My Life as an Art Quilter

Part 2 - Exhibiting Your Work

Elin Waterston
Elin Waterston

By: Elin Waterston – QCN
Date: 09/15/2010


Okay, so you’re ready to start exhibiting your art quilts. Now what? First, you need to find a venue (or venues) for your work. These can be local or non-local galleries, art centers, juried art exhibits and/or quilt shows. You can also approach libraries or coffee shops in your area and see if they have gallery space. I’ve had a solo show at a yoga studio, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little.

If you choose to enter a juried exhibit, you will need to fill out a prospectus. Make sure you read the prospectus carefully and follow it EXACTLY. Send only what they ask for, and nothing more. If it says you can enter up to three works, don’t send four. If they want one full shot and one detail, that’s all you send. If they ask for images on a disk, don’t send every image on a different disk (I had this happen once when I was jurying a show - not cool). Label everything with all the information required, and make sure the size and format of your images are what’s asked for.

I kinda sound like the exhibition police, but it’s really important to follow the rules. The thing you need to remember is the venue has hired someone to jury their exhibit, and they want that process to go as smoothly as possible. Also keep in mind that sometimes they have hundreds of entries to go through; so if people don’t do as they’re told, it gets complicated.

It benefits you to follow the rules too - if there’s something that you know will disqualify your work (a size requirement or date the work was made), why bother entering it? In doing so, you’ll just be wasting your entry fee and the juror’s time. Another important thing is to get the entry in by the deadline. Really. Deadlines are there for a reason, so don’t assume if you’re just a day or two late that you’re entry will still be accepted.

As I mentioned in my last article, rejection is part of the deal. So, don’t be discouraged if you get some rejections. That said, if you find that you’re getting rejected from EVERYTHING you enter, then you need to evaluate what you’re doing wrong. Is your work not yet at exhibit level? Are your photos not accurately representing your work? Are you entering exhibits that don’t fit your work? Look carefully at all the variables and determine what improvements you need to make. Then try, try again.

And now, as promised, a few of my favorite rejection stories…

* I once entered a show and got my entry form back in the mail with the word "REJECTED" stamped across it in big red letters. No “thank you for your entry.” No “we’re sorry to inform you.” No nothin’.

* I entered an "art" quilt exhibit (I put art in quotes, because the more I found out about this exhibit later, the less it seemed to be art) for which you had to send the actual pieces, not photos. I received a letter back saying that they couldn't accept my work because my quilting markings were visible, and this disqualified me according to their regulations. Since I never mark my quilting designs, all I can say about that is, “hmmm….”

* The organizers of a fiber art exhibit contacted me requesting permission to use an image of one of my art quilts on the entry form and other promotional materials for their show. I complied, then thought it was kinda obvious that I should enter that particular piece in the show. You already know where I'm going with this. Yeah, rejected.

Next time
- photographing, pricing and promoting your work...



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Elin Waterston is an art quilter, teacher, and author (just to name a few). Elin is active online, and can be seen and heard here:

Elin's website -

Elin's blog -


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