Why NACQJ Quilt Judges Are Not “The Quilt Police”
by Beverly Fine, NQACJ
It is true that both professional quilt judges and the quilt police might at times strike a little fear in your heart and for that reason some people think they are one and the same. Allow me to make some important distinctions.
The Quilt Police believe that there is only One Right Way to do things. The Quilt Police believe that a quilt with machine quilting, or fusible raw edge appliqué, or paint should automatically be disqualified as a “proper” quilt.
NACQJ Quilt judges, on the other hand, dedicate themselves to learning many different techniques. This allows them to empathize and understand the difficulty inherent in any particular technique.
The Quilt Police believe that there are rules which must be followed. They quickly point out not the achievements of the artist and the work, but point out the less than perfect aspects. The Quilt Police speak their minds but may not be basing their comments on objective criteria in a professional way. The Quilt Police seem to enjoy whispering negative hearsay.
NACQJ Quilt judges are cheerleaders, urging competitors to work toward their own personal best. As Nick Serota is quoted in Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton, “judges themselves are invisible, but they know that their decisions will be keenly felt.”
NACQJ Quilt Judges are often invited to speak to large groups to help the public understand the process that a judge goes through to become certified, to evaluate quilts, and to find the ribbon winners in a competition. Certified Quilt Judges are delighted to share their experience with show sponsors to help set up categories and organize a judging room. Aides often remark that working in the judging room has been an invaluable learning experience.
There really can be no confusing The Quilt Police with NACQJ Certified Quilt Judges. One will have you afraid to enter a show, the other will leave you encouraged, empowered, and happy to be a part of the evolving quilting community.