Jurying a Convergence® Exhibit
I am so honored that the 2018 Convergence® committee asked me to be the juror for the Truckee River Yardage Exhibit. The committee asks the jurors of the various exhibits to give talks, which is a wonderful way for the juror to explain how and why s/he chose the pieces that were chosen and for the participants to understand the method that the particular juror used.
Not surprisingly, I have been on both sides of the process, and whenever I think about it, I am always reminded of what one of my mentors early in my weaving career admonished, as she was trying to convince me to submit to a juried exhibit: “there will be times that you won’t be accepted, of course, “ she said, “it happens to everyone; you will first think that the juror is an idiot, later you will think you are an idiot, and finally you will come to your senses and try to see what you can learn from the experience, because that is the real reason to participate.” So true!
There are two kinds of exhibits; the first is open entry; most guild shows are open to its membership, or perhaps even to others; a juror then chooses pieces for the awards. I have juried this kind of exhibit and, while they may seem easy to judge, there are some underlining comparisons that make it really heard: how do you compare an exquisite garment with a wonderful tapestry? Then there is the comparison among participants: one piece may have been submitted by someone who is a long time artist, perhaps she sells her work, or maybe he teaches workshops on the technique used in the show piece; another entry may have been made by someone who has just started the journey and is a first time participant. Clearly we wouldn’t expect the same level of expertise between these two groups, yet they are in the same exhibit, vying for the same awards.
The other kind of exhibit is when only pieces that have been chosen by the juror are shown; the Truckee River Yardage Exhibit is one of those. In this case I will be comparing “apples to apples”; I will choose entries from swatches and then select pieces for awards on site. But I will likely receive many more entries that I am allowed to choose, because of space constraints. That’s when subtle differences in craftsmanship may matter, or when the complexity of the cloth may add to the aesthetics, for example.
A few years back I was at the instructor exhibit at Convergence® (which is by invitation) where one of my colleagues showed me her exquisite piece; baffled, she told me that it had won an award at a previous exhibit and yet had not been accepted for one of the juried exhibit at that Convergence®. Was the juror an idiot? It’s tempting to think that, but actually there may have been other circumstances that prevented her piece from being selected, the most common of which is that there is a theme that the juror is to follow, or the juror may look for pieces that fit well together for an overall scope.
Which brings me to the theme of this exhibit: the Truckee River. I have heard complaints from people that HGA announces the exhibit themes too late. But these themes are broad. Look at the images in this blog: they are all of the Truckee River, which I have obtained from the web. A river may make you think of rippling blue water, but these images show just about every color and texture that you may want to use for yardage. Just give it the appropriate name: inspired by a season (“Winter on the Truckee”), or the time of day (“Sunset at the Truckee”); research the topic and use as much imagination in naming the piece that you did in producing it. Here is a link to the exhibit information: http://www.weavespindye.org/convergence-2018-yardage-exhibit.
I hope to see you in Reno!