Judging and Jurying FAQ

QuiltCon’s overall objective is to promote the MQG’s mission to support and encourage the growth of modern quilting through art, education, and community. This is done with the quilt show (which provides opportunities for our members to showcase their work), the workshops and lectures, and holding a large-scale event that brings our community together to one place, at one time.

We feel that members should be allowed to determine, on their own, how many quilts they would like to submit into the show. We hope that members will submit their best work, but the most prolific amongst us might have many quilts they would like to enter and would also like to increase their odds of having a quilt accepted into the show. We have left this determination to the makers.

Note that this preference is only relevant to the QuiltCon show. It is very common for large quilt shows such as QuiltCon to have a preference for original work in their shows. The reason for this is twofold — one, it helps keep the show interesting from year to year. People keep coming back to see the new quilts on display. The second reason is that showing original work supports the MQG’s mission to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. Showing original work helps us with the portion of our mission related to development of modern quilting, and it promotes continuous growth.

Yes. The entry form has a section where entrants indicate if the design is from a pattern, original, or from an inspiration source. It can be entered in a judged category.

Absolutely not! Work does not need to be original to be modern — these are two separate things. The QuiltCon preference for original work is specifically related to the quilt show. In fact, the MQG releases block of the month and quilt of the month patterns to our membership because we know that many quilters love to follow patterns. There are lots of great modern patterns out there to follow, as well as lots of modern art to serve as inspiration!

We trust that our members want to be honest and fair to each other because it is the right thing to do. It is unfortunate for all involved when we show a quilt and describe it as an “original design” when in fact it is heavily influenced by another quilt or piece of art. Quilters should be aware that because something is not marked as an original design on an entry form, it does not mean it will be excluded from the show or not be eligible for prizes. Rather it will allow the jurors and judges to review the original inspiration piece to determine how innovative the submitted quilt is. There may be cases where the maker thinks they directly copied another piece of art while the judges think that the interpretation is actually very creative and innovative.  

No. Although QuiltCon generally has a preference for original work, we also want to have a diverse and interesting show representing our whole membership. Therefore, we do not restrict the show to only selecting quilts that are at the extreme high end of the originality spectrum. However, note that a quilt may be disqualified if it is found that someone misrepresented their quilt on the entry form, which includes not providing adequate credit for the design inspiration. It is important to be thorough in describing design inspiration.

QuiltCon and the MQG cannot provide legal advice and cannot tell you whether or not a particular quilt you have submitted may infringe on a copyright. However, the three simplest ways to protect yourself are:

  1. Reach out to the artist/quilter in question and request permission to display the quilt or enter it for competition. Once you’ve obtained permission, make sure you give proper credit on the quilt entry form (the original artist/quilter may provide specific language in the permission approval that he/she requires for giving proper credit).

  2. Hire a qualified attorney to give you advice.

  3. Decide not to enter the quilt into quilt shows. As much as we want to encourage all our members to submit quilts that they are proud of, sometimes, the best thing to do is to not enter a certain quilt, if you are feeling doubtful about its copyright status.

“Please note: QuiltCon retains the rights to change the category your quilt was submitted only if it fits the guidelines for Small Quilts, Group or Bee, Youth, or Challenge categories.”

A: There are a few categories that have specific guidelines, and if a quilt is entered into one of those categories, but doesn’t meet the guidelines, it will be moved out of that category. For example, if a quilt is entered into the Piecing category, but its perimeter is less than 119” it will be moved to the Small Quilts category.

“QuiltCon reserves the right to reject any quilt misrepresented in the photos during the entry process.”

A: If the quilt differs significantly from the time the picture was taken until the quilt is sent in (large stains, tears or other serious issues not present in the photo), QuiltCon may disqualify the quilt. This language is included on the entry form so that entrants will be more likely to submit realistic photos and take good care of their quilt between taking the photos and mailing it to the quilt show.

“QuiltCon reserves the right to reject or disqualify any quilt that misrepresented design credit.  If this misrepresentation is discovered after the show and the quilt was awarded, the winner forfeits all ribbons and cash prizes.”

A: If the quilt was misrepresented it cannot hang or win prizes. The quilt might not have been juried or judged the same way had it been properly represented.

“The entrant represents and warrants to the Modern Quilt Guild and QuiltCon that the entrant’s entry does not infringe upon, violate or misappropriate any copyright or other intellectual property or proprietary right of a third party.”

A: This means the entrant has either submitted an original design, or if using the design of someone else, has permission to do so.

The jury is the group of people who select which quilts will hang at QuiltCon.

The jury is made up of 4-5 members. Each year the MQG staff determine the makeup of the jury. It is made up of MQG staff, board members, and at least one MQG member that is not on the staff or board.

An online software program called Open Water is used. This system is structured around a scoring system in which jurors give each entry a numerical score from 1 – 5.

The MQG follows common practice in the art/quilt world not to share the names of jurors.

There were over 1600 submissions for QuiltCon 2020. Feedback would be ideal but with the number of submissions it is not possible for the jury to do. Just the time to score takes many days, so it would not be feasible for jury members to take the time to write down feedback for each quilt.  Please refer to the jurying policy document to read about how the jury process works. Quilts are not “rejected” from the show; rather, only the highest scored quilts based on averages among all jurors are selected to hang in the show. As such, there often is no specific reason that a particular quilt was not selected, it simply did not score as well, on average, as the other quilts that were.

Objectivity and impartiality are required of jurors. If a juror feels that he/she cannot remain objective or impartial, he/she must stand down for jurying of that quilt and will not submit a score.

Jurying is a “blind” system meaning that the jurors are given only the quilt title, category, and if the quilt is an original design, made from a pattern or other source of inspiration. Additionally, the jury can read the artist’s statement.

There are 3 judges.

Usually, the QuiltCon judges are: an NACQJ (or equivalent) certified judge, a modern quilter, and a person with a demonstrated sense of design with a preference for someone outside the quilting world.

Judges are selected and hired by the MQG staff.

The names of the judges are announced the month before the call for entries opens by featuring their photos and biographies on the MQG website.

Quilts are organized by category. Entrants select the category they believe will best showcase their quilts. Category descriptions are found on the QuiltCon entry website. Each category is judged separately.

The judges first see the quilts when judging begins. They do not receive any information about the quilts prior to judging.

The judges are given the quilt title, category, and information from the quilt entry regarding the originality of the work and any inspirations.

Judges consider overall aesthetic value, originality and design of the quilt along with the quality of workmanship, as it can affect the overall visual impact of the quilt. Challenge quilts are judged with these criteria and how effectively the quilt design depicts the challenge requirements. Judging sheets listing attributes to consider for each category are provided in the judging policy document.

The judges may ask to be read the artist’s statement about the quilt. They may also ask to be read the category description and whether or not the quilt has been quilted by the entrant.