Today marks exactly one month until the premiere of the Living Colour! exhibition at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne (10-13 April 2014). There are already 16 images in the Living Colour Preview Gallery and throughout March I will be posting Glimpse of Living Colour detail shots every other day. You are welcome to follow along on the Living Colour Facebook page .
In September 2014, Carrefour Européen du Patchwork/European Patchwork Meeting celebrates its 20th anniversary in Alsace, France. Australia is guest country of honour from outside Europe and I am curating a special invitational exhibit of 30-45 “exceptional quilts from the great Southern land” ranging from traditional quilts to contemporary textile art.
In addition, my work features in the Twelve by Twelve Colourplay exhibition and I am teaching two workshops:
Registration for classes is open now. There is also a call for entries for the European Patchwork Meeting International Contest – Imagine. Entries close on 26 June 2014.
I look forward to meeting some of my European readers and sharing some great Australian quilts. Let me know if you are going to be at Carrefour Européen du Patchwork/European Patchwork Meeting.
I love autumn! The bounty of harvest, the extra weight of bed covers at night, the softer light and the picnic weather. Today the Laundry King, already a keen bread and pizza maker, took a bread-making class at a local restaurant Bells at Killcare. He returned home with these yummy samples and a generous portion of sourdough starter. Yum!
I was the exhibition secretary for the Quilters’ Guild of NSW for three years. The not-so-fun part of this assignment was the gruelling hours/days/weeks! of data entry, transcribing and processing hundreds of handwritten entry forms, each with 30+ fields of unique information. At the time, I thought there has got to be a better system and I assure you there is! I urge every 21st century exhibition administrator to offer an online entry form for efficiency and accuracy to benefit entrants and organisers alike. Here are some resources to get you started.
Ten Benefits of Online Entry Forms
Benefits of a thoughtfully executed online entry system include:
- The data entry task is transferred to the entrant, let’s call her Zenevieva, who knows how to spell her name and address better than anyone else. Any typos are the entrant’s!
- Zenevieva doesn’t have to try to squash her handwritten reply in the printed forms and there is no need to decipher her poor handwriting, crossings out and arrows. (Alternatively Zenevieva doesn’t have to try and copy a PDF form into a format that she can easily type into.)
- The administrator can specify key fields as “required” thereby eliminating the hassles caused by incomplete entry forms.
- The administrator gets a notification as soon as Zenevieva’s entry comes in and all data is collected in a central location reducing double or triple handling.
- Data can be exported to other applications such as e-mail programs.
- There is a clear cut-off time and Zenevieva and other entrants can submit entries right up to deadline.
- Electronic payment can be integrated into the form.
- Zenevieva does not have to make slides, burn CDs, print out images etc or purchase the consumables required to create such images.
- Zenevieva does not have to stand in line at the Post Office or worry about date-stamping and delivery times.
- Zenevieva receives prompt confirmation that her entry has been received, together with a full copy of her submission, and can get back to creating.
A few years ago, exhibition administrators had to engage a programmer to custom-code online entry forms. Now there are other economical, reliable off-the-shelf options available. For example, for a simple online form, I often use a combination of free WordPress Plugins – Contact Form 7 and Contact Form DB such as in the online entry form for the World Quilt Competition 2014 (Australian Entries ) closing on 19 May:
Paid service Adobe Forms Central offers forms and templates that can be customised and embedded on any website and is also suitable for more complex, multi-page, conditional forms. Many other form builder applications and plugins are available across a range of platforms.
Whatever system you choose, make sure that collected data can be exported into a spreadsheet for further sorting and analysis. This is such a time-saver! After I had made my selection of textile works for the Living Colour! exhibition, it was a straightforward matter to copy key details from the entry database into an e-mail program (eg Mailchimp) to send out timely, personalised notifications to entrants.
Common objections to online entry forms are usually based on mild to raging technophobia. I understand there are pockets of the population that are not confident with computers. My message is it’s not that hard and you and Zenevieva can learn.
From an administrator’s perspective:
- both Contact Form 7 and Contact Form DB offer basic documentation, FAQ pages and peer support via WordPress forums; and
- Adobe Forms Central offers comprehensive tutorials, FAQs, a support forum and, for paid subscribers only, one-on-one support.
If this is still beyond your own technical expertise, it is not too difficult to find a service provider to convert your hard copy form into an online form for a modest fee. (Contact me!)
For Zenevieva and other entrants, I encourage you to take the following steps:
- Carefully review the entry requirements and guidelines.
- Gather all the information and images required for the exhibition and store in one place;
- Check that your images comply with formatting and size requirements. If your images are over-size, this will often choke the online system and your entry will not get through. (I will be sharing a tutorial on resizing images soon.)
- Complete the online entry form systematically.
- Allow yourself enough time so that any technical glitches can be addressed before the entry deadline.
- Follow up with the exhibition administrator if you do not receive confirmation that your entry was submitted successfully.
A well-designed online entry form will encourage greater participation. For your next exhibition, make it as easy as possible for artists to submit entries and be kind to your administrators by collecting the data in a way that is able to be analysed and processed efficiently. In my view, going online is the way to go!
If you are new to quiltmaking, there is a special “novice” category for first time entrants who started quilting after 1 January 2010.
If you have ever wanted to share your quilts internationally, this is a great opportunity. Australian quilters are invited to enter the World Quilt Competition and have their work tour in the United States to quilt shows run by Mancuso Show Management. Accepted entries will premiere at the World Quilt Show – New England XII (14-17 August 2014). Entries can be submitted online, by e-mail or by post. The closing date for entries is 19 May 2014.
Innovative & traditional entries compete for over US$10,000 in cash, prizes & awards including Best of World, Best Use of Colour, Best Traditional, Best Innovative, Best of Country & Viewer’s Choice.
Many countries are represented including Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom & the United States. (A country must have ten entries to qualify for the Best of Country award.)
How to enter
- Download, complete and return the World Quilt Competition Entry Form (PDF) by e-mail or post; OR
- Submit the World Quilt Competition 2014 Online Entry Form (in conjunction with the Contest Rules)
If you have any queries regarding Australian entries for the World Quilt Competition, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Thank you to outgoing coordinator Sue Dennis for her comprehensive handover package.
Queenslanders, mark your calendars! Living Colour will be on display at the Brisbane Craft & Quilt Fair: 8-12 October 2014. In case, you don’t subscribe to Serendipity Studio Newsletter, here’s a preview of three complete works from the exhibition. The balance will be revealed at the exhibition premiere at the Australasian Quilt Convention (10-13 April). In the meantime, every other day, I will be posting a detail shot on the Living Colour blog at A Glimpse of Living Colour. The detail shots can also be viewed in the Preview Gallery that will be updated weekly.