Of course we all have pieces that speak to us more than others, it's a matter of style, color, emotion, and artistic sensibility. It's the same as in a museum - as you walk around you can hear people saying "What's so great about that one?" or "Why didn't that one win a prize?" or "Why DID that one win a prize?" We're human, we can't help ourselves, we have opinions, and that's okay - I don't really think people are being mean-spirited, it's just that some things speak to them, and some don't.
For me to have a piece hanging in the show was pretty humbling, because although I love the piece, I'm sure that others don't. It's all good, because what I know for sure is that there's room in the world, especially the creative world, for all of it! (I'll admit that I was sort of tempted to stand by my quilt anonymously and listen to people's reactions, but then I thought "Nah - not necessary." ) I know there were probably some people who liked it and some who didn't and that's fine. This is certain - lot of positive energy went into making it. My biggest wish is that for even a moment when they look at it, some of that reflects back to the viewers, making them feel a little bubble of joy or gladness rise up inside. That's my goal, anyway.
I certainly got that feeling myself - almost constantly as I walked from quilt to quilt. I'm sure people thought I was nuts or a liar, because I loved and was amazed by it ALL! Really, no faking. I mean, I definitely gravitated more towards some than others, but overall I was blown away by pure unadulterated appreciation and beauty. That was the first time I visited the exhibit - I actually went through it three separate times, and would have again had I not had to leave unexpectedly.
The second time I went through the exhibit alone. This time I was a little more scientific - I was looking closely at the pieces that really spoke to me, and then figuring out why I liked it so much, what specifically drew me to it, and what I could learn from it. (I had to have about six chocolate/water breaks for that one - talk about exhausting!) But I came away from it with a little better understanding of what makes me tick as an artist, and in what directions I might go next, and of course, I'm sure many new ideas are cooking in my brain that I'm completely unaware of right now.
The third time I went through the exhibit I was with my family - my husband, sister-in-law, and her daughter and husband. It was a first quilt show for all of them, and I think it opened up a whole new world for them. I don't think they had a clue what could be accomplished with bits of fabric, thread, a machine, and a lot of imagination. We had a blast having a quilt-naming contest - we would each look at a piece and then come up with a name, decide whose was best and then look at the quilt's real name. My niece Sara could quit her day job, we decided, and become a professional quilt-namer! And the men did a pretty good job with them, too! Sara says if I can't come up with a name for something I can text her a picture and she'll help me out anytime...
I thought it was a fabulous exhibit, and I'm sure that there are many more Quiltcon-worthy pieces out there that were either not chosen to be part of the show, or were not even entered. (That's why I spend so much time reading blogs - people are sharing their beautiful creations every day - Awesome!) Quiltcon, for me, serves as a reminder of why I create - recognition is great, and I share my creations all the time and I entered the contest, too, but that's not my ultimate goal. There's just something inside me that wants to be expressed. What really matters to me is the kind of joyful energy that goes into the creating in the moment, and what I really wish for is that the outcome reflects that. And I can say that whatever the reasons others have for sharing their wonderful creativity, I got that feeling in spades at this year's Quiltcon.
For me, Quiltcon is a bunch of intense positivity (is that a word) coming together to create more joy in the world. When something like that happens - we all win!