Entering Quilt Shows and Handling Rejections

As some of you may know, none of my individual submissions were accepted into QuiltCon 2024.
Please….No sadness!!  Please don’t email me or comment to say how sorry you are that my work was declined or that it is their loss….etc., etc.
Instead, let me share with you my thoughts and feelings about submitting, rejections and acceptances.
And, my goal in this post is to encourage you to think more positively about rejections.
I hope you will submit your work to local, regional and national shows…IF ENTERING SHOWS IS OF INTEREST TO YOU!!
And, please remember that some guild shows are noncompetitive–meaning that you can hang a quilt in your guild show and NOT have any judging done.  Then your friends who are not quilters can come see your work and find out what today’s quilters are up to.  I guarantee those nonquilters will be blown away!

Meanwhile….My views on submitting to quilt [and art] shows

My views about entering shows don’t include fear of failure, disappointment, regret or feelings that I wasn’t ‘good enough’. For me, my work getting rejected or declined does not mean my quilt wasn’t “good enough”.  I am not afraid of the word ‘rejection’. I also don’t feel that it is in any way personal.

So if my work does not get accepted, I do not say to myself…I must make “better work” next time. Or, they didn’t like ME….

That’s because I know that every juror and every show has stylistic, design and technique expectations–and those expectations will most likely  change from year to year.

There are many examples of quilts being declined one year and accepted into the very same show the following year–including winning prizes. The quilt didn’t change—the jurors were different people! There are numerous examples of quilts declined from QuiltCon and accepted into Houston or a gallery or museum show or a fine arts show, etc. Different jurors and possibly different types of submissions can alter the outcomes.

So let’s not go down a path of saying my/your work wasn’t good enough. I don’t even even encourage myself or others to ‘do better work’. Let’s avoid those negative win/lose judgments.


Show acceptances in ANY year to any show are always a combination of several factors: numbers of entries; quality of your photos (not the quilt quality); juror preferences for styles; how closely each work fit the ‘theme’; etc. , etc.  It is also determined by the style preferences and interests of the show organizers–because they select jurors who will understand the intentions of the organizers and the show’s history.

And since the SAME quilt can be accepted a year later to the same show, it can’t mean that suddenly we are better quilters, right?


Above all,  let’s celebrate our work and, if we want to and can afford the fees and shipping costs, look for  opportunities to show our work.

For me, this means shifting my focus to the fine art world again.  In the past, most fine art shows did not welcome ‘quilts’–they were considered ‘craft’. Some fine art shows specifically stated that they did not take fiber art or craft items. Acceptance of fiber and textile work has begun to shift and it started in the late 1990’s.
Many years ago, I took a ‘big risk’ and submitted to Women In the Visual Arts held at the Erector Square Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut in March 1994.  This was a juried international  competition for fine art by women. My artquilt was the only quilt related work selected for this show.  Of 2,000 entries received, only 50 works were selected for the show.  Did I feel really joyful when it was accepted?  You bet!!  Was I shocked?  Absolutely!  What I learned is that my artistic vision was compatible with the work of other visual artists.  It definitely energized me and still does to this day.
Women in Visual Arts Entry 1994
Things have changed in the art world.  Today, many museum and gallery fine art shows are open to all types of textile and fiber art, even pieces that say ‘I’m a quilt’.
IN PROGRESS…I am in love with it even at this incomplete stage.
Now, not all of my artquilts and modern quilts will be appropriate to every venue.  Before I consider entering, I will carefully read the call for entry material, look at their past shows for a sense of direction and submit when I think there’s a chance for my work to fit.  Mostly, I will take a risk–I have set aside a 2024 budget for show submissions and I want to make sure I use it wisely.  And, I’ll remember to take a risk!!
Jazz Quilt: Sassy Red Shoes
in 2024 and beyond, I will keep making more and more work to share with the fine art and the quilt worlds.
I love making textile/fiber art–and I will keep at it as long as I can!
My friends,  let’s keep exploring ideas, challenging ourselves and making new work!
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