The report from the jurors is most interesting. It took me by surprise a little. They note that the third condition of entry stated that the quilt had to be "the maker's own design or be a traditional quilt which no other person has any copyright claim over". They say that in asking for original quilts the Symposium committee were doing something very unusual. They clearly didn't want to see quilts made from a pattern, but they also say that many people seemed to believe that quilt blocks quite recently designed were "traditional". They were pleased that quilt makers specified sources and inspiration, and did a little detective work. The jury was, they say, surprised at how little some quilts had changed from the original source. They discuss how they dealt with Baltimore quilts...what a challenge that must have been. Could you make a baltimore without a pattern by that remarkable Elly Sienkiewicz, goddess of the Baltimore? They must have had an extraordinarily difficult job, and it's a task I don't ever want to do!
Personally, I suspect they should have elaborated a little more when laying out the criteria for entries. The emphasis on originality didn't particularly strike me when I filled out my entry form. Imagine the dilemma I'd have had if I'd wanted to enter a 1930s reproduction quilt (my other quilt love!). That daffodil design, does it still belong to Mountain Mist. That's a company! How do we wait 50 years for the assertion of copyright to expire? When the company disintegrates?
I think the Wellington Symposium committee are entitled to call for entries to an exhibition of their choosing, and the jurors must of course, work around not just the criteria but also space limitations. They say that in some cases they really wanted the quilts as they were wonderful. I am sure some exquisite work has been rejected, I've certainly seen that happen over and over again.
This is shaping up to be a very controversial exhibition. I expect it will be very arty, and will change the idea of what is a 'quilt' for many people who see it. Making art will not be what drives the majority of New Zealand's quilt makers, and I fear many will be discouraged by an exhibition that they do not relate to. Arguably though, there are many showcases for more traditional work, and less for the quilt as art. The symposium exhibition, which is held every two years, should showcase the best of New Zealand's work over the last 2 years. I suspect much of that has been rejected. It's time probably, for an art show and a quilt show.
Do I sound confused? Perhaps I have survivor guilt. I am, these days, making quilts as art, more often than to warm someone. The copyright for this one most definitely belongs to Helen Fielding (2008) and I am absolutely delighted that it has been accepted.