photo of an art quilt of four birds in an apple tree

Show Time

Joyce Brown and Judy Villett
Summer 2018

Spring is coming and across Canada quilt shows are blooming! Guilds and groups are eager to show off the work that has been so satisfying to make during the long winter days. Volunteers and their families gather in gyms, church halls and community centres to hang these labours
of love.

Though the shows are short-lived, usually from two to four days long, the coordination and planning are intense. Often, there is a Merchants Mall, homemade desserts and a raffle quilt or two made to raise funds for a good cause.

Hordes of visitors attend, sometimes invited to select a Viewers’ Choice, or in the case of a judged show, they wonder at the selection of winners marked by ribbons and, sometimes, prizes. A writer friend says going to a quilt show is like going to a cathedral—an uplifting, spiritual experience! She also commented on the flow of positive energy she can feel from each piece.

 photo of a segment of a modern quilt

In Canada, we are blessed with two national quilt shows. First, let’s talk about the National Juried Show, affectionately known as the NJS, held every year by CQA/ACC at their annual conference. The location shifts across Canada. This year, it will be held in Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, from May 29 to June 2, 2018. A short, but marvelous, opportunity to view pieces from across the country and beyond! There have been entries from Japan, England, Europe and other parts of the world. This year the show was selected from a record high of 351 entries. What a job for the Jury Coordinator and three on-line jurors.

Judges will have approximately 135 juried pieces to review after the quilts arrive at the show location. Judges have two days before the show opens to judge each piece and select over 30 prize winners. CQA/ACC executive have the pleasure of informing winners in all categories and specialty awards, many of whom will be able to attend awards night prior to Quilt Canada opening.

The Quilt Judge Certification Program (QJCP) has access to the NJS for a few precious hours, before it opens to the public, to conduct Module Five of the program: Mock Judging. The candidates are each set up with a scribe and given a list of quilts to judge across several

Apprentices are evaluated for their ability to stick to the time limit (five minutes per piece), their written and dictated critiques, the ability to communicate with their team (scribe and aide) and, finally, they must pick first, second and third place in one category, working as a team with two other candidate judges. The QJCP Instructors take notes throughout the process and have interviews with each candidate. Sometimes more practice is recommended for candidates before they are able to take on the role of Certified Judge. Great is the delight when a new Judge is certified! It is the result of several years of home study, classroom lessons, evaluations, and accumulated experience judging and writing critiques for 100 entries.

photo of a quilt with three leaves on a branch

The new judges are eligible to judge at subsequent National Juried Shows and are sought after for judged exhibitions across Canada. Fees and honorariums for judging are similar to top-level instructor fees. The opportunity to educate entrants and the public is priceless!

Another great Canadian tradition is the Grand National judged exhibition, previously held in St. Catharines, ON. The show will now circulate biennially to different locations around the country. It will be open to Canadian residents, held in a gallery and run for much longer than three days. For more information visit their website.

It is an honour to judge and be selected for any judged exhibition. Congratulations to all who enter, judge or help organize quilt shows. We encourage more participation at all levels. Module One of the QJCP, What Was That Judge Thinking, is an informative and encouraging look at the whole process for guilds, entrants and those interested in volunteering or judging. Contact us if you are interested in taking this module.

Enjoy the beauty of spring flowers and spring quilt shows wherever you are.

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta