Smaller Wall Art Quilts as a Valid Show Quilt

I usually make my show quilts sized to comfortably  fit the design I envision rather than stretching to make them really large.   I believe smaller quilt (not miniatures)  have become more acceptable as show quilts in recent years for most shows, as they should be.  I don’t normally work in quilts over 60 inches in either direction, and mostly my quilts end up fitting within the lower end of the small wall quilt sizes of most quilt shows. I believe this slightly disadvantages them because the bigger the quilt the more it seems to have impact, though that just makes me work all the harder on my smaller quilts.

Impact is one of the most important parts of getting the attention of a judge.  When they are looking at miniatures, they are expecting to see small, and miniatures are frequently impressive for how intricate they are in such a small space.

I was hoping to complete my most recent quilt Canterbury Knight by the entry deadline for American Quilter’s Society Grand Rapids, and then subsequently to enter it into the other AQS shows.  I almost made the deadline.  I probably would have if I had not discovered that it would not qualify for the show.  There is a gap of six inches between the smallest of their small wall quilt size and the miniature, and my quilt was only 27 inches wide, right in that gap.

So yesterday I said something about it on my Facebook, and got a response from AQS that lead to an email exchange with AQS’s quilt show coordinator Andrea Ray.  She contacted me and asked what my question was.  Here is the exchange:

From me to Andrea:

Hi Andrea,

Actually, I first asked through the website contact page, because I am wondering why there is a gap on sizing between your small wall quilt and your miniature quilt, so that anything between 30 and 24 inches wide or long is not enterable in an AQS show.  I just completed a 27 x37 inch quilt that took me about six months to make, and I must say was probably my biggest challenge yet in quilt making…but it is not enterable.

I have two points on this. The first is that my 27 x 37 inch quilt is 999 square inches and a 30 x 30 inch quilt is 900 square inches.  The second is that this is not a miniature quilt in the usual thoughts about miniatures, and such a size is wonderful for a small home or office wall.  I make wall quilts for people’s homes or offices.  It just seems right to include this size in a major show like the AQS shows.  Besides, I love to go up to Lancaster, in particular, and now you’ve opened one in Chattanooga where I grew up and in Syracuse, close to Ithaca NY where I have many friends.  I am sorry I can’t show my quilt in those locations in particular.

From Andrea to me:

Betty Jo,

Thank you for your feedback. You are not alone. We have heard this about the sizes before, which is why we included the Wall Quilts- Fiber Art category (Width 24” – 40” and Length 24” or more). This category is available in Paducah and Syracuse in 2015.

We are currently working on our rules for 2016 where the size question was brought up again. I hope to include this size range in Des Moines as well.

Thanks,

Andrea

I appreciate the very nice rapid response, but I urge AQS to consider adding this new smaller size category for all of their shows.  The final point about this is that some very talented quilters live in a small space and have a small sewing space where making a larger quilt is physically taxing or even next to impossible.  Opening this smaller size is not compromising in any way.

Such quilts should be beautifully created…good in design as well as construction techniques and fabulous quilting.  It would also help spread the joy of beautiful quilts for decoration of home and office.

Sew happy everyone!

4 thoughts on “Smaller Wall Art Quilts as a Valid Show Quilt

  1. Robin says:

    Thank you, Betty Jo, for sharing this. I, too, fall into the gap size in most of the quilts I make, so it’s good to see that size being acknowledged by the shows.

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