zebrapatterns.com/ and it brings up a topic for my musings...how do I feel about the "quilt police" otherwise known as judges as the county fair, state fair, quilt shows, etc.
Well, here's the thing...I am not a person who wants to be competitive with my quilts. I quilt for the pure enjoyment of doing it. Having my quilt that I spent so much time, effort, and money creating judged by a stranger always makes me terribly nervous. I am usually happy with my finished product and feel good about it...enter the "quilt police"--after being judged, I often feel unhappy and not so good about my quilt. So, why do I bother entering my quilts? It is the best way to have my work seen by a lot of people, and it is pretty cheap advertisement for my longarm business.
Don't get me wrong. There is always room for improvement and for constructive criticism; however, sometimes I feel like the judge is searching for something negative to explain why your quilt did not get an honor. Even when I have received a ribbon or honor (which I have many times) I walk away feeling bad about the things that "needed improvement." I have learned from those comments, but they do sting a bit.
So, what is a sensitive quilter to do? I have to tell myself that the judge is there to be my friend, to help me improve, and to offer encouragement for me to keep growing as a quilter. I have to accept that my quilts, like all other areas of my life, can benefit from some constructive criticism. I have to focus on the good comments and the improvements that I make each time I create something new. Finally, I have to believe that a quilt show judge (not unlike the English teacher I used to be) is simply rendering an educated opinion--one that is subjective and given a different judge, or even a different day, might be totally different.
Lesson--if you love your quilt, that's really what counts, but a few helpful comments can be a good thing.