What was that judge thinking?

Scoping out how a judge determines the top quilt at a show.

CQA workshop Judging QuiltsWhen we speak of inspiration, we don’t often think of attending lectures and professional development. It really it is so great for getting the creative juices flowing for a business. I decided I would do some direct professional development at the latest Canada Quilter’s Association Conference. I took a workshop called “What was that Judge Thinking?” with Joyce Brown and Judy Villett.  It’s the first of a series for the Quilt Judge Certification Programme.  The program trains judges and jurors in the profession of assessing and critiquing quilts and fibre art within the context of a competition. The instructors have been in the biz for over 30 years and brought with them a wealth of knowledge to impart on an eager group.

After listening, participating and networking, I’m not sure if I will go through the whole program, but it was certainly helpful and food for thought for the future. The whole process of entering, hosting, coordinating and judging a quilt show were covered in the day.

How Hard is it to Judge?

The hardest part of being a judge seems to be taking into account the design elements of a piece as well as the technical details. You really need a solid background in design and and clear understanding of colour theory. Without these basics in understanding design, it doesn’t seem possible to critique a work without bringing in your opinion. The next step is the technical side, pouring over a piece, looking for the workmanship and fine details to set a work apart.  Then you have to take both into account, does one outweigh the other in the submission? Of course you then have to look at them in context of the other top works.

Colour Theory  Judge Art Quilts

Colour Theory Samples by Judy Villett

It really opened my eyes to what a judge faces when 150 quilts show up and they are all the cream of the crop. How do you differentiate without bringing your opinion to the table? Looking at a design objectively without know the artist or their intentions.  Really studying it to determine what works, then hearing the artist’s statement.  Then they take the top contenders and zeroing in on a winner, it can’t be easy!

The Best part of Workshops

One of the best parts of the day was meeting some like-minded artists. Community is so important and building relationships in the industry makes all the difference to a successful business in my opinion. I look forward to meeting up with the ladies I met again at future workshops.

If you are interested in the program you can see more details here: judges-certification-program

You can see what workshops are coming up in the 2018 Conference for CQA which takes place in Vancouver here.