How to Run a Quilt Show part 1

I take the opportunity to mention this is a work of fiction rather than an actual situation. While I am co-chairing the quilt show for one of my guilds and I am a bit of a nut, as verified by the following story I may or may not be a complete control freak. We haven’t actually implemented any of the ideas listed below. I don’t quite think I’d have the stamina to write a 20 page application let alone read however many were submitted.

First thing I decided was which guild in my area could benefit from my vast experience and expertise in running such grand events. After attending each of the local quilt shows making careful notes and taking lots of photos this feat was rather easily accomplished. I set about getting to know all of the key people in the guild. You know the “power brokers”, not the board mind you but the ones who are really in control of things. The important people. I endeared myself to them through complimenting their color and fabric choices, lavishly praising their piecing and quilting skills, after all these are two entirely different things! (I must say that some of their choices were quite ghastly but one knows where her quilts are stitched!) As each guild meeting passed I spent time with each of the quilters in charge, giving each one attention in such as way that the others weren’t quite aware that I was spending so much time with the others. You well know that the power brokers in a guild are an unusual “bee” each a queen in her own hive.

Each candidate for the position of “Show Chair” was asked to make a 10 minute presentation detailing how and why she would make the best chair. By the time we arrived at the voting day only 2 candidates were left and after some careful consideration I was “elected” by a landslide. I can still hear the ovation (standing of course) ringing in my ears. Such a sweet sound. My well practiced “oh, who me? oh thank you so much, I can’t believe you would ask me” face on only helped in all the important ways. There were a few members who made it well known that they weren’t too happy with my election. Oh well, such is life, and I’m in charge now anyway.

Next, assembling the committee

I asked each potential committee member to fill out a 20 page application and write a two-page single space typed essay on why they should be chosen to fill the position for which they were applying. A few candidates eliminated themselves right away beginning their essays with “I can’t believe I’m actually sitting at the computer typing this essay to apply for a position on an all volunteer committee!” Can you imagine the nerve of these candidates?

The next step was to bring in the Quilt Police. Oh, I know they’re supposed to be a top-secret organization and all, but do you know how many people try to touch quilts at shows – and usually they sneeze first (yuck!). The Quilt Police are an amazing elite group of quilters who try to disguise their identities by regularly entering contests such as “The Ugliest Quilt Ever”. Their skills and talents run deep. When I emailed them asking for their assistance they eagerly accepted as they’d wanted to infiltrate the show for years! ( I cannot imagine for the life of me why no one asked for their help before.)

After the interviews were complete and the Quilt Police were on board we began the meetings. These were to last a minimum of 3 hours with the first hour being a presentation given by me on some (supposedly) random quilt show related topic that needed my care and attention. These committee members asked my guidance and direction for the most simple of tasks, good thing too, can you imagine how this show would turn out otherwise?

Just after all of the committee members were selected the chair of the Raffle Committee brought to my attention that we needed a raffle quilt and charities needed to be chosen. She explained that this process was quite daunting and she needed help. Would I be willing to design the raffle quilt for her? This would go such a long way in making the raffle quilt a great success! Of course I would be honored to design the quilt. (I can’t quite believe it!)

The weeks and months leading up to the quilt show passed quickly. Charities were chosen: The Sisters of Brotherly Love who work with young men teaching them math skills through quilting; The Brothers of Sisterly Love who work with young women teaching them math skills through quilting and The Fanciest Feast Ever Soup Kitchen who provide decent soups for the most elegant of dinner parties where it has been determined that the hostess simply cannot make a decent pot of soup to serve to her guests!

Ideas presented were discussed, decisions made, quilts pieced and quilted. Problems solved quickly and to my great satisfaction. Over the course of time I only had to fire one committee member. It boggles my mind to this day why she began each conversation with “Well, in my never to be considered opinion . . .” like I’m a control freak or something. She simply had to go. Replacing her was an eager young quilter ready to take on the task and to be molded into a great committee member and quilter.

In between the bi-weekly meetings quilt tops were stitched and reviewed. Some were accepted, most rejected. I can’t believe what some quilters can do with fabric jut to make it look awful! It scares me, simply scares me. The tops won’t go to waste though each of the charities will receive 15 quilts (the 45 that have been rejected for the show already) and a most generous 2% of the proceeds from the raffle quilt!

To be continued

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