Friday, March 1, 2013

Feeling rejected

I've been on the receiving end of quite a few rejections these past few months.  By rejections, I mean rejections from juried fiber art shows into which I've entered my fiber art creations.  In a juried show, an entrant's work must make it past one or more jurors in order to hang in the show.  I know that entering juried shows is a crapshoot.

But I think they're shooting me more than my share of crap lately. 

This calendar year alone, for example, my art has been rejected from:
 1.  The national Fiber Directions exhibition in Wichita, Kansas:

The juror for that show rejected these pieces:
Jack O'Lantern Mushrooms
Serious Sushi
Dog in Eel Grass, which is made with hair from my dogs
2. The Visual Symphony, a musically-inspired art exhibition at the Lazarus Gallery of United Hebrew of New Rochelle:
The juror for that show rejected this piece, Thus Spake Zarathustra, which just last summer was juried into Art Quilts Lowell 2012, a venue of the Lowell Quilt Festival:

3.  The 102nd annual exhibition of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts   
The Connecticut Academy chose my work in 2010 and 2011, but not in 2012 and now 2013.  The juror for that show rejected these pieces:

Two Ways of Looking at Seaside Goldenrod, a piece that won second prize in the West Hartford Art League's 2012 Juried Show
Deconstruction, a look at the destruction wrought by squirrels on the cones of a Norway spruce in my yard
and most lately and most hurtfully:

4.  Local Color, an exhibition sponsored by the Connecticut affiliate of SAQA, the Studio Art Quilt Association, of which I am a member.  This rejection is particularly galling because I'm currently working with a small group of folks to bring this traveling show to the Legislative Office Building, an impressive space in Hartford.

The Local Color jurors for that exhibition rejected these pieces:

The Charter Oak, based on the painting by Frederic Edwin Church.  This one even has an image of the Connecticut State Seal on the back, including the state motto, Qui Transtulit Sustinet.  Does this not qualify as local color?
Seeking a Path, an image of a trail at Connecticut's Penwood State Park.  Is not an image from a state park an example of local color?  To qualify this one as a quilt, in case a juror had a doubt, I added a great deal of free-motion quilting to the back.  Of course, the jurors couldn't see that.  But you can:

Fall Picnic II, an image of the picnic ground at Penwood State Park in the fall.  This one uses woven squares I made at age 13 and never assembled into an afghan.  You can see them, green and brown, behind the felted image of the picnic area. It cracks me up that I still like the same colors at age 63 that I did at age 13. To qualify this one as a quilt, I painted quilt batting and applied it beneath the quilted piece but on top of the woven afghan squares.  No doubt the judges couldn't tell it was quilt batting.  If they could, would it have made a difference?
It's true, ladies and gentlemen, all this rejection.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I also, during these first few months of 2013, I had not one but two solo shows, had work received into one juried show, and sold a significant piece of art.  

Still, rejection hurts, and I'm sulking.

I'm also regrouping and considering what, if anything, to do next.

At least I can say that I finished my first sock today:


  1. Wow. I don't know why they turned down any of those! I particularly love the first five, and then the Connecticut ones are so spot on... I even love your sock. Are you considering making a second one?

    And having read about your triumphs, I would say you heard more (or more important) "yes" than "no" messages.

    But this is an indication of how much you are doing, how much creating and putting out your art into the universe. When you are brave enough to do so, some percentage will always meet with -- well, rejection is such a harsh word. How about meet with people and places that cannot appreciate (yet) these particular gifts.

    But if you HADN'T offered your work... you would have been 100% absent from any of these shows. So keep creating and keep entering. You are sharing your particular joy with the universe. And no one else can do that.

    1. Patrice, you and I are on the same page about sharing joy with the universe. Thanks for your thoughts and friendship.

  2. I've been rejected so many times I simply stopped submiting work for a long time. But in your case you've had so many more succcesses than rejections and the amount of work you produce surpasses anyone I know. As your friend mentioned there will always be a percentage that is not accepted and you tuck that hurt away... so look forward and let the voices in your head help you create more art... you know perhaps the emotion you're feeling right now could be a new series realted to the upcoming "Color Wheel of Emotions" show?!

    1. Hi Carol--
      Thanks for your kind thoughts. Yes, I am going to keep going, because it's What I Do. I am thinking of putting something in to the Color Wheel of Emotions, but not sure it will be fun to dwell on the pain I'm feeling right now...too depressing. I have something else in mind. But I'm thinking about it. Thanks again.

  3. I'm really sorry that you've taken some hits lately. Especially from the SAQA show! I thought your entries were unique and beautiful.
    I think any of us who've put our work out there have been rejected, and it stings when you enter something knowing your piece is perfect for the theme (been there).
    In every juried show I've seen, there are always certain pieces, accepted or rejected, that surprise me. I can't help thinking that I'd choose different ones. I imagine the show I'd put together myself.
    All you can do is put rejections in the "That's one person's opinion" file, take a breath and regroup. Then keep doing what you do best. I like Carol's idea for the next show...

    1. Thanks, Kate! It still hurts, but I'm heading toward your suggestion: putting the rejections in the "that's one person's opinion" file and then keeping on keeping on. Creating fiber art is what I do, and I'm not gonna stop. Thanks again!

  4. Hey Girl,
    From one artist to another, it's tough when you are on a roll, and then get some rejections. Don't let it get you down (easy to say) just keep on working it. Jurying a show is so subjective - you win with one juror and lose with another and who knows why? But, from my experience, just lick your wounds, finish the other sock and keep making more art!
    Lots of love,

    1. Thanks, Chris! I'm gonna keep on keeping on. And finishing the other sock!