One of my favorite things to do is attend quilt shows. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small guild show or a huge juried/judged show. There are quilts to be seen; vendors to be shopped; friends to meet; photos to take and fun to have. I certainly have developed preferences over the years and that is part of the process of growing as a quilter – discerning my own quilterly style. I’ve developed a deep appreciation of other styles of quilting and appreciate their value because they allow the quilter to find joy, they preserve a certain style of quilting and offer the quilter (myself included here) to find like-minded friends or offer the quilter new avenues of quilting that may appeal to them in a whole new way.I’ll admit to having made snarky or inappropriate comments at quilt shows. I have. I’m embarrassed truly, and I apologize to the quilters. It’s not helpful to the quilter if they happen to be in earshot and in fact may hurt them deeply and discourage them in their growth as a quilter. Not all quilters have a thick skin and they are not necessarily ready or able to filter my comment (which may have a valid point) through my snarkiness. Long and short of it over the years I’ve learned to keep my thoughts to myself.
This weekend I was on the receiving end of a bit of attitude that kind of makes me laugh because quite frankly the quilters bitchiness had nothing directly to do with me. Rather her comment about my quilt winning a ribbon should be taken up with the guild. The quilter bitched because my blue ribbon winning quilt, Feather Zone, was not made by a quilter in Maine. I heard her and responded that the quilter grew up in Maine. That didn’t matter to her because she’s not in Maine now. Dear quilter, please take this up with the quilt guild. The guild has made the decision to accept quilts from outside of the state of Maine.
Because the guild accepts quilts from outside the state of Maine I entered and won. I work damn hard to do good work and this blue ribbon is a simple acknowledgement of my hard work and my skill as a quilter. If the guild should decide not to take quilts from outside the state that would be fine as that would be the rule of the show and therefore I wouldn’t enter my quilt. In fact lots of quilters wouldn’t enter their quilts in the annual show.
If fewer quilters enter the show there is less money coming into the guild and to the vendors.
Attendance at the show would drop.
After a few shows with lower attendance the vendors will reevaluate renting a booth at the show because they are not able to pay for the vendor space and meet their expenses. Once they do that they will be leave the show.
Once the vendors leave the show because of the lack of attendees the show will get smaller.
Oh, I see a downward spiral here.
The guild will not be able to raise money to hire the big name teachers because there will not be enough money to pay them.
In a few years the show will be down to just a few quilts, a vendor or two in a one of the many town halls around the state.
I’m willing to travel 7 hours to attend this show and spend money in Maine. This also means I’m shopping at the local vendors and eating in local restaurants or at the civic center. This keeps quilt shops open and the civic center being used. Adding to the local economy.
I’m looking forward to entering Maine Quilts next year.