I’ve been working on curating a group show for the SAQA members of my region for the past year. (Yes, it’s taken an entire year to plan for this). Finally, last Saturday, with the help of some friends, we accepted entries for the show. Then a few days later, the entries were juried for the show. In this post, I’m going to share with you some important things you must be mindful of when you pack art quilts for jurying.
I’d been waiting for this day for months. This is a show where the jurying was done by looking at the physical art quilts, not digital photos. So, artists had to pack art quilts and submit them for jurying not the photos of their work.
Let me just preface this post with something I’ve said here before. When it comes down to it, every juror has a vision that they’re trying to accomplish as they select pieces for a show. So, if your piece doesn’t make it into the show, you must learn not to take it personally.
Having said that, there are certain things you can do when you submit art quilts into a themed show to increase your chances of acceptance.
Some of the things are just simple packing tips. Often, we ignore the simple and focus on the complicated to our own detriment.
So, here, we’ll focus on the simple things.
Three (3) Tips on How to Pack Art Quilts for A Show
1. Label Everything
When the exhibition committee is handling your art quilts for the show, they’ll have to remove your artwork from its packing materials.
In our case, we had to take the art quilts out of their packaging to display them so that the juror could go around and make her selections.
For large shows where many pieces are included in the show, you will very likely have pieces separated from their original packaging. Not because the exhibition committee is not careful with your work, but rather because of the nature of the process.
I must tell you that my exhibition team was very organized. Maureen on my team carefully numbered all packing materials to match the art pieces they contained, yet at the end we still had pieces which didn’t match up.
That can be very frustrating for any exhibition team. Most exhibition teams will not even have the time to go to these extreme lengths.
Your intention in this process should be to make it as easy as possible for the team. Those artists who do, are viewed in a good light by the team.
Bottom line. If you expect your art pieces to be returned to you with all the packing materials you used, label everything you send to the exhibition team.
2. Textiles Have Memory
Often, we forget that textiles have memory. Whichever way you fold or handle your art quilt, that’s what it will remember. So, when you pack art quilts for a show, you should keep that in mind. No one wants their work hanging in an exhibition with unsightly creases. But that’s what going to happen when you don’t carefully pack your art quilt for shipping.
So, when your textile piece is going to be in storage or traveling for a while in between exhibitions, you want to make sure you pack art quilts it in a way that will not result in creases and folds.
3 Ways to Pack Art Quilts
- If your piece needs to be stored flat, make sure you sandwich your piece in between two sturdy cardboards to prevent it from getting bent.
- If your piece can be rolled, then roll it around a swimming pool noodle or another such sturdy tube.
- Alternatively, if your piece is too large to roll, you’ll want to fold it in a way that you can cushion the folds to prevent creases.
3. Make it Easy to Be Reached
Finally, you want to include your contact information on your packing materials where possible. There are many occasions when the exhibition team may want to contact you about identifying your items.
Granted, your contact information will be on a list somewhere. But you can make it easy for the exhibition team to contact you by putting your information on your individual pieces and packing materials. This way they don’t have to go look you up on the “grand list”.
In conclusion, one of the most frustrating things when we were handling the art pieces we received, was how difficult it was to match the packing materials to their contents after they were separated.
Another was how poorly some of the pieces were packed. It was as though the owners didn’t care about how their works will look when displayed in the exhibition. Or probably, they simply didn’t know what effect their packing decisions had on how their art quilts looked when hung.
So, next time you pack art quilts for a show keep these tips in mind and make sure they’re properly done.