Friday, October 5, 2012

Dear Quilters,

Have you ever submitted any of your quilting or handwork, knowing there is a good chance someone, for whatever reason, might say, "Thanks. But no thanks"? Maybe to a magazine, or a juried show, maybe even the county fair where the judges will critique your work.

It's hard to put yourself out on a limb. At least it is for me, so I don't do it very often. But over the years, I have entered my quilts in various places, and sent pictures of quilts to various publications, with varied success.

The first quilt (and my first original design) I submitted was for a magazine design contest (circa 2004), called "Trip Around the Backyard."
I loved the picket fence blocks around the outside and the cloud fabric. It was rejected. I tore up the rejection letter. Now I wish I had kept it. It ended up in this nursery and is still one of my favorite baby quilts.
Besides our local fair, where any quilt submitted will be displayed, I have entered the juried show at Pacific International Quilt Festival, in Santa Clara, CA. The first time was in 2004, when this quilt was accepted:
(I have loved the Amish look for a long time....)
Aaron and Christa were living in Portland at the time, and Mark flew them in for the weekend as a surprise.That was icing on the cake.
The next year I entered again. Side note: back then you filled out a paper application and submitted two or three slides (slides!). That is less than ten years ago and I bet a lot of younger readers don't even know what slides are!
I don't think either of this quilts would pass the jurying process in 2012.The things the jury panel seem to be looking for currently are lots of bling and teensy quilting and metallic thread.

C&T Publishing put out a call for Amish or Amish-inspired quilts to be included in a book they are publishing. They are celebrating their 30 years in publishing and also the first book they published, which was a book about Amish quilts by Roberta Horton. This book is in my library and I'm really looking forward to the new one.
 So I decided to submit "My Granny is Amish."
Here is the letter I was hoping for:

Dear Cindy:
We are so excited to tell you that your quilt will be included in our new book. We were absolutely stunned by your use of color, your precision piecing and the beautiful quilting which exquisitely set off each and every block. In addition, we are happy to inform you that your quilt has been chosen to be on the cover.

A girl can dream, right?

Here is the actual letter I received:

Dear Quilters,
I'm sorry to inform you that your quilt (or quilts) was not selected for our Amish book. 
We had an amazing group of quilts submitted. The selection committee had a tough time making the choices. Criteria included selecting the right mix for the book, not just beauty or craftsmanship, and many fabulous quilts had to be set aside. 
Thank you so much for taking the time to enter. 

C&T Publishing

So...a mass rejection letter. And the email addresses of all the "losers" were included!

Of course I'm disappointed. Still, I'm glad I entered. The way I look at it, the worst that can happen is someone will say "no." On the other hand, you might get a "yes."

Besides, I really enjoy spending time with my Granny, so I'm glad she isn't taking an extended trip any time soon.

How about you? Have you submitted anything you have created, to a magazine, to a show? I would love to hear about it!

Have a fun and creative weekend.


05 08
Jennie {Clover and Violet} said... #

I have submitted things that have been rejected too! Most memorable was my layer cake hexagon quilt. Sadly, I received the rejection email the same day Lynn of Lily's Quilts published an almost identical quilt on the Mora Bake Shop. I have always felt like that was the worst timing ever! I really need to gather enough courage to submit again, since that was two years ago!

Amy Friend said... #

Oh, I am so sorry! It's a beautiful quilt. I was so hoping that it would be accepted. And, I know what slides are...I used to file them while working in a slide library in college ;)

Christals Creations said... #

Slides. . . back in the old days. We had a 'Disney cine camera' with slides as children.
I have never put anything in for anything. My Mum has had some lace exhibited and my Dad had a book published when I was a child. It was about Agriculture and aimed at school age when there were still middle schools!

Katie B said... #

I'm so sorry, Cindy! You know that this is an incredible quilt. I work in publishing, so I can understand that there are many factors that go into these types of decisions. I hope this doesn't get you down, because you are insanely talented! And the mass e-mail to the quilters who were not accepted--that's pretty darn unprofessional.

doodlebugmom said... #

I remember when I was about 12. I crocheted an orange pillow for the county fair. The judge said the work was wonderful, but the color was awful so it got a 4th place. I was so mad. (must still be as 35 years later I am posting this story on the internet! LOL) Anyway, you never know how people will react. Taste and opinions are subjective. I think your work is beautiful and "book worthy." Now, if I were only a publisher...have a great weekend, despite your disappointing email.

artsycraftsyivy said... #

Cindy, I read the acceptance letter and was so happy for you! LOL, then I read the real letter that followed and my heart sank for you! See, I went through it with you! I am so sorry. Your granny quilt is so modern Amish (is that an oxymoron?); it deserves to be in the book.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said... #

Well Cindy, if I had anything to say about it, you would get a personal letter, a request to let my company to be so honored to photograph and use you quilt and guarantee you it would be a cover girl!
It is fabulous in every way and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise!!

Cindy said... #

I am so sorry....if it means anything, this is one of my top 3 fav granny quilts!

The Luedtke Family said... #

I entered an afghan into the MN state fair, when I was still legally a resident of MN. Mom volunteered to help set up the displays in the creative arts building. I went to see her one evening, we went looking for my afghan and we realized that most to all afghans were hung wrong side out. I didn't get a ribbon.

I may enter some items next summer/fall into the Sandwich Fair.

I love your quilt. It looks fabulous all the way from here, so I know that it is that much more gorgeous in person! Your work is amazing!!!

Rene' said... #

No, I have never entered/submitted anything... I admire you for doing so. Your work is so creative, and you inspire me and many others so keep doing what you are doing. I absolutely love your Amish Granny and think it is cover worthy!

Cindy Sharp said... #

I have never submitted anything to print, not exactly. I spent months with a very talented friend and scholar writing a book. It was very exciting. I didn't even get a rejection letter. It fell into the void that is an edditors office.

Love your granny.

Lucy | Charm About You said... #

well that is just poo! I do admire your attitude though and fully expect you to submit lots more of your great quilts!

felicity said... #

Aw, Cindy, that stinks. I've not submitted anything except an inquiry to Moda Bake Shop but they'd recently had something similar so they said no.

Unknown said... #

I love your granny quilt! It stink to not be accepted, but I think the worst part is that they didn't even bcc the email addresses!!
I have entered a few online challenges, none of which I have won, but not much other than that! I do think it's discouraging, but don't quit! Your quilts are lovely!!

Susan said... #

You are an inspiration Cindy in your attitude and ability! Your Granny Amish was totally book-worthy!! And keep trying, someone will send you an acceptance letter one day...then there will publishers lining up for you! John Grisham's first novel was rejected 25 times! I have never submitted anything..never even had a quilt in a show!

Salley said... #

Waaha You had me gasping for breath as i read your first "letter".
Oh well, all we fans of yours love your Amish Granny.
To include the other quilters info was totally rude to all.

Carla said... #

Poor you. That would have been so lovely for you ; ) perhaps another time. I recently submitted a quilt for a scrappy magazine, but haven't heard back. I am not expecting to either. Blessings on you!

Pieced Brain Quilt Designs said... #

Keep submitting your projects! You never know when the letter of your dreams will arrive, along with a request for further submissions!

Tessa @ TheSewingChick said... #

Thanks so much for sharing that Cindy. It takes a brave woman to submit her art for "judgement" and an even braver one to maintain a sense of humor when {rejected}. I think your quilt is beautiful and befitting of a book about Amish quilts. Keep trying - you never know when the next letter will say, we are pleased to inform you... !!

Mama Pea said... #

Cindy, bummer. Well, they don't know what they are missing. It's their loss. Your work is so spectacular. I have never even worked up the nerve to submit anything. You've already overcome that. You should be really proud of that! You are right. The worst they can say is no. That's what I thought when I put in an application to work with Amanda!

Terriaw said... #

Good for you for submitting your project! It's so hard to put yourself out there like that, risking the possibility of getting that rejection letter. I still think your quilt is fabulous, so keep your chin up... and keep trying!

Sara said... #

Thank you for sharing this with your loyal fans Cindy! I needed to hear how the cookie could possibly crumble so we have to be ready for the worst. It could also be a thrilling ride and they could say yes! One of these days in the future I am going to try it;)

Amish quilts are quite inspiring and yours is no exception!

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

I hope C&T are suitably embarrassed and fearing a breach of confidentiality lawsuit (American sue for a laugh all the time right!?). Their loss xxx

. said... #

I have been quilting since my oldest daughter, now 29 was a baby. Yes, that was back in the dark ages of slides and a paper application. I have had good luck and not so good over the years, from winning a first place at AQS in Paducah in 1986, and published in a few books, to LOTS of rejections (and kept a lot of those letters). I agree that you have to put your work out there to ever get a yes, and it is soooo rewarding when you do! It is ALWAYS though the subjective opinion of some judge so you can't ever take a rejection personally. Your Amish quilt is wonderful (ps I also have a copy of the original Roberta Horton Amish book)just continue quilting and making what you are really excited about not what judges seem to want.

Katy Cameron said... #

What is it they say about the taking part that counts? Well I'm sure you'll be the perfect fit for some book sometime soon, just not that one. Mass rejection e-mail for everyone to see though? Nice!

I've never submitted a quilt for anything, but I have entered a couple of teddy bear competitions. The first one I had to post the bear off and the woman didn't communicate a thing, was obnoxious when I asked for the bear back 2 WEEKS after the comp (with no communication on winners), and almost put me off ever entering, however I sucked it up and entered the British Bear Artists Awards the following year, where I made the finals. I didn't win, but it did kind of counteract the first negative experience. I doubt I'll be entering any sewing for close examination any time soon though ;o)

Lee said... #

Oh, bummer that you didn't get accepted, Cindy. But it's hard to know, with a book like that, what exactly they were looking for, and I have a feeling your quilt might have been just too modern for them! Which I personally think you should take as a compliment. LOL.

Keep submitting - have you tried Martingale? They seem to be doing a lot of compilation books lately, and some of them are more modern. I can put you in touch with an editor there if you're interested. She likes having a list of people she can call in for these things.

VickiT said... #

That's a shame yours wasn't chosen this time. It's hard to face rejection in life of any type but, something like this just feels a little harder or would to me too.

As far as a mass rejection email? That's just wrong in my opinion. At the very least, it should/could have been a personal rejection email OR at least one sent with all email addresses as BCC so everyone else didn't know who the others that were rejected were also. To me that shows a huge lack of professionalism. I would think something like that could have been more confidential than that mass email listing everyone's email address for all to see.

Kim P. said... #

I think Tessa Marie is correct. It takes a lot of nerves to submit for judgement....I only sew for pure enjoyment. I guess I'm a bit afraid a submission on my part might take the joy of sewing away. But please do it again! Just because I'm a big scardy cat doesn't mean you are! Great quilts.

Carla said... #

You will always be a winner in my eyes, Cindy! If you decide to tear up the letter and throw it away, and maybe even hide the quilt to rid yourself of all reminders, then I'll be happy to hold onto it for you!;0

CitricSugar said... #

I have not submitted any sewing works to magazines though I did enter some poetry in a writing contest. It did not win. :0) I find the magazines lately show really boring stuff so take it as a compliment that they didn't choose yours.

I have just finished catching up on all the posts I missed while on my accidental blogging sabbatical. (Lol) You have been a very busy woman! I am beyond staggered at your Kona quilt. It's incredible. The patience and organization that it must have required...! It's so beautiful. I absolutely love it. Just love it. Your Granny is pretty impressive, too. You'll have to tell me how you finally figured out stopping and starting with perle cotton as I haven't tried quilting with it yet. I did button thread on a denim quilt once but that was YEARS ago and I can't remember what I did there...

I have missed all the randomness and name game, and in general, The Cindy factor. I shall never been away from your blog this long again! Much love!

FlourishingPalms said... #

Don't feel bad, Cindy. Join my club! There are way more of us non-winners than winners. Though my quilt was juried into the Des Moines AQS show this past weekend, it didn't win anything. I think your "My Granny is Amish" quilt is stunning. I hope you'll enter and show it in as many shows and competitions as possible. You do beautiful work.

Jennifer said... #

I liked the first response much better than the "real" one. I love your quilt and think it would have been a stunning cover! I'm sad and disappointed for you... :(


sewtakeahike said... #

Dear Cindy,
Your quilt is amazing and I LOVE the name!! I love your use of color and your quilting is wonderful!!
Sincerely, Penny
p.s. take THAT C&T! lol!

modernamishplain said... #

Bummer! I loved your Granny is Amish quilt. They are missing out. It is good to try, you never know, you might get a yes one day! Happy quilting

Kris from Duke Says Sew What said... #

I actually thought you got the cover! Shoot! I agree with others here, their loss cause your quilt is amazing!

Little Miss Shabby said... #

Aww Man!--That stinks Cindy. I think it's a great design! Congrats on your FQS sponsorship!--that is a great one!!

OPQuilt said... #

Dear Cindy,
We goofed. We really want your Granny Quilt for our next book coming soon to a quilt shop near you. We're actually writing to ask forgiveness for messing up with that mass email. The person responsible has been sacked. Please forgive us and give us another chance.

Quilt Book Editor who once spurned you but has learned her lesson.
(And nice lead from Lee!)


Archie The Wonder Dog said... #

They plainly don't know what they're missing!! I've entered a quilt show twice (two different quilts in consecutive years) - the show was judged but it was open entries so I knew that although I wouldn't win anything neither would I be tossed out on my ear...
P.S. Maybe your quilt wasn't chosen because it would outclass all the others...

KellyS said... #

I love your Granny Square quilt, very Amish IMO. I can't believe that they sent an email like that and didn't hide the addresses, that seems pretty distasteful! I have yet to enter anything, unless you count my chocolate cake that I entered into a fair when I was little. Oh yes and my orchids. Wow Best in Class for a combined orchid display (but we were the only entry in the class- still they didn't have to give us anything) and multiple ribbons for my orchids (all of which have gone on to orchid heaven after my kids were born). OK enough rambling! Sorry to hear about your quilt! They don't know what they are missing!