These are the quilts I judged while participating in the 2016 China International Patchwork Invitational Tournament & Patchwork Arts Show. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much I did. I took these photos the day of the jurying, so I don’t have any names to attach to the images.
When I left you almost two weeks ago, I had sort of promised that I would up my blogging game. I failed.
I do have aspirations of blogging twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I have no good excuse here except for maybe my mind is on some sort of deadline detox program right now and refuses to comply with any agendas I, as a maker, might have.
Back to it.
The first afternoon I was in Beijing, China, I spent judging quilts. As I mentioned before , this was not an easy task. This was their second annual show, and in an effort to encourage submissions, everything was accepted. This meant that there were painted canvases as well as 3D objects. It took me a while to understand that it really was a fiber show and not a quilt show. And that while a painting may be exquisite, it should not be awarded a prize.
Madame Chen gave lots of advice and even though it was not in English you could pretty much tell what she thought.
I should also mention that not only is this a new show, but I believe the organizers are also new to the idea of western judging. They wanted to mimic the way we do things, but they are Chinese, and their culture has its own ideas about what is fair and how things are to be judged. Or as one juror phrased—China is not a democracy.
I just wish I have been a faster learner.
The show’s awards were divided into interesting categories based on color, composition, and craft. They were also separated by size.
As you can see from the images I have shared so far, the West has had a distinct influence on many Chinese quilters.
For many Chinese quilters, resources—they don’t have a thousand ways to purchase quilter’s cotton like we do—are limited.
In hindsight, I can see several general categories of submissions. First the traditional western style quilts we have been looking at.
A second category would be small works.
These were the most wide ranging—from leather teddy bears.
To soft sculpture.
To garments. I really wanted one of these!
Or I would take this one too.
And of course small quilts.
I love this one.
A third category might be painted canvases.
Which Madam Chen frowned upon.
And then there were the art quilts.
This is my favorite.
I love the use of up-cycled materials, and the composition is dynamic and interesting. I know the craftsmanship could and should be better. But the use of color and print is just plain fun.
Several works were framed.
We can’t forget about the modern quilts. They were represented as well.
Many of these quilters used a unique stitch that features evenly space stitches done in sets of three which relates to a Chinese metaphor about success—basically two steps forward, one step back.
There were several two layer quilts which we had been told early on should be consider for awards.
The last category but certainly not the least would be the quilts inspired by traditional Chinese handwork.
One ethnic minority artist told elaborate appliquéd stories in cloth. I hope to tell you more about her work in another post. It is fantastic.
I had the opportunity to meet several of these artists because they were also vendors in the market associated with the show.
At the end of all that hard work was this—Chinese food! I wish I could be sitting at the table again. The food was incredible.
And so was the conversation. This table represents China, Japan, South Korea, Tawain, the United States, Germany, and Portugal. What do we all have in common? I think ou know the answer to that–a love of fiber.
Next we will go to the awards ceremony. I hope it doesn’t take me two weeks to write that post. I need to get with it. And if you missed the post about China, you can read about here.