good post. ;)

  15. Ribbon winner or not, it is fun to see your work hanging with all the other entries for all to see and hopefully admire :) I agree that participating as a part of the community is a great goal, and also that personal preference weighs in at judging time, how could it not? Glad you enjoyed the quilt shows this fall, and someone could have told you about the deep fried bar. Ewww

  16. Thanks for sharing your experience with fall fairs. I entered my first this year and it went well. It's good to know that you shouldn't be concerned if you don't.