Sunday, 30 November 2014

First Time NJS Quilt Entry Winner

Veronica's winning entry
Veronica Puskas, now of Niagara, ON was asked to write about her experience entering a quilt into the National Juried Show (NJS). Her beautiful piece, called “Pillars of Strength” was the winner for a First Time Entrant into the National Juried Show 2014. Here is her story:

I never thought of entering my quilt into the NJS until Roberta Masecar, as part of our quilting group saw my piece when it was nearly done and said that it should be entered in a juried show. I had never heard of it until then, so I checked on line. I started entertaining the idea, then thought "What the heck? I've got nothing to lose and I'll learn something here."
Close-up of hand

I had made this quilt in memory of my Mom and Gramma. It took me on a journey while making the pieces. I was actually going to piece what the actual picture shows and that is Mom's ugly woollen trousers and the ugly canvas leggings on their kamiit (boots). I learned what the traditional trousers and leggings should look like by asking family and friends.

(2014 was the first time for online registration into the NJS. Of course, no matter how hard CQA/ACC and the software writers tried to make it a smooth run for everyone, there were glitches.)

Apparently this was the first time that on-line registration took place and I thought that went very well except when I had to change the size of the image. Some of the pertinent information got lost. When I finally got an e-mail confirming my entry was accepted, I found some of the information was wrong. After a few emails, the information was corrected.

I had started this quilt based on a class by
Nancy Bergman "Zapplique Don't Sweat Quilting the Human Figure" in 2008 I had to start over because I used the wrong materials. This class took place six months after Mom passed away. I was so happy that my piece got accepted that I cried. I could not believe it! I contacted my family and friends and they cried with me as well.
In making “Pillars of Strength” I auditioned different colours of fabric and threads until I was satisfied. I learned how to thread-paint and how to use mixed media other than fabric such as distressed Typar for the rocky hills, tulle for shading and yarn for snow. 

After the piece was quilted I agonized over every little detail: the quilting; straight edges at 90 degrees; ensured there were no waves; stitching on the binding was straight; all pieces were secure; and the hanging sleeve was made according to the instructions. Susan Bowslaugh gave me a very good tip with respect to binding - to use same coloured fabrics as the quilt top. It added another level of difficulty. When I fretted over little things, I listened to my own heart when well-meaning family and friends were saying that my quilt was perfect the way it was. In the end I was right in doing so. When I did not know what to do with it anymore I knew my piece was done.

I hired a professional photographer to take pictures of the quilt. I believe this to be key as your photo must give the positive first impression. The camera and lighting are key to very good, clear photographs. This investment is worth every dime and penny. If you have gone through all that you did to get your piece entered and not invest in this, unless you are a professional photographer, you run the risk of not getting accepted. I didn't want to take that risk.

For me as a first time entrant, this process of entering the National Juried Show was a nail-biting, thrilling roller-coaster experience. It was all worth it in the end when /I saw my quilt hung up with those whose quilts were of high calibre. To me it is like giving birth. You forget all the agony and frustrations that goes with trying to make your piece perfect. And throughout making my piece, I kept hearing my Mother when I just wanted to give up and do a less-than-perfect job "You can do better than that!" What I learned from this process was that I CAN do it. I feel more confident now that I can go through this process again. There is a lot of competition out there with great quilts in the shows. And you learn what you are made of. I felt so honoured to have been part of that.

Veronica’s quilting experience:

I am a self-taught quilter who started in early 1995. I had remembered the embroidered or tied woollen blankets that my Gramma used to have. I learned to quilt by buying quilting magazines and trying out the patterns, not realizing there was a local guild. I made tons of mistakes but I learned a lot too. About two years I finally joined the Yellowknife Quilter's Guild and took as many classes as I could take juggling family and work life. I was lucky to have been part of the Guild as they brought in masters: Jan Krentz, Gail Garber, Libby Lehman, Gloria Loughman, Nancy Bergman to name a few. I felt stifled though in the end before we moved here (Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON) as I wanted to get more into the art quilts. Just two months after we moved here, I was invited to be part of a quilting group that was interested in learning to make different art quilts. I learned a lot from them and they, the Thread Hedz, have given me the confidence to try different media and methods. 

As an Inuk living in southern Canada, the North will always be a part of me and it shows in my art quilts. I remember stories of Nuliayuk and what a powerful sea-goddess she was. I like to incorporate well-known images such as the Inukshuk, or an igloo.   


Veronica Puskas

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to Veronica on her acceptance to the NJS. I remember well my first time entering and what a thrill it was to be accepted. Please also let her know that her northern Inuk spirit is clearly shown in her pieces.