A sad but unsurprising lesson has been learned.
I will not ever again be submitting a quilt to Mackay Show. We went yesterday morning in the hope of enjoyment and interest. Instead, I came away with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Let me set the scene. There’s a large permanent display pavilion where all the craft displays are set out. This includes needlecrafts, children’s artwork, quilts and baking. Normally, all sit together happily. However, this year, the baking and artwork and needlecrafts all seemed to have their usual allocation of space but the quilts were cramped. It didn’t strike me that there were fewer quilts than usual (although I’m willing to concede the point), but they were certainly differently displayed.
Quite a few of them were squashed into too-small gaps, folded in half or overlaid by others, whilst other quilts were shown at full size and in prime positions – and not just the prize winners. Quilts with errors of construction (points being cut off or seams not aligned, bulging and puckering, for example), were fully displayed, where others without those errors were not. (Floribunda, I’m looking at you…).
Justifications were offered by the display stewards, Covid-spacing being the main one; aisles between display walls now had to be wider, and apparently, “some of the ladies who didn’t win prizes took their quilts home to make space” – I heard this exact phrase from two different stewards.
It surprises me that people whose quilts were going to be improperly displayed were not contacted and offered the opportunity to withdraw and be refunded.
It surprises me that quilts with evident errors and poor construction were given full display space while those which were well made were folded and bunched up.
I’m not sad about not winning a ribbon. I don’t think the judging was wrong – the winners were beautiful quilts. What I’m sad about is that in the way the entries were displayed, excellence was not given priority.
Yes, I’m cynical. But that doesn’t mean I’m not also right.