Monday, May 9, 2016

Quilt National -- the rules

Quilt National '15

In the last couple of days the rules for Quilt National '17 have appeared on their website, and I checked to see what if anything had changed since last time around.

First, the good news: the ban on any kind of color correction or other photo enhancement has disappeared.  Personally I never thought about this rule, since I didn't know how to do photo enhancement until quite recently and my regular photographer, George Plager, does such a good job that the photos always look like the quilts.  But some of my friends who are serious photo wonks will be happy to see this rule change.

And I think the notorious virginity rule has been greatly modified!  You may recall that in past QNs it has been verboten for a quilt to have appeared anywhere on the internet except for the artist's own website (or presumably, blog).  That means if you put your quilt on Facebook or Pinterest, or if somebody grabbed the image from your website and posted it on their own blog or site, it couldn't be in QN.  As a result, serious quilters have become paranoid about showing photos of anything they thought might possibly turn into a QN entry.

But a close reading of the new rules finds no mention of the internet!!  They still require print and show virginity -- no appearance in "an American publication that has national or international distribution; this restriction includes SAQA publications" or in "an International or American fiber arts exhibition" before the QN opening next May.  If I'm reading it right, I think this is an excellent change, getting rid of an overly strict and punitive rule.

Now the bad news: first, the deadline is earlier than it has been in the past -- September 1 compared to mid-September in all the years I recall.  I know QN needs a long lead time because of its practice of re-photographing all the quilts for its beautiful catalog, but this change doesn't affect the lead time; the notification will occur on October 6, compared to October 7 last time around.  All it does is give the jurors two more weeks to do their work.

Next, the age limit on entries has apparently been cut in half (full disclosure: I don't have a copy of previous years' rules to compare with the new ones, but I have spent enough time angsting over QN entries that I'm pretty sure I remember correctly).  Quilts must have been finished since September 1, 2015 -- in other words, less than one year old.  If I'm not mistaken, it always used to be two years.

So if you got cracking immediately after the entry deadline for the last QN, and made a great quilt last spring or summer, it's not eligible for this QN.  Which seems kind of silly -- it wasn't eligible for the last QN, and not eligible for this one either?  Strikes me that this rule will only encourage people to fib about when they finished their quilts.  (One reason why I never sew the sleeves on quilts until they're on their way to a show -- I can testify honestly in court that I just finished the quilt last week!!)  I think that in the eternal quest for NEW WORK they've gone too far with this rule.

And another piece of news that annoys me is that the entry cost has gone up.  Well, actually I'm not upset that the cost has gone up, but because of the way they chose to announce it.  In fact, as I look back in my checkbook I see that QN's cost has been on the low side ever since I have been entering  -- $25 in 2002 and 2004, $35 from 2006 to 2012, then up to $45 last time around.  Compared to $75 at Visions, QN has been a bargain.

But get this -- this year it's "entry fee of $45.00 plus a $10.00 processing fee."  Why this elaborate description?  Do they think we won't notice the extra ten bucks?  Is it so they can testify in court that the entry fee didn't go up?  Be honest, folks -- I don't think we'll begrudge you the money, but I do begrudge the obfuscation.


  1. I just spoke with Jane, the new director of Quilt National. Quilts are to be finished after Sept. 2014 not 2015. It is a typo. If you look at the side box it has the correct date. The typo will be fixed by the end of the day. No worries!!!

    1. thanks -- that makes me feel better (not that I ever get a QN-worthy quilt done that far in advance....)

  2. A processing fee. Exactly what is that? Always felt that the entry fee covered processing. Have they decided to break out what it costs to deal with the money itself, i.e. credit card fees or on-line secure sites? It made me immediately think of Ticket Master and their processing fees.

    1. To clarify the processing fee---Slideroom charges the Dairy Barn $5.00 for over 5 photos/entry, so if an artist submits 3 quilts @ 2 per quilt as requested that is a total of 6 photos, so they charge us ($5.00) for anything more than 5 photos per entry. We request that each quilt have a full and detail shot. That is the way that we have always done it. They also charge a processing fee that equals $5.00 for credit card and processing fees and a $1200/year fee. The $10.00 goes to Slideroom. We have researched other options to cut costs, but these programs work the best for the jury process and our ability to download the photos and is the only program that we have found that works best for our small organization. The entry fee goes to supporting Quilt National, awards, producing the catalog upfront, printing, advertising and outreach.
      We are always working to reduce costs, but we could not find any other entry processing programs. We are a very small non-profit. We outlined the costs, so that people know why the fee went up. We are not getting that $10.00 it gets taken off the top. If you need help with paying for your entry fee, I will identify a donor that can help with that....I do not want $10.00 to stand in the way of entering. If you have questions, let me know at, Executive Director of The Dairy Barn Arts Center or contact Meaghan Duffy, Exhibitions & Quilt National Director. Thanks for letting me clarify this and please feel free to contact me directly if you have ideas or concerns. JFR

  3. They did make a change to the "show virginity" rule this year as well. It used to read no appearance in "an American fiber arts exhibition that draws artists and/or visitors from more than 100 miles from its venue". So a small local quilt show wouldn't have knocked a piece out of consideration per se but would still have run the risk of being photographed and put on the internet. Now it reads no appearance in any exhibition at all. To my mind, this seems illogical. Exposure on the internet is vastly more comprehensive than in any exhibition, especially small local ones. But, alas, dem's de rules.

  4. P.S. If you want to see the last version of the rules, it's here: