Part 4: Surviving a Quilt Contest

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The fan fair is over and the music has played out. Alone with the words of the quilt contest judge, you sit down, take the piece of paper, and read.

Words of criticism can be hard to take and especially hard to find useful value in. But this could be the most enriching part of the contest experience, taking your craft to the next level. 

Think about the following ideas and discover ways to make this the most rewarding part of the quilt contest experience.

 

  • Seek criticism to grow as artists. Fear keeps us in the comfort of people who agree with us. Looking for a different opinion means we want to be a little uncomfortable, outgrow where we are. Invite criticism and see your world from a new perspective. 

 

  • Remove emotional triggers. When taking criticism, protect your ego. Our egos respond to emotional triggers and make us feel defensive. If your mind isn’t in the right place at the moment, wait until the prospect of learning about things you can do different and better is exciting to you. If the tone of the words is rubbing you the wrong way, ask a friend to help you hear the words in a supportive tone. 

 

  • Acknowledge the value. Look for the specific comments that are the most valuable to you and rewrite the ideas in your own words. Turn the criticisms into inspirations. Embroider them on pillows or paint them on the walls – be inspired.

 

  • Claim the useful. Turn a critical eye on critical comments. Ask, “is this useful?” Can you use this knowledge or idea to improve? Take the parts that are useful and use them, take the parts that are confusing and save them until you have learned more or ask a fellow artist to explain. Leave the words that are not useful on the page.

 

  • Reword and make it your own. Most importantly, let the words of change become your own. Once you feel you understand the comments and see what needs improvement, mentor yourself by rewriting the critique as though you are the judge and give yourself direction.

 

Most importantly, do more than survive the contest process, be sure you thrive!

 

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