Wednesday, August 24, 2011

About Self-Doubt and Entering Competitions

I have read a couple of blogs recently where people talk about how hard it is to pluck up the courage to enter competitions or shows. So I thought I would open up a little to my experience (well, I have been quilting for 13 years and enter a few competitions, so I have a little knowledge, ha!).

I struggle with making traditional quilts now. I have done that in the past, but get bored very easily, cutting, cutting, cutting, then sewing, sewing, sewing. Also I sometimes often have a problem with understanding the instructions - in the early days, I couldn't figure out the instructions for making flying geese, but knew how to make 1/2 square triangles. Join 2 together, and viola! a flying goose! Now that I know how to make them a couple of different ways, they are my favourite block. I still like to have something traditional in my art quilts and the lessons I have learned stand me in good stead for accuracy.

I often have that big self-doubt on my shoulder. BUT, with baking and quilting, and especially my art quilting, it gives me the chance to play and make for me - making for someone else again makes me nervous and doubt myself.

I do like to enter into competitions with quilts, because it's MY learning time. I get to have an independent critique - I decided that the judge doesn't know me as a person so they are not criticising me (even though it is MY work). Any good judge should be able to encourage and find the positive aspects as well as letting you know how you can make your quilt/quilting better.

It's best not to stand near your quilt when it's hung in a show, because, believe me, that's when you don't hear the good comments, and that can really put a dent in your confidence.

YOU should compare yourself with only YOUR work.  It is YOUR quilting journey and you determine the road traveled and the speed (just like stippling!).

I have one of my first quilts hanging on the wall - I had no idea how to do the binding, so only did a single fold - well, you know what happens with the reverse side when you machine stitch it - the folded edge often doesn't get caught down. I took this particular wall-hanging off the wall to wash it and put it on a new hanger - but have left the back binding as is, to remind me of how far I have come!

If your quilt is accepted into a show or challenge - well done! No matter the final outcome, you haven't failed by entering. Getting a piece accepted anywhere in quilting means that you have done something GOOD and others LIKE your work.

I think that if it gives pleasure and meaning to just one other person - mission is achieved!

Go hug yourself and be kind to yourself.
Lime cupcakes (left) & almond cupcakes


Ruth said...

Hugs to you too!
A wonderful post, thank you for giving the time to think of others. :)

Erilyn said...

Thanks Ruth - hope you are going to have a lovely photographic day. I haven't been out with my camera much :-(

Ruth said...

I haven't been out much either. Its now pouring down here, so not going out. :( But will do some painting!

Helen said...

Hi Erilyn

I do like it when I get a judge's comment, even if my quilt had not won a prize. I just wish our big national show would do that. We get no feedback whatsoever and this is the show with the big sponsorship. I know people say it is a lot of extra work for the judges, but surely they are getting paid for judging? I think a short feedback comment wouldn't be amiss. That is why I like entering the NANZQ challenges, because we get feedback. What do you think?

Erilyn said...

I agree Helen. I had a quilt entered into Paducah (which is much bigger than NZ Symposium)and I received the judge's feedback - it was an excellently produced show - right down to having something written for the local paper (P. Nth) - they didn't use it though :-(