Monday, January 30, 2017

Fantastic Fibers coming up

The entry deadline for Fantastic Fibers, the annual juried show at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah KY, comes at the end of this week and if you're on the usual-suspect email lists you may be getting reminder messages.  I'm here to tell you why I'm not going to do an entry.

First off, what's good about FF.  Although Paducah is way off the beaten path of the art world, and the Yeiser is a small museum, the show runs during the huge AQS exhibit so lots of the 30,000 quilters making the Paducah pilgrimage will see your work.  And the awards are decent: $1,000, $500 and $250, and there's going to be a printed catalog.  There are no size limits, especially appealing if you love to work big as I do.

In recent years FF has succeeded in attracting excellent work from around the world; I particularly remember a fabulous piece by Eszter Bornemisza, the great fiber artist from Hungary, in the 2012 show. (Read more about it here.)

Eszter Bornemisza, Primitive Findings (detail below) -- in Fantastic Fibers 2012

So why am I not going to enter this year?  Money.

The entry fee is $25 per piece!  You can enter up to five pieces ($125), but even if you don't have that many wonderful creations lying around, we're talking way too much $$$$ for me.  On general principles, I am hostile toward shows that seem to regard the entry process as a revenue opportunity rather than a way to simply cover costs.

Since I never delete old emails I can report that the FF fee was $12 per entry in 2014, $15 per entry in 2015 and 2016 (25% increase), and now is up to $25 (66% increase).  That's pretty steep -- both the fee and the rate of increase -- for a small museum in an out-of-the-way town.  I think it's overreaching.

So I'm opting out, thank you.


  1. Not to mention shipping costs if you get in (there and back), and insurance. I am getting to the point where entering any show feels like pay to play. I understand that they have to cover costs but so do we. It's sad that funding for shows like this one (which is often excellent) rests on the people who are striving to show their work.

  2. What about Visions! It is 70 plus dollars. I may enter one piece in Fantastic Fibers, but I tend to stick with 3 for $45 as my maximum.

  3. I agree! I did enter FF, maybe against my better judgment, since last time I was in it my quilt came back to me with everything practically stuffed in the box, not rolled on a tube, put in the bag, etc. Their excuse was that they use volunteers. I have seen the show in person several times, and it is very good.

  4. I've entered for several years (largely because it was less expensive), but am opting out this year-as you say pretty expensive for just one piece, especially since I've never gotten in. I do like the per-piece entry fee though. It's a bit frustrating to have shows like the SAQA shows or the larger art shows (like QN) where the entry fee is more like $40 (or even higher for QN). That covers often many entries (sometimes as many as 5 though often only 3), but as someone who isn't a full time artist, I often only have 1 piece ready to enter, and it's frustrating to have to pay that much. Just food for thought... It would be interesting to see how many people entering the larger shows enter multiple pieces vs. just one.

  5. As someone who only once entered anything, anywhere, I would not pay $25 to enter. I would simply assume that mine would be declined as not a name in the industry.

    Perhaps they are using it as a way of reducing entries?

    I was into running/cycling events for a while. Early on, entry fees weren't too bad and included a shirt. Now they're $30+, and so is the shirt. Events with both running AND cycling are more like $75/entry or more. We're supposed to feel better as it is always for some cause or other. I think it just got too popular and is now just a money maker.

    1. You can be as paranoid as I am about the fees being too high, but don't assume that decisions are made on the basis of "name." Every juried show that I know of is done blind -- that is, they don't know your name. Unless your work is so well known that the jurors can identify you at sight, the decision is going to be made purely on the basis of aesthetic appeal.

      That's not to say that some "famous" people don't get in because of their name (shame on the jurors) but I don't think you can ever not get in because of your (not) name.

    2. Well, that's good to know. Thanks.