A friend of mine saw the magazine $100,000 Quilting Challenge and picked up a copy for me. I finally got a chance to look through it this weekend. Have you seen it?
The concept as promoted by the magazine publisher is to "bring the excitement of reality TV to the quilting and publishing worlds." The idea, I guess, is that people enter their quilts into one of 10 quilting categories, judges choose a finalist in each category per round, and at the end of the year, judges and the public (subscribers, maybe?) choose one grand prize-winning quilt.
The idea is clever, actually. Sort of like "American Idol" but without the bad singing! And this first issue of the magazine is pretty good, with substantive articles by well-known quilters like Ellen Anne Eddy, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins.
But here's what surprised and sort of disappointed me: some of finalist quilts revealed in this issue are ones I've seen before, and are from professional quilters and teachers. Somehow, I'd thought that this would be about seeing new, undiscovered talent, and wasn't going to be just a new method of judging the same quilts from the same usual people. I guess the comparison to reality tv is what created that expectation, because when I skimmed the rules, I realized that there isn't any prohibition from professional entering quilts that have been in other juried shows. And really, since anyone can enter I guess new quilts from new talent could show up along the way.
I was pleased to see that Frieda Anderson is one of the finalists for her "Shimmering Foliage," which is my favorite of the finalists. The finalist quilts are impressive ones in their categories. .
I'd like to see a quilt competition like American Idol -- better yet, like Project Runway! Take a bunch of quilters -- mixed traditional, contemporary, users of various techniques. Put them in a big studio (in Paducah!) and give them short periods of time to make quilts. Imagine the challenges!
* Take them to the Salvation Army, give them $20 and an hour to shop, and see what they come up with in 48 hours.
* Give them all the same assortment of solid color fabrics.
* Have a challenge where they can't use a sewing machine for ANYthing.
What challenges would you propose? The possibilities are fun to think about. Yep, I'd watch THAT!