Many quilters are familiar with the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual quilt show, QuiltCon. Because of the large volume of entries into the judged show quilt acceptance into QuiltCon is very competitive (one of our favorite hashtags is #QuiltConReject because of the quilts that, for whatever reason, don’t make it into the show, but are nonetheless amazing). Because of this, we wanted to share some other great quilt shows where you may consider submitting your quilts.
One of the benefits of modern quilters broadening the range of shows they submit quilts to is the impact that can be had on the quilt community at large. Quilters are often inspired by what they see other quilters making. When quilters see more modern quilts represented in the shows they attend, not only are they motivated to try their hand at modern quilting, but modern quilting gains respect among all quilters. It also helps small businesses, like ours, that operate within the modern quilt industry.
When submitting a quilt to any show it’s important to remember that a lot about the jurying and judging process is subjective. At the end of the day, the quilts chosen are those that satisfy the preferences of those jurying or judging the quilts. Just because your quilt is not accepted into a particular show doesn’t mean you haven’t made a tremendous quilt. Sometimes it takes perseverance before you see the fruits of your labor. There are many resources online, some from particular shows, some from judges that are regularly judging quilts, that can help you learn simple things that will strengthen your entry and enhance your chances of being accepted into a show. If one of your goals is to have a quilt hung in a show we recommend taking the time to learn what makes for a strong entry.
AQS Quilt Week
The American Quilt Society (AQS) organization usually has four quilt shows each year in different parts of the country. Many modern quilters have found success in submitting to AQS shows. In 2022, AQS will be hosting shows in Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, and Michigan.
Paducah Quilt Week is certainly AQSs most popular event. Paducah is a little town in Kentucky that is referred to by many as ‘Quilt City USA’. Paducah is home to the National Quilt Museum which houses over 600 quilts.
Houston Quilt Festival
In the past, the Festival of Quilts was organized by the International Quilt Association (IQA). The show was cancelled last year during the height of the pandemic. Financial troubles arising from the cancellation led to the organization’s dissolution in 2020. Fortunately, a new organization is picking up the mantle and the show is happening again this year. It’s yet to be seen how the structure change may affect the show, but we are excited that it has returned. Pre-pandemic, it regularly attracted over 50,000 people from over 35 countries to it.
Road to California
Around 1000 quilts are usually on display at this quilt show in Ontario, California with up to 40,000 attendees. The Road to California quilt show boasts a hefty amount of prize money, including a category for modern quilts.
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show
SOQS, held in Oregon, is the largest outdoor quilt show in the world with a display of more than 1300 quilts. If you are interested in selling a quilt, this may be a good show for you as many of the quilts in this show are for sale.
Local Quilt Shows
Look for a local show near you. A quick Google search will reveal a plethora of quilt shows around the country. You may be surprised to find a show happening near you. There may not be a large offering of prize money available at smaller, local shows, if any purse is offered to winners at all. But the money is beside the point, isn’t it? It’s the experience of preparing a quilt to hang in a show that will be valuable and will help you refine your craft. It could be a way for you to gain some confidence about sharing your quilts with the public on a smaller, less intimidating platform. It can also be a great resource for connecting with other quilters who live near you. If you’re especially gregarious, you may contact those running the show and organize an exhibit of modern quilts from your local guild.
Last but not least, though we aren’t a quilt show, we encourage you to submit a quilt to be featured in Curated Quilts. Visit our submissions page for more information on our submission process.