quilts and syncro swimming

by Orkaloca August 16 art * Judging

Watching at Olymics syncro swimming, listening the comments made by a former swimmer and now judge, I noticed how every art forms relies on the same basis. Thos art principles that, when well applied, whatever the medium is, make the difference between good art and a mess.
Here are some of her comments... I could easily use them when judging quilts and they shaw a little of what we look at when we judge.

"Judges should be able to understand the routine without reading the description"
"plenty of variety"
"fantastic transitions"
"use lot of water (space)"
"Could have benefitted by slightly more contrast"
"Good proportions through the water"
"lovely interpretation of the theme"
"show contrast in movement, variety in the program"
"just pohetic"
"marvellous internal attitude, take every skill to maximum"
"tonal attitude"

(Above: swimmers in bee suite, Below: New Beginning by Elfriede Grooten -detail- )


When a Judge wins a prize

by Orkaloca March 9 Judging

This morning, in my mail, I've found a message that sounded something like "At a recent quilt show one of the judges was also a competitor and was awarded a prize. Please can you tell me if this is regarded as acceptable practice"

The writer was worried about the fairness of the judging process and this is understandable if one doesn't know how a serious judging day is held. 
So here's the answer: 

It depends on the quilt show an how the jury is organized. I don’t know about the specific show but I can tell you about the FoQ in Birmingham, where this event can happens and has happened.

If the show is big, like FoQ, with lot of quilts in several categories, there are several judging teams walking the floor, every team judges a category. We know that judges are also quilters and that they usually wants to enter a quilt so we ask to the judges in which category they are entering a quilt. A judge is never assigned to the category where is its quilt.

Moreover, nobody between judges and people in the judge office, knows the authors of the quilts, we only receive numbers from the organizers.
A judge knows how important is the judge role and no serious judge will ever tell to other judges which is her quilt until the judging process is completed and the prizes given.

So, as you can see, it’s possible and fair that a judge enters a quilt in a show where she judges, because she doesn’t judge her quilt and nobody knows she has a quilt in the competition.

Things can become a little more complicated if the show is really small with just one judging team. In these cases usually the judges are not allowed to enter a quilt but sometimes, for some reason, it can happens. In this case the judge judges the other quilts but her own. To the team it will be told something like  “the judge has recognized the work from a friend and is not comfortable judging it” and she will be replaced by another person for that quilt. 

As you see it’s possible for a judge to enter a quilt. Judges take really seriously their job and they usually do everything they can to guarantee a fair process. 

Finally we have to consider that judges are almost always experienced quilters with a sound knowledge about how to design and build a quilt, so it’s not so strange they can win. 

If you want to know more about judges and their work, this year at the FoQ we will give lectures about “what do judges look for” to explain the judging process, If you’re curious about it you can participate :)


I'm a Judge

by Orkaloca December 3 Judging

Two years ago I found an interesting announcement, the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles was selecting experienced quilters interested in participating in their Quilt Judge Course, whose aim is to train and certificate Quilt Judges.
In Europe they are the only ones who offer this training opportunity , with a structured and long course. Two years.

I was interested so I sent my application just few hours before the deadline. My resume was evaluated and I was selected. The adventure began.

Two years have passed since then, during which I studied with all the pros and cons of taking a serious course with the formula of distance learning. Manage time, get the study material, or find exhibitions (not just quilting) to visit, and then work to the technical part making samples and testing, and finally there have been the practical tests of jurying and judging.
I've gone through 6 modules and for each module I presented a thesis, each one was longer than my university thesis.

But after so much work and effort here are the results. The course is finished and I got an excellent rating, so I earned my certification as Judge, and already the first engagements arrive.

It's a great satisfaction and one more step on the ladder of my growth :)

I'm happy , really really happy.


Trapunto Fiorentino or Boutis

by Orkaloca August 14 Judging * traditional

Successfully completed the second module of study of the "Quilt judging course", it's now time to start working for the third and fourth modules, for which I have to do an extremely extensive research about the techniques and materials used in quilting and patchwork, both traditional and artistic, and try each of them providing a sample.
So I have to do a BIG work, but that will allow me to really know what is involved in the use of each technique, merits and difficulties.
That way I'll be able to better judge the quilts that use those techniques.

Yesterday I decided to try a technique that I knew but I never approached: Trapunto Fiorentino (TF) also called Boutis.

The TF consists of two layers of fabric, usually white, and a light batting in the middle. Once the design is quilted more stuffing matherial is added to make some parts of the design pop-up from the sourrounding quilted motif.

The design is stuffed with poly or large wooled thread inserted trough an opening obtained by pushing aside the threads of the back fabric.

In my sample I've used white shantung silk for the front and cotton for the back. The batting is cotton and the stuffing matherial is wool.

And this is the finished sample :) it's 5x8inches and it gave me such satisfaction that I'd like to make more :)


Quilt Judging Course: study design

by Orkaloca August 1 being artist * Judging

My loyal readers already know it, since last October I started my quest to earn certification as an international quilt judge.
The course, organized by the Quilters' Guild of the British Islands, will end in 2013 and in these two years of study it requires me to complete 6 "modules". For each module I've to study a lor and submit an essay.
The work is intense, long and hard, perhaps more than expected, but very interesting. I'm learning so many things and gaining a greater awareness about the artwork.

The second module, that I finished just yesterday, requested to study the elements of art and principles of design.
One of my reference book is only about colour. 160pages.
Only for colour.

Another task was to visit an art exhibition, write a detailed presentation and criticism for 5 artworks.
If I hadn't to do this I would have lost a beautiful exhibition of contemporary art in Milan.

Now the deadline is past, essay is gone, I expect the evaluation, but this job gave me the desire to learn more about design and who knows maybe I'll open a new chapter in my blog ^_*

But for today I deserve relax :)


Happy Happiness

In England there is a quilt association with nearly 7000 members. It 's the Quilters' Guild of British Islands.

The Quilters' Guild has a beautiful structure, and promotes the quilting culture in various ways pushing the patchwork beyond the "2 hours hobby watching TV".
Its activities are exhibitions, regional newsletters, boursaries, specialist groups, then there is a course ... a two-year course to train certified quilt judges (the only course of this kind in Europe).

The course aims to train quilt judges that will not be intimidated by having to evaluate a others' work and are able to judge critically the quilt, according to a standardized system (the one of the festival of Birmingham) which provides an useful feedback to the author of a quilt.

In short all the stuff that I (and may be every quilter) would like to see in a jurying process.

Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." Well I took this phrase litterally and at the end of april I sent the application form.

There is a selection of course attendees so I had to fill out a questionnaire about who I am, what I do, how I do it etc... a kind of curriculum, and then I had to wait.
I waited and waited because there was the royal wedding so in England there were extraordinary holidays and not all course tutors were available for review my application.

But today I received THE mail. My hands shook while I opened it

The mail said ....
I am pleased to let you know That the Judging Committee and the Course Tutors Have Looked at your application and now That We Are Able to offer you a place on the Quilt Judging Course 2011-2013.

You can guess how happy I am!

Now I will attnnd an introductory weekend in England, then 2 years of study during which I will be followed by a tutor and I will study in deep six modules. For each of these I will have to write a paper that will be evaluated.

At the end if I'll have met all requirements I'll be a judge :)

And tonight .... ICE CREAM! :9