FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions About Quilt National and Entry Requirements and Eligibility

Q: What is Quilt National?

A: Quilt National is a biennial international juried exhibition of contemporary innovative quilts. The first Quilt National was shown in 1979. Quilt National ’19 is the twenty-first in the series. Quilt National is the brainchild of three fiber artists Françoise Barnes, Nancy Crow, and Virginia Randles who were living in Athens in the late 1970s. These artists were making quilted objects that featured unfamiliar patterns. These contemporary quilts needed an exhibition that would showcase the contemporary quilt.

Quilt National has now celebrated it’s 21st biennial, traveled to many countries, and been visited by thousands of viewers. Quilt National is produced

Q: Why are these objects called quilts?

A: The definition of a quilt is contained in the rules and requirements, noted on the entry form. It has evolved over the years. The current definition is: The work must possess the basic structural characteristics of a quilt. It must be predominantly fabric or fabric-like material and must be composed of at least two full and distinct layers — a face layer and a backing layer — that are held together by hand- or machine-made functional quilting stitches or other elements that pierce all layers and are distributed throughout the surface of the work.

Q: How are the works selected for the exhibitions?

A: The works are selected by a jury. The jury includes three individuals: two internationally recognized fiber artists and one person whose area of expertise is somewhat broader. They select the quilts from digital images (full view and detail being shown simultaneously). The jurors have no idea whose work is being viewed; they only know the dimensions and title of the work. Until the very end of the process, the scoring is done in silence. Because of the scoring system, it is impossible for one juror to either include or exclude a particular work.

Q: What happens to the quilts when the exhibition closes at the Dairy Barn?

A: At the conclusion of the exhibition at the Barn, approximately 80 of the quilts begin a two-year tour to galleries and museums throughout the country. Nearly all the host venues will have less than 30 of the works on display. Those who see Quilt National at the Dairy Barn are the only ones who see the entire collection.

Q; How can I enter the next Quilt National [QN ’21]?

A: Submissions for QN’21 open May 1, 2020. The deadline for entry is September 9, 2020. Click here to for more information regarding the call for entry.

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Q: What were the eligibility requirements for QN ’21?

A: The work must possess the basic structural characteristics of a quilt. It must be predominantly fabric or fabric-like material and must be composed of at least two full and distinct layers (a face layer and a backing layer). The face layer may be described by any or a combination of the following terms: pieced, appliqué, whole cloth, stitch/fused to a foundation. The face and backing layers must be held together by hand- or machine-made functional quilting stitches or other elements that pierce all layers and are distributed throughout the surface of the work. At least some of these stitches or elements should be visible on the back of the work. As an alternative, the work may be a modular construction (an assemblage of smaller quilts). Each individual module, however, must meet the above structural criteria.

All work must be the result of independent effort unless the work is a collaboration between multiple artists/quilters. If work is collaborative, all collaborators must be listed on the submission form. Collaborative pieces can only be submitted once, by one artist. Anyone who has artistic and/or intellectual say in the design and/or conception of this quilt is considered a collaborator.

Work cannot be created for or the product of an instructional setting in which another artist or teacher has provided guidance and/or suggestions.

The work must be an original design, not a copy nor a variation on the original design of another artist working in another medium.

All entries must be NEW work completed after September 1st, 2018. The recent modification of an older work DOES NOT make the work eligible unless the artist can document significant differences between the original and revised versions of the piece.

The following works are NOT eligible:

          • Any work that was completed prior to September 2018
          • Any work that does not meet the structural requirements of a quilt as stated in the entry form.
          • Any work that exceeds 100 inches in either the horizontal or the vertical dimension.
          • Any work will have appeared in any exhibition (including, but not limited to, solo, group, curated, and salon exhibitions)
          • Any work that will have appeared in a publication (this includes SAQA publications)
          • Any work created in an instructional setting
          • Any work that is a copy or variation of another artist’s work
          • Any work that is not an independent effort, unless collaborator(s) is listed

Q: Which artist has been in the most Quilt National exhibitions and which artist has participated in Quilt National the most?

A: In the first years of QN, artists could have more than one quilt in a show. In addition, jurors had the option of submitting a piece of their own for display.

Jan Myers-Newbury has been in 16 shows, including one when she was the juror. Others with large numbers of times in QN: Susan Shie and Ellen Oppenheimer with 13 shows. Jan Myers-Newbury has had 17 pieces in the show including QN ’81 when she had two pieces included and once when she was a juror. Others with a large number of pieces: Linda Levin with 16 and Linda MacDonald with 15 pieces. Chris Wolf Edmonds has the record for the longest time between appearances in QN at 28 years [QN ’91 to QN ’19]

Q: Does my quilt need a sleeve?

A: Accepted works require a sleeve or hanging device if a sleeve is not appropriate. We recommend at least a 3” wide sleeve that is 1” – 2” from each edge. If your quilt is heavy or quite large, we recommend leaving a space open near the middle, between two sleeve sections so we can support the center of the quilt when hung. 

Q: Is there a size minimum?

A: No. We only have a maximum size restriction of 100 inches (254 cm) on the longest side. 

Q: If accepted, is it required that my quilt travels?

A: No, you will have the option to have your quilt sent home after the exhibition closes at The Dairy Barn. You may also remove your quilt from the tour with two months notice prior to it’s next scheduled tour date. Prize winners are required to travel, unless travel would compromise the integrity of the artwork.

Q: What does “preliminary acceptance” mean?

A: Once the quilts arrive at The Dairy Barn, the jury’s representatives will confirm each quilt meets our definition of a quilt (found in the exhibition prospectus), does not violate any rules, and was well represented by the submission images. 

Q: What does “fabric-like materials” mean? Does my alternative material qualify?

A: Likely your alternative material does qualify. Examples of “fabric-like material”/alternative materials that have been used in Quilt National artworks are: paper, film negatives, cheese cloth, newspaper, etc. If in doubt, please ask. Alternative material use/use of alternative materials is encouraged! 

Q: Will my quilt be sent back to me after it is photographed?

A: We plan to store all quilts after photography until the opening reception of Quilt National. However, we have limited storage space, so the ability to store the quilts differs each biennial. 

Q: Do I need to insure my quilt when I ship it to The Dairy Barn?

A: While we cannot require you to insure your shipment, we strongly encourage you to purchase insurance through the shipping company. We also recommend you obtain a tracking number and retain it for your records.

Q: My quilt was shown in a small group exhibition at a local shop/gallery/salon show/bazaar, is it eligible for Quilt National?

A: Unfortunately, no. Previously exhibited quilts are not eligible for Quilt National, regardless of the location or attendance numbers.

Q: What is a purchase award? 

A: Quilts awarded a Purchase Award will become part of the The Quilt National Collection at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, which was created to preserve and celebrate Quilt National artists and their quilts to ensure they will be available for study, exhibition. The quilt will be purchased by the museum to join the collection. 

Q: My quilt requires alternative installation, does it qualify for Quilt National?

A: Yes. So long as the quilt meets the characteristics of a quilt, as defined in the exhibition prospectus, your quilt is eligible. 

Q: Are there categories? What are the categories?

A: There are no categories in Quilt National. Please read our rules and requirements for more information.

Q: I make 3-D quilts. Do they qualify?

A: Yes! As long as the quilt meets the characteristics of a quilt, as defined in the exhibition prospectus, your quilt is eligible. 

Q: How do I photograph my quilt well?

A: If you are photographing your quilt yourself, use the best camera available to you. Place the quilt on a neutral colored wall, ideally with natural sunlight from a North-facing window (which provides more consistent light throughout the day.)  Be sure to avoid casting unwanted shadows on your quilt when photographing. Do your best to have the camera height near the center of the quilt to reduce the chance of skewing the image. 

Be sure to capture fine details of your quilt to be submitted separately from your “overall” images.

If you are submitting a “3-D” or sculptural quilt, we encourage you to photograph the quilt as you would like it installed in the gallery.

Q: How are the works selected for the exhibitions?

A: The works are selected by a jury. The jury includes three individuals: two internationally recognized fiber artists and one person whose area of expertise is somewhat broader. They select the quilts from digital images (full view and detail being shown simultaneously). The jurors have no idea whose work is being viewed; they only know the dimensions and title of the work. Until the very end of the process, the scoring is done in silence. Because of the scoring system, it is impossible for one juror to either include or exclude a particular work.

Q: What happens to the quilts when the exhibition closes at the Dairy Barn?

A: At the conclusion of the exhibition at the Barn, approximately 80 of the quilts begin a two-year tour to galleries and museums throughout the country. Nearly all the host venues will have less than 30 of the works on display. Those who see Quilt National at the Dairy Barn are the only ones who see the entire collection.

Q: Are group quilts eligible for Quilt National?

A: Works that have been created through the combined creative efforts of more than one person are eligible for Quilt National. All collaborators must be listed on the submission form. Artists who are members of a creative team of three or more may also enter as many as two additional works that they themselves have created. Each artist may submit up to three quilts for consideration, but a collaborative work may only be submitted once, by one artist.

Q: What information will be required on the submission form?

A: Artist name, contact information, the title of work, was this work a collaboration, if so, who collaborated on this work, completion date, dimensions (length, height, and width if three-dimensional, in inches), materials, techniques, artist statement (100 word max), and award eligibility. Additional information may be requested on the submission form.

Artists may submit one overall and up to two detail images of their work. A third detail image is accepted if the work is three-dimensional. Video submissions of work will not be accepted.

Q: Will there be a QN ’20?

A: No. As a complete exhibit, Quilt National occurs only in odd-numbered years.

Q: What are the criteria for the Persistence Pays Award?

A: Created to honor the memory of Quilt National’s longtime director, Hilary Fletcher, this award is granted to the first-time exhibitor who has entered Quilt National the most times before gaining acceptance.

Q: What are the criteria for the Young Emerging Artist Award?

A: First presented in 2011, Katie (Pasquini) and Bobby Masopust established this award to be presented to a Quilt National artist the age of 35 and under to encourage participation by a new generation of quilt artists.

Q: Explain the Social Media Rule

A: Quilt National no longer has a “Social Media Rule”. We encourage you to share your process and work on social media. Doing so will not disqualify a work from the jury process.

Q: What is the relationship between the Quilt National Collection, the purchase awards, and the QN awards?

A: The Quilt National Collection, at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, was created to preserve and celebrate Quilt National artists and their quilts to ensure they will be available for study, exhibition, and preservation for years to come. With any new collection, acquisition takes time. Phase 1 began with Quilt National ’19, Quilt National ’79 and prize-winning quilts from the other years. It will continue with Quilt National ’21. In the future, we will be adding to the collection in Phase 2 with other Quilt National pieces.

All quilts juried into the exhibit are equally considered by the jury for the exhibit as well as any awards, including the new Purchase Awards. The Purchase Award winning quilts will be purchased, on behalf of our sponsors, to join the Quilt National Collection.

On the entry form, artists will have the opportunity to opt-out of a purchase award, making the quilt ineligible to win a purchase award. This will, in no way, affect the eligibility of the quilt to be accepted into Quilt National or its chances of receiving another award.

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