Judging Philosophy, Education and Experience
My judging philosophy is
that a qualified judge should be familiar with all types and styles of quilting, as well as keeping updated on new techniques,
products, etc. The judge’s purpose is to encourage and assist the quilter by giving positive comments
and constructive criticism, not to demean the work he/she has done.
I think it
is necessary that I try every new technique that comes along so that I will recognize it when I see it, know how difficult
it is, and am familiar with the skill level required, as well as what is a good example of a particular technique and how
it could be improved. To this end, I subscribe to a dozen or so quilt magazines, am involved on the Internet
with quilt lists to keep me up to date, and have an extensive library on past and present quilting skills.
am also a quilt historian, and have many historical quilt books in my collection. To further interest in
quilting, and to encourage quilters to make quilts with meaning, I
present the Giltner-Moore Memorial Award for the Most Meaningful Quilt to quilts who have been made with a special heartfelt
interest. It has been presented for 15 years in California and Oregon, and three times (so far) in
I hold memberships in the National Quilting Association, American Quilter’s
Society, Museum of the American Quilter’s Society, American Quilt Study Group, California Heritage Quilt Project, Quilts
of Valor Foundation, Quilts of Honor America, and
QHL (Quilt History List) Internet Quilt History Group.
JUDGING EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE
I have taken the two-day
intensive course on quilt judging sponsored by the National Quilting Association, held at the NQA Conventions in 1996 and
1998, taught by Klaudeen Hansen and Anita Shackelford.
recently took the course at the National Quilting Association show in Columbus, OH, June 16-20, 2010,
in addition to a design course and longarm quilting classes. Quilting techniques, skills, and products
change frequently, and it is important for a Judge and Appraiser to keep current on developments in the industry.
I have taken the Quilt Appraisal courses in Paducah, KY, in 1998, as
well as many other courses related to quilt history such as quilt renovation and restoration, quilt repair and fabric dating,
at various guilds and conventions across the U. S. Scribing and Aiding Experience
Merced County Fair, Merced, CA
-- Scribed for Helen Powell -- 85 quilts and wearable art items
Pacific International Quilt Show, Santa Clara, CA – Scribed for Helen Powell, Heather Tewell and Penny Nii – 175 quilts, Innovative
The National Quilting Association
shows, now in Columbus, Ohio. Scribed, aided, handled quilts, sorted quilts, supervised professional photography
for the Quilting Quarterly magazine (for which I was a Board member and Publications Chair, responsible for producing
the NQA magazine) and completed various other duties during the three-day annual show in these years. Approximately
375-425 quilts and wearable art items each year. Judging Experience
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Sacramento County Fair, Sacramento, CA. Sole quilt judge.
22 adult quilts, 30 junior quilts, 10 Junior wearable items. (Numbers of items varied somewhat each
year – this is an average)
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Nevada County Fair, Grass Valley, CA Judged with Marjorie DeQuincy.
75 quilts and 15 wearable art items. (Numbers of items varied somewhat each year – this is an average.)
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Member of River City Quilters’ Guild, Sacramento, CA. 400+ members.
150 quilts and 15 wearable art items. Scribed, aided, co-chaired judging committee. Chairman of
Judging Committee. Quilt Show Chair in 2003. Also served as Chair of many committees,
and was Guild President in 2000.
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Foothill Quilters’ Guild, Auburn, CA. Judged with Charlene Cordova.
50 quilts, 15 wearable art items. Numbers of items varied somewhat each year – this is an average.)
Monterey County Fair, Monterey,
CA. Sole judge. 78 quilts and 15 wearable art items.
Siskiyou County Fair, Yreka, CA. Sole
judge. 125 quilts and 20 wearable art items. (Open judging with 20 quilters present)
Fair, Pleasanton, CA. Judged with Jan Formanek, NQA CJ. 80 adult quilts, wallhangings
2nd Annual All-Russia National Quilt Show, Ivanovo, Russia.
Traveled and judged with Susie Krage. 300 quilts, 35 wearable art items, 25 other quilted items.
(Toured parts of Russia, lived with Russian quilters, visited schools, quilt guilds, art institutes, lacquer box factories,
etc., in the Golden Ring Towns of Russia.)
Marin Quilt and Needle Arts Show, San Rafael, CA Sole judge for 65
Best of the Valley, Tulare Agricultural Center, Tulare, CA. Judged
and appraised with Anne Copeland. 225 quilts, 10 wearable art items, 25 art quilts.
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,
Fair, Sacramento, CA. Counties’ Best of Show Judge. Quilts and Junior Needlework
and Quilts. Appointed Chief Quilt Judge by the Creative Arts Supervisor, Willie Garrett. Continued to serve
in this capacity until I moved to Oregon in 2005. Returned in 2006 to judge with Andi Parejda, NQA CJ.
Received the Western
Fairs Association Blue Ribbon Award “In Recognition and Appreciation of Dedicated Support to the California State Fair”
in 2005. Responsible for care and maintenance of the CA State Fair quilt collection (volunteer position).
Updated judging guidelines for all categories State-wide.
Redding Sew-ciety Quilt Guild, Redding, CA. Open
judging, plus two days of appraisals. 150 quilts and 15 wearable art items (average).
Autumn in the Alps quilt show, Weaverville, CA.
50 quilts, 30 other quilted items. Two days of appraisals.
Mountain Stars Quilt Guild, Medford, OR.
Two days of appraisals and show judging. 165 quilts and wearable items.
Four or five other quilt shows
at various places in Oregon – judged and appraised, presented programs.
Moved to Oklahoma in October of 2008, and became a member
of the Muskogee Area Quilt Guild and the KT Quilters in Checotah,OK.
Pryor, OK. Judged the Pryor quilt show and
did two days of appraisals and Bed Turning programs. 150 quilts and other quilted items.
Checotah, OK. Attended the KT
Depot show (not judged), and provided appraisals for two days, as well as presenting three Bed Turning programs during this
Albia, Iowa. Judged and attended the show, gave appraisals during two days.
Claremore, OK -- Judged Quilt Show
of a Professional Quilt Show Judge
“I’ll Never Have MY Quilt Judged Because……… As a quilt show judge, I hear comments from
quilters like this frequently. You can fill in the blank with your own reason: “I don’t want
to compete.” “I don’t want anyone to tell ME what I’m doing wrong.”
“I had a quilt judged once, and the comments from the judge were so hurtful that I’m never going to put
myself through that again.” “Who is SHE/HE to tell me how to quilt?” In answer
to these comments: A quilt judge who is properly trained and professional can give you insight into
ways you could increase the beauty of your quilt….not that it isn’t beautiful now, because it is! … but
with a little tip here or technique there, you would become a better quilter and be happier with your work. Judges
are trained in what to look for when judging a quilt and how to state negatives in positive ways. There
are many quilters out there in “quiltdom” who are doing gorgeous work but do not receive the accolades they deserve
simply because they have not submitted a quilt for judging. You’ve
heard the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”? Many times we quilters are
so close to our work that we cannot tell what’s wrong with the quilt, but we know it isn’t quite as good as it
could be: why it doesn’t lie flat, why we have those puckers in the center, how to start and stop
when machine quilting so we don’t have thread lumps, why the design and colors that we chose sound as if they would
be perfect, and yet the quilt lacks something. A good quilt judge is able to analyze the quilt from workmanship
and design standpoints and offer constructive ideas to help you improve your work. I hope you are considering having your quilt judged. Judging should
be a positive experience, not a negative attack. Any judge worth her salt will be able to "state a
negative in a positive way." There are many ways to word comments which will be helpful rather than hurtful to the quiltmaker.
So what does a
judge look for? Design, technique, workmanship, skill level shown by the quilter, creativity, overall effect
-- to give a general overview. Judges also look at the consistency of the stitches in a hand-stitched
item; the joining of the sections in a pieced item (do the points meet?); the puckers (or hopefully the lack thereof) in either
the top or the back; neatness of machine stitching, especially in stops and starts.
If you are entering a quilt in a show, the very first thing you must do before dropping
your quilt off at the show is make certain the quilt is clean. It should be free of pet hairs or any other item foreign to
the quilt. Also, it should be free of odors, i.e., tobacco smoke or a musty smell. Also, be certain you have entered your
quilt in the appropriate category as defined by the show sponsors.
In planning your quilt in the beginning, whether it will be an original design or from
a pattern, study the overall effect: use of color, use of negative space, use of texture-type fabrics. Ask
yourself, do my selections in these areas give me a quilt which is gently pleasing or a knockout; a wild design or a lovely
traditional overall feel. Whichever effect this quilt has, is it the effect you wanted?
Judges must put aside their own personal preferences while they are judging a show.
The fact that they love two-color quilts or scrap quilts, for example, should not enter into their judging decisions
in any way. Every judge, just as every quilter, has her own particular preferences in quilts -- but
that should never be stated nor considered in judging.
In making the quilt, extra care should be taken to see that all the points
match the way they are designed to match. In machine piecing, be careful with your measurements and putting
the pieces together. Do the stops and starts of your machine stitching detract?
your quilt is appliqued, are the stitches invisible (or nearly so) and are the edges turned under properly? When you are attaching your
binding, are your corners neatly turned, and are your hand stitches neatly done? Does the machine stitching
on the other side of the quilt show through? Does the batting fill the binding? It should.
are just some of the things a judge looks for when deciding which quilt is the prize winner. Usually the
final decision is not based only on one little thing, but rather on the overall effect of the quilt. Judges are not there
to remake the quilt, but simply to give encouragement and lead the quilter to resources or techniques which might make for
a more pleasing quilt in the future.
The comments above are mainly directed toward traditional quiltmaking. Wearable art and art
quilts have different criteria in some cases -- the design elements are of prime importance in art quilts, while workmanship
does not necessarily need to be as exacting. Creating an art quilt, however, should not be used as an excuse
for shoddy workmanship.
There are different types of judging, also,
and I have been discussing the elimination method, which is commonly used in the U.S. There is also the
point system, which is typically used with junior items at the county fair level. But that is a whole other
topic -- for some other time. Do consider having your quilt judged; you might learn something and your
quilt just may be a winner!
Copyright 2000 Marilyn Maddalena
Marilyn began judging in the 1970s, starting as a parade and marching band
judge, and went on to judge essays, scholarship applications, crafts, needlework, creative writing, musical
performances and musical theater.
She was on the Board of Directors for
SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Theater Association) for four years, and served as a musical theater judge during that
time. She is a Paul Harris Fellow, through Rotary International, for her work in establishing, organizing and directing
a girls' leadership camp in California.
She retired from her "day job"
in the early 1990s and has concentrated on training for appraising and judging since that time. She began judging
quilt shows in the mid 1990s and has now judged over 1500 county fairs, guild shows and regional quilt shows,
as well as serving as the Judging Committee Chair for her guild (River City Quilters' Guild in Sacramento, CA) for
four years, acting as Head Judge for the California State Fair for several years and has judged many shows throughout
California, Oregon and now Oklahoma.
was in charge of caring for the quilts in the collection of the California State Fair, and curated three antique quilt
shows for the CA State Fair.
She quilted on and docented the California
Sesquicentennial Quilt, which is now on display at the Women's Museum in Sacramento, and was a member of the Board
of Directors of the California Heritage Quilt Project.
She is the recipient of the Blue Ribbon Award presented by the Western Fairs Association, "in recognition and appreciation
of dedicated support to the California State Fair." Only one of these awards is given each year throughout
the jurisdiction of the Western Fair Association.
|This is NOT an award-winning quilt
|It's my first big quilt -- full of flaws -- but I love it still!
|Reverse of my first quilt
|It's not much better than the other side!