Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Are we asking the right questions?

This post is in direct reference to the conversation started by the Modern Quilt Guild’s controversial post about Derivative works here, and the many blog posts and comments that have followed.

I’ve had many conversations with fellow MQG members and friends over the last several days regarding not only the derivatives post, but all things MQG. I have seen many, many great questions raised, such as... Who decides if a quilt submitted is a derivative? When can you make the call if a quilt is a derivative? Is it even possible to make a quilt in which no other quilt or quilter ever in the history of man can be cited as an influence?

And in a conversation last night with a few mates, more questions were raised such as: Is our membership’s work really being represented as much as it could be at QuiltCon? If the juried show looks only at which quilts best represent modern quilting instead of how many members are getting a chance to participate, is that fair? Who’s interpretation of modern quilting is used to curate the quilts at QuiltCon?

And then this morning it hit me that these are all questions pointing to an even more important, larger question:

What is the purpose of The Modern Quilt Guild?


No, I’m not talking about the mission, this question goes deeper than that.

Here is one possible purpose:

The Modern Quilt Guild is an organization developed by members who wish to define modern quilting, its unique styles, variations, and esthetics in order to educate others as to what constitutes modern quilting as a whole. This organization realizes its purpose through:
  •  Offering members an exclusive way to learn about modern quilting styles, esthetics, and related techniques through an online community and locally authorized guilds.
  • Offering members educational information to learn about modern quilting and quilting related subjects (history, construction methods, techniques, styles, trends, etc.) through national MQG channels (blog posts, webinars, free quilt patterns and block tutorials, etc.)
  • Offering a selection of lectures, workshops and classes that aligns with the current definitions, styles and esthetics of modern quilting at the organization’s yearly event, QuiltCon.
  • Delineating the most current view of modern quilting by selecting only the best member’s work that most closely fits the current definition of modern quilting for exhibit in the organization’s yearly show, QuiltCon.
  •  Informing members at all levels (local, national and global) what the most current definition, styles and esthetics are associated directly with modern quilting.
  • The mission statement for the organization with this purpose could look exactly like our current MQG Mission Statement.


And here's a second possible purpose:

The Modern Quilt Guild is an organization developed by members who are passionate about modern quilting in order to connect, share, converse, learn, and support each other communally. This organization realizes its purpose through:
  • Supporting members desire to connect, share, and learn from each other by offering an open member’s only online community forum, and supports local guilds where members can meet-up in person.
  • Supporting members desire to learn by offering a variety of information about modern quilting and quilting related subjects (history, construction methods, techniques, styles, trends, etc.) through national MQG channels (blog posts, webinars, free quilt patterns and block tutorials, etc.)
  • Supporting members desire to showcase our current work by organizing a yearly member exhibit through QuiltCon which reflects as many different members as possible and as many different styles under the modern quilting umbrella as possible, with the overall goal of exhibiting quality work.
  •  Supporting members desire to learn more about modern quilting, quilt techniques and trends at each QuiltCon event by offering lectures, classes, workshops and demonstrations that are a mix of what members have requested as well as on-trend subjects that members may not yet be aware of.
  •  Reflecting the majority of the membership through change and growth by re-assessing the organization’s mission, purpose and goals. Requesting member feedback when making short and long term goals for the organization.
  • Reflecting membership views at the national and global level as to what the most current definition, styles or esthetics are associated with modern quilting.
  • The mission statement for the organization with this purpose could look exactly like our current MQG Mission Statement.

Yes, you’re probably thinking of things I didn’t even list, or maybe you have different ideas, or perhaps you think I’m totally full of shit right now! All great feedback, and please let me know in the comments what you are thinking in regards to what the MQG's bigger purpose is.

Personally, I like the second option above, and feel that giving the most people a voice can only strengthen a group. Funny, in my mind I thought that’s the way we were all headed as a group. Obviously, there’s lots of room for improvement if the MQG is going to reach that point.

There are some people who have realized they no longer (or never did) feel a sense of belonging in the MQG have left the group publicly. Others have not said as much, but are thinking about leaving. Obviously, if you’re part of something that is not giving you joy, purpose, or you no longer feel an affiliation with, it’s definitely time to think about moving on.

At any rate, now is the time to stand up and speak out about what you think. In recent communications with the MQG, I’ve learned that in all the social media conversations, comments, and confusion going on, there hasn’t been very much official feedback emailed directly to the MQG. And it may sound counter intuitive that all this online stuff may not be considered official feedback, but I’m telling you that this is how it is.

So, this post is me standing up and speaking out to you directly. Please, if you feel strongly enough in The Modern Quilt Guild to want to see this conversation through, start really talking to your fellow mates and friends about what exactly you don’t like, and what kind of changes you want to see in the organization. Even if you've already decided to leave, speak out about your thoughts on the organization. Give your feedback directly to the organization, and include as many concrete examples of what makes you unhappy or new ideas that would make things better that you can. Don’t just send your feedback as an email to one person; send your message to your Guild President and local Board, send it to your National Regional Rep, and send it to the National Board.

I plan to start this conversation with our guild as a whole, and I am anxious to see what comes out of the conversation. I am planning to collect my thoughts and send feedback myself, but I am also exploring the option of getting together with others from my guild to send feedback as a group, or possible as the official guild.

I'd like to hope that if you feel strongly enough to post your thoughts and ideas publicly, you'll also send it directly to the organization and let your thoughts be heard officially.

46 comments:

Frank said...

I have not had much luck emailing the MQG directly. I asked them two specific questions last year, in regards to judging and was told, basically, that it is none of my business.
If anyone thinks emailing them directly is a solution, I can tell you, from firsthand experience, it is not. The only way to get an answer (even an unsatisfying one) is to ask them publicly, and even then, you're not likely to get a straight one.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

That sucks Frank. And exactly to my point of what this organization is for. If it's for the members, you know, they might answer your actual questions like it matters.

But to my point, if the Regional Reps and the Board start getting multiple emails regarding specific points, it will be very hard to ignore them all.

And, if they are all ignored, then it will be painfully clear to members like myself who matters most in the organization.

Natalie Santini said...

Same as Frank. No response for me either when I emailed. I figured they never got it, but now I have to wonder if I was ignored because ...... Hmmm. Great post- thank you for taking the time.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hey Natalie, that also sucks! There's nothing better than silence to let you know how much someone cares. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Andres P. Rosales said...

*POOF* A regional rep appears (also a national board member)! Please email me! andres@themodernquiltguild.com Yes, comments on social media should count just as much as email, email (at least for me) is easier to track.

cheers!
Andres

Frank said...

You remember the question I asked them, Andres, because I told you the response I got and then you said when it slowed down a little, you could see what you could find out. I don't think they answered the question for you either, because I never from anyone again, except to volunteer for Quiltcon, and I did (but I cancelled my slots today for obvious reasons).
It's really sad how connected I feel to my local guild, and how completely ignored I feel by the mothership. And this is my livelihood, which makes it an even bigger slap in the face. If I could join my local guild and avoid the national membership, I definitely would. I don't feel they're in touch with the members at all.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Andres! Thanks for popping in and commenting!

Allison/Savage Pink said...

Hey Erika! Thanks for a great post. It's something that I have been kicking around in my head for the last few days as well: what does my ideal guild look like? I think you have articulated a lot of good points, and I will be mixing them into the idea soup and simmering gently.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thanks so much Allison - I'd love to know what your ideal guild would look like! I absolutely love my local MQG guild, but we're a pretty open group with a wide variety of quilters (not all of whom may fit the national organization's definition to a "T"), and I've really enjoyed how positive and supportive everyone is.

Melanie said...

Here is something else that I've been wondering, as a local chapter we pay for everything ourselves- rental of space, web hosting, guest speakers, advertising etc. should there be some sort of co-op to help offset those costs since we are effectively advertising their brand?

Melanie said...

Btw possibly not directly related but just wondering if that fits into the purpose of the national guild as well. 😉

Ruthann Grace said...

I especially resonate with the statement in your second definition of 'Supporting members desire to showcase our current work by organizing a yearly member exhibit through QuiltCon which reflects as many different members as possible and as many different styles under the modern quilting umbrella as possible, with the overall goal of exhibiting quality work.' When I was at Quilt on 2015 I was amazed at how many quilters had many, many quilts in the show. At the time I thought maybe the guild really wanted to showcase the primary leaders of Modern Quilting. Since it was only the second Quiltcon, that made sense to me. They were making a statement. When they announced annual Quiltcon events I thought, 'maybe there will be a wider variety of quilters who can have their work accepted for the show'. While I think that happened somewhat, from the photos I saw on-line and comments I heard from others, it still seemed like there were many quilters that had multiple quilts juried into the show. Of course the best work should be shown but how do you keep a world wide guild motivated when many have multiple quilts juried into the show which then eliminates others (there is a finite amount of showing space). Again, good post!

Ruthann Grace said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather said...

You can also email me! Heather Grant, Director of Marketing & Programming, heather@themodernquiltguild.com
FYI...I will be on vacation next week, so it may take me longer to respond to emails, but I will!

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hey Melanie, those are also good things to discuss with your mates! Thanks for your comments! - Erika

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Ruthanne Grace, yes, exactly my thoughts! I had a great conversation with some friends last night on the subject of QuiltCon and how more members could be allowed to exhibit work. Thanks for your comment! - Erika

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thanks Heather!

Frank said...

And Heather is the one who wouldn't answer my question in the first place. Is there a third option, maybe?

Heather said...

Hi Frank, I searched through my email and can't find it. Perhaps it went to my spam? I'm also not sure exactly the email in question, as I'm searching under "Frank" and about a million emails show up. If you email me your email, I'll research it for sure!

Heather said...

Hi Frank,

I found it! I'm very sorry you felt it was none of your business. You asked for feedback on your juried quilts and unfortunately, we don't provide feedback on juried quilts. I'm very sorry if you felt I was dismissing you, I truly was not. We don't provide feedback on juried quilts and I'm very sorry.

From a time perspective it's nearly impossible within our timelines to provide comments individually for each quilt juried. The majority of our jurors are volunteers. It takes a long time to look at all the quilts. I did the math once, and if the jurors had to write comments it would likely take 6-8 weeks to jury the quilts, perhaps longer. The jury review 1800+ quilts in about 2 weeks. It's about 40-50 hours per juror to do so.

Again, I am very sorry you felt I was dismissing you. I know that can feel really awful. Membership feedback is very important to me and I would not be doing my job if I dismissed it.

Frank said...

Heather,

I asked you questions about judging, and you directed me to unrelated webinars that I had already seen (so I wouldn't waste your time in the first place, because asking stupid questions isn't something I do), and when I explained my question again, you said, "As much as I wish I could take the time to give you an explanation, I can't".

I know your time is valuable, because you have made that clear. I assure you mine is certainly no less so, hence, my question is no longer relevant, because, if you've read my comments above, I am disassociating myself with MQG and Quiltcon. This is my career. It's not just me, asking stupid questions, to a entity that couldn't be bothered to care.

Maybe try to find the words for the next person, because what you told me was neither caring, nor helpful, and your position, sadly, requires both.

Frank said...

I asked you for the judging criteria. It was a valid question. You directed me to webinars that didn't help. In fact, they were condescending.

jacquie said...

Hi E...you're the best. So thoughtful, so respectful. Frank, Jacquie Gering, here. My email is jacquie@themodernquiltguild.com.
Ask away. I'm on the road, but I'll answer as soon as I can.

Frank said...

Jacquie,

The only questions I had were A) What are the judging criteria? and B) where can I find the bylaws for the national guild (not the local ones)?

I don't have any luck getting answers (nor can other people I have spoken with who want to know the same things and have tried to find answers), but if you'd like to respond, I can be reached at fullfrontalquilts@gmail.com, on Facebook, on Instagram @fpalmer0526, or dismissed entirely. I can share the response with the other people, but right now, we feel entirely dismissed and ignored. And currently, there are 96 of us. Many already deciding not to renew.

Here's your chance.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thank so much Jacquie! I miss you, hope you are well! - Erika

Heather said...

Hi Frank,

I'm really sorry, I'm re-reading the emails and you are asking why your quilt didn't get in. I apologize that I misunderstood your question. I don't see anything the emails about judging criteria or bylaws. If you email a request, we can get that over to you via attachments.

Again, I'm sorry, it is more than just time. The jurors don't provide don't provide feedback, so I don't have it to give. It's not that I'm avoiding it, it's just not available. The reason I directed you to the webinars is that I thought they may offer some insight to the judging process. I'm very sorry if the webinars or myself came off as condescending.

Frank said...

The only way to make a living as an artist is to get your work shown. So when paying entry fees (instead of the electric bill, or groceries) and membership dues, it helps to know the judging criteria in order to have better odds of acceptance. Because otherwise, I am throwing money away.
I researched the definitions heavily before even submitting work, and asked dozens of other artists if this was the proper venue. So when one person has a half dozen pieces accepted, it's a curiosity that I have, looking at their work, what is the crucial difference I'm missing? In other words, "What is the judging criteria?".
If you're telling me you just run a bunch of images past a panel with no guidelines to reference, then just tell me that. But if there's a list of criteria, THAT is EXACTLY what I am asking about, specifically. What I am NOT asking, and what NOBODY seems to understand, is NOT why my piece wasn't chosen SPECIFICALLY, because I'm not a child. But what is the CRITERIA upon which ALL the pieces are juried, because I'm a pragmatist.
I thought it was a valid question and deserved an answer. And what you are telling me, is that it did not. Again, basically, none of my business.
So I stand by my first statement, because that's exactly how it came off, and that's exactly how it continues to come off, and another reason why many of us feel that MQG is out of touch with its members.
Based on that feeling, we were asking about the national bylaws, and can not find them anywhere online, and as members (some are local and national and some are national only), we oddly felt this information should be accessible to us.
It isn't.
We get that people are busy. So are we. Some of us, 80-90 hours a week busy. That's why we don't bombard you with minutiae. But we feel that we are seen as a bother, and not an asset, and that's really not fair.
My email is fullfrontalquilts@gmail.com, as I've already stated. You can imagine how little interest I have in typing my request out, yet again, as I'll be working until 4am, as usual, quilting Pulse quilts in my "free time".

Debby said...

I do not submit quilts to shows, but I always enjoy seeing the beautiful work of other quilters/quilt artists. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that at AQS shows I do not see as many of the same quilters win as at QuiltCon. I love the QuiltCon quilts, but I have been taken aback at how many of the same quilters' quilts are the ones hanging.

Is there a limit as to how many quilts can be accepted by one quilter? I looked quickly at the entry rules and didn't see anything. Though very different, academic conferences often limit the number of papers accepted by one person to make room for others.

I think we can make way for more without dilution of the quality of the submitted quilts. Otherwise, we are just attending a gallery opening for the top QuiltCon quilters.

Heather said...

Hi Frank,

Again, I'm very sorry. It is absolutely your business. The guidelines the jury uses to evaluate quilts is here: http://quiltconentry.com/

I'm completely sorry I have misunderstood your request multiple times. It was not in any way an avoidance and I can see how my inability to understand you is incredibly frustrating. Again, I apologize.

I will email the remainder of your request later today. Thank you for your work on the Pulse quilts. We really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

There's a great blog post (and subsequent discussion in the comments) about the current MQG issues here

Frank said...

Okay, it is clear to me that I cannot get a real answer to my question. And after 8 months, I really no longer expect it.
Heather, the link you sent me is easily accessible and it is something I have read repeatedly. Repeatedly. I did not ask for guidelines. I asked for criteria.
I don't want to be condescending, but a list of "criteria" is what the judges have in front of them when they jury the submissions. It is a list of qualities that they use to help decide if a quilt is going to be accepted or rejected. It is often a sheet of paper, with a list of things the judges are to be looking for, and deciding each individual piece based on those particular things. Criteria. "a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided." or "a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something".
It isn't the comments they make about a specific piece.
It isn't the guidelines used to submit a quilt.
It isn't mailing instructions, photography tips, or deadlines.
Basically, what I am asking for is clearly something you are not willing to provide, even though every other show is happy to do so.
I cannot believe that I have asked three board members for the same information, all of whom claim transparency in the organization, and have genuinely proven that it doesn't actually exist, and that the goal of the guild isn't to serve the membership as a whole, but to serve a few. I cannot get what I am asking for, only what the guild is willing to interpret appropriate for my pay grade, even after explaining it at great length. It's pure madness, and if you think you can sense my frustration, I can guarantee you have no idea how intense it is at this point.

My transparency, in contrast to yours, is clear. Just so I can be one person with whom you'll be in touch, here's where I'm at: I've gone from proud, to annoyed, to ashamed (yes, ashamed) to be a member of this organization.

Allison/Savage Pink said...

(Sorry for posting and deleting, problems with html links)

Frank, it seems to me that you are asking for the criteria by which the Quiltcon jurors are instructed to accept or reject quilts for the show. I can understand very clearly what you are looking for here. You want to know what specific qualities qualify quilts for entry, so that you can potentially work to improve your own quilts in those areas.

My own thought: Likewise, it would be useful to know what the actual judges are looking for when it comes to picking winners. There was a lot of chatter last year about whether Quiltcon is valuing design over all else (for example, construction is highly valued in traditional shows, how much is it valued at Quiltcon?).

This is another area where the MQG should consider being more transparent. Openness in these areas would really help educate the membership and foster improvement in the quality of work in the areas that the guild has identified as important to our movement.

I know that it's not necessarily "the done thing" for all quilt shows (providing jury or judging criteria to entrants), but if anything, that's a good reason for Quiltcon to strive to be better. This criteria certainly EXISTS, so why not put it out in the open?

In the interest of clarity, here are a few example of the kind of information I think you're looking for Frank, but specific to Quiltcon of course?

What the Judges Are Judging (APQS)
http://www.apqs.com/what-the-judges-are-judging/
What Do Judges Look For? (ICAP)
http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com/weblog/category/quilt-judging
Pemberton Fair 2016 Judging Criteria
http://pembervillefair.org/images/2016/needlework/quilt_judging_criteria.pdf

Heather said...

Hi Frank,

I want to thank you for being persistent. We haven't had formal written guidelines, because we haven't been asked. You did ask me, and I didn't quite understand what you were looking for in December, but now that I do, I think it makes sense and is a great idea.

I'm sorry you had to keep asking. I try very hard to get a view from 10,000 feet, but I am not always successful, I make mistakes. I can't commit to being perfect, but I can commit to listening.

Now, in terms of the criteria (for both judging and jurying)...I'm going to take action and request the Education Committee (which is made up of members) to write these up. Once they have completed their work, we'll share with membership.

If you have specific ideas on what you think those criteria should include, feel free to email me or Andrew Joslyn or Shannon Page. Andrew and Shannon chair that committee. Their contact info is here: https://www.themodernquiltguild.com/about-us

Again, thank you.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thanks Allison for the thoughts, and I've deleted your deleted posts so we can just see the one including the intended links. All great things to think about, especially regarding the issue of transparency. - Erika

Heather said...

Transparency is very important! But sometimes, we don't know what we should be transparent on until we are asked. So email us! Tell us what you want.

Allison/Savage Pink said...

Thanks for cleaning up my mess Erika!

Can I also say, that while Erika is a hostess par excellence, the very fact that these conversations are taking place on blogs and social forums OFF of the MQG's own forums is indicative of two problems.

(1) On a usability level, the MQG website (in particular the forums) are really lacking. Seriously.

(2) Your members are not comfortable discussing these topics openly within your walls. Or, perhaps feel it's not taken seriously there.

And FINALLY, thanks to Heather for taking some constructive action! Bravo!

Heather said...

Hi Allison,

1. I COMPLETELY AGREE. We are working on a big project right now to make the resources page more user friendly, because, well, it sucks. The forums are on the list, but dependent on funding. We work on a cash basis, so we don't take out loans, so it can take longer for things to happen.
2. I'm very sad about this, because they should feel that way and we do have work to do there.

Frank said...

Exactly, Allison. Taking it to email isn't very transparent.
When I teach, and someone asks a question, I answer it right then, because someone else in the class likely has the same question. I don't say, "Write it down and slide it to me and I'll see what I can do".
If the goal is to inform, enlighten, and inspire, then why does it always feel like being policed, frustrated, and ignored?
To those on the inside, it's like opening a board game of Monopoly and starting to play. To the rest of us, it's as if we have never seen that board game and there are no instructions included. And when we ask, it's a bother to those who are so familiar with it, we are just holding up the game.
Many of us left traditional guilds, because of politics, favoritism, quilt police, and generally feeling unwelcome.
The Modern Quilt Guild was a breath of fresh air.

Was.

My local guild is so incredibly supportive, welcoming, informative, and friendly.

Nationally, it's been the opposite. It feels like the mothership is a lobbyist, trying to sell an agenda, a brand, and a business model, instead of a non profit, dedicated to the furthering and development of a constantly evolving art form.

Naturally, you argue those feelings, but it doesn't make them less real. Words are words. Actions speak volumes, as does silence.

Frank said...

Heather did send me the bylaws this morning, so I will be transparent and mention that.

She also sent me judging sheets, which are not jury criteria that decides if a quilt is shown. What she sent me again was the standard "Call for Entries" that I have seen a million times and doesn't say anything at all about the criteria worksheet given to the jury who decides what quilts are accepted and which are rejected. I find it hard to believe that a jury decides on which quilt gets in based on it being three layers, and constructed during a specific time period and nothing else. Is it a group of people who just look at images projected on a wall and base it on what they find visually appealing at that moment, with no criteria in front of them? Is it like some fiber based X Factor spin off with Simon Cowell? Does anyone at MQG even SEE what is totally NOT transparent about this?

I don't think I can explain what I am asking for any better, or differently than the myriad of ways I have already asked. It's as though I am talking to Siri on my iPhone in an accent that she doesn't understand, and when I ask what the weather is like, I'm given NASCAR results.

Maybe someone can tell me who juries the quilts to decide what gets in and what doesn't? Then I can take even MORE time and ask THOSE people what the sheet of paper in front of them said, as far as criteria.

But it's easier to just slam my hand in a cabinet door about 956 times, and it's far less painful.

This entire experience is beyond insane. If I ran my business like MQG, I would be out of business. This isn't how you treat people, much less how you treat paying members.

At the very least, you could just be honest and say what you've been implying all along. It's none of my business. Just say it. It's the most transparent answer.

The truth will set you free.

Heather said...

Hi Frank,

I also just sent the external judging criteria we send to other shows when they ask (it's likely in your inbox, if not I can resend). This is the basis that the Education Committee will work on criteria.

It was my mistake for not recalling this document that was created in 2013, but it is very close to what we do and the Education Committee will revise it to reflect that.

Aimee said...

For what it's worth a former QuiltCon juror, Latifah Saafir, posted an excellent blog post describing what she did as a member of the jury on her blog

Miss Sews-it-all said...

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all who participated with comments! It's hard to have a conversation when we're not all on the same page, right? I hope conversations like this, however difficult, start to bring up the real issues, claro que si?

And to keep you up to date, I did take the time to write down some thoughts and concrete suggestions on first steps that can be taken to keep all of us in-the-loop with policies and procedures in the MQG. The direct feedback I received pretty immediately was a hearty "thank you for your suggestions" and a message that something along those lines are already in the works.

Going forward, I hope to see that MQG policies and procedures are communicated to members in a way that is easily accessible, consistent, and transparent.

I said it above in the post, some people are ready to move in a different direction from the MQG, like Frank, and that is okay. Personally, I have loved getting to see Frank's work online, and I'll still be able to do that even if he is no longer a member in the MQG. Frank, thanks for sticking it out and being heard here. I do believe you've had a part in making the organization better for everyone by bringing your situation to light.

Holly said...

Erika, this is such a great summary of what I've been trying to articulate. Thank you for that!

When I first joined my local modern quilt group, I thought it a little odd that the decision had been consciously made NOT to affiliate with MQG as an organization. Members were free to do so on an "at-large" basis, but the group as a whole had no such plans.

Now I begin to see why. As a fledgling group, we groped our way to what was "modern." And that definition expanded, rather than contracted, as we went on and grew. I feel like I'm seeing the opposite with the national organization. Instead of a supportive place, it's building fences.

Granted, QuiltCon is their circus and they can run it any way they like. If they value original design over all else, that's up to them. Personally, I happen to think their definition of "derivative" much too restrictive. I'd noodled on the idea of working on a quilt for QuiltCon, but I found this so off-putting that I have not an iota of motivation, now.

Worse, I think, is the application of that definition to the show currently accepting entries. You simply do NOT move the goal posts once the game has begun. That's dirty pool.

I thought I'd aired my own opinions pretty thoroughly on my own blog, but apparently there were more. ;-) Thanks for keeping the discussion rolling.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Holly, thanks for stopping by and taking time to read and comment! At the moment, it does appear like the national MQG organization is leaning towards being a very narrow group instead of something more democratic and inclusive that really represents our diverse membership.

I do understand the need for a definition, and we can all see how that definition directly affects the QuiltCon member exhibit each year, in turn showing the world concrete examples of the definition.

To my eyes, this is really the rub for many people who are speaking up. And, reading more and more comments like yours, I have some new thoughts.

If the MQG is here to represent/support/reflect membership, then the national MQG needs to include member feedback when drafting the Definition of Modern Quilting - it needs to reflect the majority of members as well as leave room for the inherent growth and change taking place within Modern Quilting, and it needs to allow more members to include different visions of the style. If the Definition continues to be narrow, then all the work in the QuiltCon member exhibit will continue to be narrow - focusing on showcasing a minimum number of quilt makers who have been deemed to embody the most valued vision of the style.

The post about derivatives was in many peoples estimation a way to continue to control the definition, to exclude those works deemed by the national organization as not fitting within their own ideals of what constitutes the Modern Quilting style. I'm not saying that any of this is the real intent of the MQG, but I am pointing out that many people FEEL this to be true.

So, I am watching and waiting to see what happens next.

Frank said...

In reading the bylaws, at the very end, there's this entry: "The Corporation shall adopt a conflict of interest policy in the form attached hereto as
Schedule A." and apparently, that policy was never adopted, as there is no Schedule A to be found.
So, I'm even less inclined to believe that the policy changes are made to benefit the membership, and are formed solely to benefit the board, the sponsors, and the privileged few who grease the gears.
I'm posting this here, because I'm sending an email to MQG and then counting to infinity, waiting for a response that will likely not happen.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Frank, very interesting. Let me know if you do hear back about the missing Schedule A policy. Sounds like you won't hold your breath over it!