Monday, September 14, 2009

Quilt Show Countdown: Judging the Quilts

It takes three days to judge the almost 500 quilts entered in QuiltFest, and that means a lot of people to help out.
When the day starts at 7:30 am, it's a good idea to get there early and have some coffee! (or tea...they do have hot water as well!)
It's great to get together with all the quilters you only see once a year.....when you're working at the show!
At one end of the large room (across the hall from that food or drink allowed in here!) the quilts are sorted and piled according to their category. Paperwork is kept carefully along the way so each quilt is always accounted for.
As each category is prepared for judging, the quilts are taken from their bags, and stacked on a table. The bags are collected in a laundry basket and taken to the infamous Back Room, the last stop of the judging process.
The long table in the front of this picture acts as a divider between the judging area and the seats for those who are waiting their turn to work (and getting a few peeks at the quilts!). After each quilt is judged, it is either "released" and taken to be re-bagged, or it is "held" on the tables here to be considered for an award. It can get First, Second or Third place...or perhaps an Honoroable Mention or Judge's Recognition. Or it may just be released, having "done well in its category".
Look close and you can see the Larged Pieced category is laid out on two tables, waiting for the wokers and judge to arrive.
With three tables in the judging area, one category can be examined by the judge while the next one is being set out.
Each table has three assisiatnts on duty: one at each side to help show the quilts to the judge, and a runner, who removes each quilt after the judge has made her comments.
The table in the front of this picture is where the scribes sit. They take turns writing down what the judge says about each quilt. The judging papers are put in envelopes and returned to the quilt's owner at the end of the show...more on that in a future post!
Behind the scribes' table is the Back Room. Nobody is allowed there except the special workers!When a quilt is released, the runner brings it to the end of the scribes' table and waits for one of the Back Room Workers to take the quilt.
It is then carefully folded and placed back into its own bag, and carries a note if it has won an award.
So as each quilt moves through the whole judging process, from one end of the room to the other, it is constantly accounted for.
I wish I could show you more pictures of all this in action. The quilts are handled with so much care and consideration at every step! Many have embellishments and special touches, and all the workers do their best to care for each quilt as though it were their own.
Today was the second day of judging, so the pile of quilts at one end of the room has dwindled down, and the pile at the other has grown!
The quilts will be guarded over the next week (the quilts are in secure location) until the day arrives to move them to the Prime Osborn Convention Center and hang the show.
If you ever have an opportunity to assist with judging, you will receive the best free education possible! Listening to an NQA certified judge give positive and helpful comments on so many different quilts can help you understand how to improve your own work...and provide the inspiration to do so


Meggie said...

There is certainly a lot of work involved in getting it all done 'right'.

Pat said...

I second Meggie's comment. And at this point, the quilts aren't even hung. Do all quilt shows judge the quilts in the flat? I always thought they were judged while hanging.

Sunnie said...

I think each show has their own ways of doing things, and there isn't just one right way.
At the end of each day, the judge allowed the workers to ask questions...just not about specific quilts. I did ask her about hanging vs. flat judging, and she said most prefer the flat-on-tables, butboth hab=ve benefits. She didmention that a hanging show really takes more foot-work, going up & down the rows to see all the quilts, especailly when you come to awarding the places!