I am starting to see blog posts from those who entered Quilt National this year and didn’t get in. Why do we get so hung up on these rejections? Why do we especially feel bad when QN says no? (What amazing PR they have been able to foster that a person’s whole mood can be impacted by their saying yes or no.) I know how it feels, I have been there. It stings. And don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled for all of those who have had the chance to add QN to their resume–lots of people I know and admire, lots of outstanding work. Kudos to you all.
But a little perspective.
The last time around I entered Quilt National with two pieces I thought were pretty strong (and still stand behind them as pieces about which I am very proud) and I was rejected. I wrote about it on this blog, if you care enough to see what I said back them you can search the archives for it. But for all of you who feel badly that you didn’t get in, here is what I have accomplished since that rejection two years ago;
- published my fourth (yes, unbelievable, my fourth) book
- been included in three compilation books on art quilting–one as a featured artist
- been invited to participate in a major exhibition that is now traveling around the world
- done a huge commission work that also came with a trip to Vienna, Austria
- have gotten my first solo museum exhibition (next year, more to follow)
- had my work in almost a dozen group museum exhibitions around the world
- contributed several articles for quilt magazines, and have been interviewed by two others
- appeared on the Quilt Show
- appointed Chair of the SAQA exhibitions committee and member of the Board of Directors.
Not bad for a rejected artist, right?
I don’t list all this to brag, but to point out that getting into (or more to the point, NOT getting into) Quilt National does not define you as an artist. I have enjoyed more success in this field than I could ever have dreamed, and I am grateful for every wonderful thing that has come my way. That QN was on my list of things to shoot for and I didn’t get it, I can live with that. I tried twice and to be entirely honest, at this point I have set my sights in the art world and getting into QN (even though it is the pinnacle for many people in the art quilt world) isn’t relevant for me anymore. Every year I set a professional goal for myself, some I achieve, some I don’t. Some I continue to pursue, others become less important. As we grow and our work changes, so do our goals.
For all of you who got into QN, congratulations! Well done, and I truly am excited for you, it is a big accomplishment. For those of you who did not get it–shake it off, don’t indulge in self pity or self doubt–just get back to work and remember this is about the journey, it is about pleasing yourself. And if it becomes just another source of stress in your life, why do it.
Put down the cupcake/chocolate bar/potato chips and remember everything you have accomplished in the two years since the last QN. Take a few minutes to set some professional goals for the coming year and how to go about achieving them. Then ask yourself “why do I love doing this?” and when you remember, go do it again.