Tips to Focus a Spotlight on Your Art

It seems that by the time we actually put up our new calendars in January, they're already filled with quilt show dates, deadlines, goals, and to-do lists. In fact, it's not unusual for each person on our staff to have three Quilting Arts calendars open on the wall at a time, each turned to successive months, giving us a 90-day look at what's coming up. (As an added benefit, we get to look at three fabulous art quilts at once!)

Of course, in this day and age, many people keep track of their appointments and deadlines on their computers. If you enter a lot of quilt shows, you will want to read award-winning quilter and Quilting Arts columnist Robbi Joy Eklow's article in the February/March issue of Quilting Arts. In "Organized Entries," Robbi explains how she sets up her computer calendar program for submitting to upcoming shows.

The displays and reminders not only make it easy for her to meet deadlines but to also make sure that she hasn't promised the same quilt to two shows at the same time. She's even able to calculate whether she has time to get a quilt back from one show before sending it off to the next. Robbi's tips for organizing your quilt show entries can be adapted to different computer programs, so if you enter more than one quilt show in a year, you should take a look. 

I bet you have some organizational tips and tricks for entering shows, too. Share them with other quilters in the Forums section of Just click on Magazine Discussion under the Forums menu.

Speaking of submitting your quilts, is this the year you'll approach a gallery to show your work? in the current issue, Jane Dàvila explains how to find gallery representation for your artwork. Jane offers information and advice about the different kinds of galleries, how to find a good fit, dos and don'ts of the initial approach, how to put together a portfolio, and what to look for in a contract or agreement.

Here is her list of dos and don'ts of the initial approach:


  • Check to see when the gallery is reviewing new artists' work
  • Be polite and professional
  • Include a SASE with your submission if you'd like it returned
  • Be easy to work with and show that you would be a good team player
  • Point out why you'd be a great addition to their gallery (for example, because you have a large mailing list or contacts at the local paper)
  • Be patient; allow about six weeks before you follow up on your submission


  • Be discouraged if your work is not selected–competition is fierce!
  • Send information unsolicited or show up with your work in hand
  • Submit to a gallery without doing your homework first
  • Start with a gallery far away; start locally instead

Maybe you can adapt Robbi's calendar organization techniques to submitting to galleries! 

Challenges and swaps are fun to participate in and they're a good way to get your artwork into the public eye. But entering them also involves planning and deadline tracking–especially if you're the one in charge. For those who don't like long-range planning, Leilani Pierson (who leads a lot of challenges in her online fiber group) describes this quick and fun idea in the latest issue of Quilting Arts: A 5-day Quilt Challenge. This spur of the moment, seat of your pants challenge forces participants to be spontaneous. If you're prepared to go out on a whim, Leilani has tips for leading your own blind challenge.

On the other hand, if you prefer to take a more long-range approach, read about our own "How Entertaining" Reader Challenge–it's not due until May! 

Whew! That's a lot to keep track of. Guess I better grab my calendar and make sure everything's written down.

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