National Quilt Symposium 2017 Judging

This year one of my exciting assignments was to work with Philip Trusttum and Marianne Hargreaves in jurying and judging entries for the National Quilt Symposium 2017 in Christchurch.

Quilt Symposium 2017 SelectorsOur report can be found in the excellent exhibition catalogue published by Symposium that includes photos of all of the selected quilts. For the record, a copy of the speech I gave at the opening is set out below.

National Quilt Symposium 2017 Official Opening

Head Judge: Brenda Gael Smith

On behalf of the juror-judges, I would like to thank Symposium and the entrants for this exciting assignment. Philip, Marianne and I come from different backgrounds but we share the conviction that fabric and stitch can be a powerful, artful combination.

We were presented with 350 works and charged with the task of reducing the field to about half and then selecting prize winners across a range of categories.

How did we do this? Our process involved three steps. First we viewed images in the comfort of our own homes. Second we viewed the images together over two days in July. Good photography is SO important at this jurying stage. Then came the moment of truth as we viewed the finalists in the cloth in August and assigned prizes.

Throughout jurying and judging, we were concentrating on strong design, powerful content (this was especially relevant to themed categories), and mastery in technique.

We are not the quilt police but we asked ourselves key questions. Has the maker used their design and materials to best express what their work is about? does the chosen technique reflect the maker is in control of the medium? Is the quilt made with skill in a way that complements (instead of distracts from) the work?

I invite you to ask these questions as you review the Symposium exhibitions. You may, or may not agree, with our specific conclusions but I am certain you will find works with a deep, reverberating quality of reasonance. Congratulations to the prize winners and thank you to all entrants for sharing your creative constructions in fabric and stitch.

Check out the Symposium website for the:

Best in Show was awarded to Donna Ward for her luminous work Fly:

Fly by Donna Ward National Quilt Symposium 2017

Best in Show Symposium 2017: Fly by Donna Ward

My judge’s choice went to Helen Beaven for Knit One, Paint One:

Judge's Choice: Knit One, Paint One by Helen Beaven

Judge’s Choice: Knit One, Paint One by Helen Beaven

PS: Registrations are now open for Quilt Symposium 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.