Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Quilt Show Entry

As a fiber artist I often feel compelled to enter quilt show competitions in the wearable art category. I do this even though I know that my entries are in a unique niche that seldom gets recognition.  I'm a little to the side of the usual wearable art entries. You would think that my work, being so different, would be considered cutting edge and would earn a first place here and there. Well, that's my hope. So far I've won ribbons but none with prizes attached.

Despite that, when the call for entries for one of the largest quilt shows in the country came around, I decided to try again. Unfortunately, the entry deadline fell in the week that Randy and I would be out of town on vacation. 

So, the night before our long awaited vacation, I scurried around to get my project ready for pictures so I could send in my entry.

At 11 PM, I thought I was doing well. I had my entry jacket finished except for closures and crystals. I knew that a few carefully placed straight-pins would discreetly hold the jacket closed,  so I wasn't too worried about that, but crystals were non-negotiable.

I was enamored of my handiwork! It was gorgeous!  I hadn't tried it on in a couple of months, but I loved the way it seemed to beam down at me from the hanger. I was an artiste extraordinaire! My plan was to wake up early, early, Saturday morning, apply crystals and whip up a skirt to wear with it for the pictures. The Callisto Skirt from LaFred was a perfect choice; two side seams  and a hidden zipper. The skirt requires cool stuff at the hem but that could wait till later. 

So, 4:30 Saturday morning found me hunched over the jacket, applying crystals. Did I mention that this jacket requires lots of crystals?  Lots and lots of crystals? 

A mere four hours later and the crystals were attached. Four sweet hours of blinging. Next task, the skirt. As expected, the skirt went together very quickly. Unfortunately, when I slipped it on, the waistband was more than ten inches too wide.  I had expected some stretch from the bias, but not that much. To inhibit the stretch I had stay stitched before I started any work. Obviously that didn't work. OK, not to worry. I could tuck the skirt top under my bra, the bra and the top of the skirt well hidden under the jacket. Ahh, the bra-belt!

At 9:30 am Randy stopped packing the car (a task which he had been doing somewhat annoyed-ly by himself, as I was buried in the sewing room) to take pictures of me in my outfit. 

Down to the wire, and I still hadn't really evaluated how the thing looked on. (Did you notice that by this time my masterpiece has now become 'the thing'?)  It was not until I saw the downloaded pictures that I realized that this jacket is the perfect example of disaster in wearable art. The thing looks great on the hanger, incredible, exquisite! Unfortunately, on me it looks less than stellar. I look dowdy in the thing, like I've gained back all of the weight I'd lost. It's kind of the Queen Mother look. I've become a solidly built rectangle somewhat resembling a fireplug.

Why?  I can't even tell you why. Analyzing the fit problems at this point would mean the ice melting in the car, and escalating irritation from Randy. Maybe I should have named the piece "Frumpy" and run with it.

But with the vacation clock ticking, there's no time to turn back. This is it. On to the next step, the application.

The application required a printed photo as well as pictures on a CD. At first I tried to upload the picture to Long's Drugstore in Placerville. After 10 minutes I sigh a big sigh of relief. The picturewas uploaded.

Hold on, wait a minute, Long's doesn't have one hour service. Photos take four to six days. I try to upload to Raley's. No, that won't work. Raley's has no on-line uploads.  Here's where I could actually use a corporate merger  so I could have both online and one-hour photo service.

Finally I just printed the doggone thing on my own printer. A year or so ago, I did all of our photo printing at home until I discovered Costco photo printing, which is easy and cheap. If only we were going by a Costco.  In theory, the new photo printer should be better than the one of yore. It was the same brand, HP, and it WAS a photo printer, and it was a newer model. So I hit the print button.

Yikes! The print came out kind of dark. Like the flood was "kind of wet." Or like we were "kind of running late."

I couldn't try printing again. I couldn't. Randy, bless his heart, had put up with doing all of the work. He had packed the car, filled the cooler, assembled our hiking and snowshoe gear and gathered the groceries. We also had a stop at the Placerville post office.  I wrote up a formulaic Artist's Note and popped the whole thing in an envelope.

Next stop, the post office. Knowing that the application was due the next Wednesday I grilled the post office worker, "What's the estimated delivery for an Overnight Letter?"

After fiddling with her terminal she answered, "Tuesday."  (When you live in the boonies there is no overnight mail). That worked, the application was due on Wednesday.  Just for laughs and giggles and to save fifteen dollars I asked about delivery for the Priority Mail option. True to the unerringly bizarre nature of the post office, the answer to that was "Monday."  Well, one thing was working for me.

The whole thing is now hopefully winging it's way to the folks at the quilt show. I'm hoping they think that I'm just a dumpy looking person wearing exquisite clothing. Not often do I hope to be thought of as built like an outhouse, but there you have it.

Thus ends the saga of my latest quilt show entry.