So along comes 1987, after doing eight to ten shows a year, and as many as eighteen one year, and I get talked into going to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen to get juried so I can do their annual 9 day show at Mount Sunapee State Park.
The first trip down to Concord to be juried was quite nerve wracking.
I show up with a 'body of work' that represents my 'full line of work and my quality'. I spent what seemed like weeks preparing the pieces, being careful to bring only the best work. So I bring a painted wood plaque with nicely quilled flowers, a loon with my original technique of cut out over the quilling, some notecards, and a framed wedding invitation. I set up my work on a table and then was asked to leave while they examined it and discussed the quality and design of my work. The work that I had worked so hard on, the work that I had put my whole heart in. I waited a few minutes. It seemed like an eternity, waiting for a decision that might actually affect my whole life...or so it seemed at the time!
The results were devastating to me.
I had worked my heart out and failed. The plaque shouldn't be painted, the notecards shouldn't have words on them (they are too specific, like happy birthday), the floral had the wrong color flowers (?!), and the loon should not be made out of circles, they should look like feathers. When I asked questions, they told me my work was too decorative, they wanted functional. And the color of my quilling paper was wrong, I should dye my own paper and cut it into strips. Okay...understanding that they had never seen quilling before so the jury was essentially jurying something they knew nothing about at the time.
So I went home with my quilling under my arm and swore I would never go back. The friend who insisted that I be juried in the first place said you need to go back. Do things like they want and go back. After some pushing and pulling between her and I, I made a loon with feather shaped quilling and a couple of notecards without sayings, and a few other pieces that I can't recall completely right now.
I again set my work up on the table and was instructed to leave the room. While they debated. And picked it all over again. More time...more thoughts running wild.
This time I received conditional approval!
That meant that as long as my work was the same quality and the same technique, I was in...and they were pleased to see that the loon now had feathers. I have to admit that it did look better with feathers than with circles on its back! They liked my technique and my execution after all. Phew!
I was so happy to be able to participate in their annual 9 day Craftmans Fair. I couldn't wait for the August show, but I had lots of work to make, especially when you have no idea how much you need to make. And I had to build a booth. Build a booth? That was a thought process all its own. Another story for another time...
And that, my friends, is my jury story.
Don't get me wrong, I love being a part of the League of New Hampshire Craftsman, and I am very glad to be participating in my 34th year this summer. I can't wait.
Coming next time:
the story of my first year
at the Craftman's Fair,
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Sandra J White
Quilling, the art of paper filigree, is my passion, since 1973.