I received my first fiber art rejection letter for the year. It reads:
We regret to inform you that upon consideration of your submitted portfolio, you were not selected by the jurors for this exhibition. The jurors had the difficult task of selecting artists from the many qualified portfolios. Please do not contact the jurors for more information; the artists were chosen in a blind jurying process, and therefore they will not have any information about your particular submissions.
(I’ve removed some of the identifying information to keep people’s identities private).
So how did I feel when I read this letter. Well, first off I knew before I read the letter that it was a rejection letter because it didn’t start with the word “Congratulations”. That’s always a tell-tale sign. So I didn’t need to read the entire form letter to know what was in it.
Reaction to the Fiber Art Rejection Letter
How did I feel about it, you ask? My initial feeling was disappointment. Then my next thoughts were, hey so who got accepted into this exhibition? And then I began to wonder if I’d feel bad when I learned the specific artists who got accepted. And finally, I felt a sense of relief.
Relief? Yes!!! Relief!
You see, I try to keep a full exhibition calendar each year. While I don’t believe in an overly busy exhibition calendar where you’re exhibiting in every show possible (be selective with shows), I know the importance and benefits of showing my work And at the same time I recognize the fact that I’ll not get accepted into every exhibition I apply for.
So over the years, it’s become easier for me to accept the fiber art rejection letter. I guess it’s one of the benefits of applying to exhibitions every year – you get your fair share of fiber art rejection letter s and you learn to accept them with grace. And because I expect not to be accepted into all the exhibitions I apply for, I tend to apply for a few more than I can practically handle. So yes, I felt some relief.
I’d just signed the paperwork for a solo show for next year, and I was feeling a sense of overwhelm, so somehow this fiber art rejection letter gave me a sense of relief. Too many things on my plate and I’ll have too little time to create art. It’s a balancing act. Sometimes an act that I don’t choreograph well-enough. So phew!!! What a relief!!!
Do I think about how wonderful it’d have been to exhibit in that show? Absolutely!!! Thoughts of creating for and exhibiting in that show for which I received the rejection letter, flash through my mind. But I don’t allow them to settle in my mind. I don’t deny the emotional component (the sense of pride, affirmation and accomplishment) that goes with being accepted into an exhibition. But I also accept objectively, that I’ll not receive an acceptance letter for every show.
So when (notice I didn’t say if) you receive a fiber art rejection letter, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Fiber art rejection letter s are par for the course. If you apply, you’ll get accepted sometimes and you’ll get rejected sometimes. It doesn’t mean your worst critic was right about your artwork. It just means you didn’t get in this time.
You know how sometimes bad things happen to good people? Well, rejection letters happen to good artists too.
There’ll be many more opportunities. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of them. Even though there’s always a chance of receiving another fiber art rejection letter, there’s also a chance of receiving an acceptance letter and doing a victory dance. Don’t miss the chance to dance.