It was just an oftthought idea up until a few months ago when I entered my local quilt show, in which the choice of categories was Traditional or Non-Traditional. I actually entered four quilts (those scattered through this post), two of which I nominated for the Non-Traditional category (more because of how I'd quilted them than the design), but the convener chose (with my agreement) to change the category of all four to Traditional, because they were all block based quilts set in a traditional way. Now I personally don't consider myself a traditional quilter - yes I do use traditional blocks in a traditional setting most of the time. But I don't consider my fabric choices, or quilting style to be traditional at all. I understood why they were placed in the Traditional category (because they didn't fit the criteria of Non-Traditional) but I don't believe they are really traditional quilts.
I've been struggling with whether or not to write about this on my blog, but it is kind of catalytic in why we are forming a local MQG. So I'm putting on my big girl pants and talking about it. First up, I do want to be honest - I didn't enter the show expecting to win prizes. None of the quilts I entered where made to be 'show' quilts, and had various flaws - the main one being that I never tie off my quilting threads, I just do a few stitches on the same spot and snip my threads (terrible, I know ;o) ). I entered to support our local quilt show and to see my quilts hanging in a real show (which was very exciting, especially when you hear people talking about your quilts. Not that I stalked them, promise :o) ). I didn't win any prizes, and this is the part I've been struggling with whether or not to share - I was quietly told that one of my quilts was considered prize worthy, but that because I'd left some sections un-quilted, it wasn't able to win a prize. Obviously I'm a bit disappointed about this, but also thrilled that my skills are good enough to almost win a prize. And it isn't going to make me change how I quilt my quilts - I more often than not leave areas of my quilts un-quilted as a deliberate design element. Unfortunately that is all the feedback I got - they don't give out the judges comment sheets for our local show, which is disappointing as that was another reason I wanted to enter. I'd like to hear feedback on where I can improve my quilts from a judges point of view.
Probably the best thing that came out of my quilts hanging in the show was that it has kindled a lot of interest in forming a local modern quilt guild, and possibly having a modern category in our quilt show next year. I met recently with a group of wonderful local quilters to discuss starting the Tasmanian MQG, and things have started moving really quickly. Thankfully we have had the most amazing support and interest, from both the Tasmanian Quilt Guild and from local quilters. I am beyond excited that my little dream of a local MQG has actually become reality :oD
If you do live in Tasmania, we are holding our first meeting next Wednesday (3rd September). We have a Facebook page if you'd like to keep up to date with events, meetings, workshops and sewing days - and all the details of the first meeting are available there. I'm starting to put together a blog as well, so I'll share all the information about that soon :o)