Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Entering Shows

In looking over my resume I am struck by the change from years past. I used to enter many more shows in recent years than I have so far this year. And I wonder, what is the reason? I know exactly why I no longer enter weekend pole-and-drape quilt shows: it costs just as much to enter one of those as it does to enter a month long show and I really want to exhibit to a wider audience than that which a weekend show attracts. Plus there is little possibility for a sale, not that I've sold much at month long shows.

But there are tons of month-long juried fiber art shows these days and I could spend all my time entering those. And I haven't done much of that either. The first four months of this year I spent in making work for the QSDS Invitational, and then I got busy with other stuff and have slacked off considerably.

I spent nearly all day yesterday preparing 3 entries. And I had already prepared an entry earlier this month. So, 4 entries. Of these, 2 are for month long fiber-only shows, 1 is for fine crafts, and one is totally art. I think my chances of getting into the quilt shows are pretty good but not sure things. The other two are way less certain, actually I would be surprised if I was accepted.

My theory is that if you get accepted into everything you enter, you aren't aiming high enough. This can be a little tough on one's ego, getting rejection letters. But, on the other hand, what kind of satisfaction is there in getting into a show when it's a sure thing? And what if, for some reason, I would get rejected from something I thought was a 'sure thing'? That would be a real blow.

So with these 4 entries, and a few more that I want to enter coming up (why is everything due in September and October, no matter when the show is?), keeping track of things becomes a real challenge. It would not be good policy to double enter something. I keep track of all my work in a database, along with all the show information, and what's been entered where. But I needed a visual representation to ensure against overlap. For this I used Microsoft Excel, created a calendar, and used shading to show the duration of each show. Writing the names of the pieces entered in each show in the shaded areas made it easier to see what I was committing and when and how long.

And here's a real dilemma - Quilt Visions in San Diego. A prestigious show with a full color catalog, something beneficial. But it costs $70 to enter! And they keep the quilt for an entire year. It's definitely not a 'sure thing' type show, and I really have to think about spending that much entry money and possibly losing a piece for an entire year. Luckily, I can ponder that for several months, as the deadline isn't until January.


Gerrie said...

This was a great post! I share so many of your thoughts. I have been entering fewer shows. I did get a quilt accepted for the IQF show this year, but other than that, I no longer want to bother with the week-end shows - especially if it costs me money.

Every fall, I say that I am going to work hard all year so that I have an inventory when the Sept./Oct. rush hits. But did I? - no.

I like your excel idea - I have been trying to figure out how to get a handle on things.

Thanks for sharing this.

Patty said...

I am in a place where I want to start entering my work in exhibits, but I am at a loss as how to start and where to find these shows. Any suggestions? I enjoy your blog and seeing your work. It is wonderful!

Cathy Kleeman said...

Patty - unfortunately there is no one place to find exhibit information. You can start with the SAQA page under Events/Calls for Entry. Another site is the Fiber Art Calls for Entry blog
You can look in fiber related magazines, many shows will advertise there. And ask your friends if they know of shows. Once you start entering, you will become aware of lots more opportunities, enough to make you go broke entering!

Deb said...

Congrats on Currents in AZ (could I be the first to tell you?) and thank you for the heads-up on Visions. I might have drawn in breath over the entry fee but don't recall the year long commitment. It is on my list but now I have to really consider which pieces I want to commit.

Cathy Kleeman said...

Deb - yes, you were the first to let me know. I hadn't gotten to the acceptance email yet and since I was out of Internet touch couldn't check their web page. It is good news.