Yardage not accepted


I’ve been rejected. My yardage wasn’t accepted in HGA’S Enchanted for Convergence, and I’m sad about it. I’ve been accepted a lot. I have a long list of recent exhibitions. I’ve won awards, a few. But make no mistake, rejection still hurts.   

HGA is cold about it, too. They don’t soften the news even a little. They don’t open with a ” Thank you for entering,” and there are no lines about how beautiful all the work entered was.  They just jump right into it: “Dear Julie, We regret that the exhibit entry listed below was not accepted. . .”  Then they quote the juror’s explanation for how she made her selections, “. . . if the piece did not have something that, in my opinion, was enchanting or captivating about it, it was not selected.” Wow, thanks for that.    

She goes on to say that the quality of the images, the printouts, and the touching sample are very important also. But how am I supposed to know if my photos were ok, and it’s my work that wasn’t enchanting or captivating? If someone really needs to improve the quality of her photography, how will she know? This letter gives too much explanation; but not any more real information than the (much more pleasant) letters that say, “Your work is wonderful but it wasn’t chosen for this show.”   

Anyway, the contents of the letter are distraction from the real question at hand, which is: What on Earth was I thinking? Now I have this piece of weaving that’s 18″ wide and three yards long, and no use for it.  There’s a reason I’ve never entered a yardage exhibit – not just at Convergence, SDA has had yardage exhibitions that I’ve also never entered. And that reason is: I Don’t Do Yardage. I know weavers who do yardage and maybe they enter it in a yardage exhibition; then a year later they make something from the yardage, and enter that in a fashion show or other exhibition. I don’t work that way.   

This rejection brings me back to the reality that you have to know what you want your work to be. Sylvia White says artists need to decide what kind of artist they want to be. Some artists don’t care about selling work, they want to be historically significant, be collected by museums. Some artists don’t care about that, they want to sell work. A few years ago I decided I don’t want to do weekend art and craft fairs. That decision gave me some clarity. I’ve focused on doing a certain kind of work and entering the type of shows that the work is suited to. I’ve enjoyed some success as a result of having that clarity and focus.   

This time last year I decided my Designing Weavers annual projects need to fit with my overall body of work. In ’08 & ’09 I did projects – each wonderful in its own way – that are different enough from my overall body of work that I can’t include them in either a portfolio or a juried show submission ( although I’ve shown Behind the Cotton Candy much more than I thought I would).  Any piece of work takes too much time and effort – I have to be able to submit it along with my other work.   

Deciding to do a piece of yardage for a single entry was a lark, it was a cute idea; and I would be singing a way different tune if it had been accepted. I did some grant writing as a parent volunteer at an elementary school about 10 years ago. The right (i.e. best use of your time and least crazy making) way to approach grant writing is to establish your programs and then find grants that fund those things. Too often someone would show up with an RFP saying, “We could do this!” and then try to come up with a program to fit the grant – with the deadline a month away.    

In deciding to make a piece of yardage for the Enchantment juried show at Convergence, I ignored all of the above. I forgot basic principles: know yourself, define what you want your work to be, produce a consistent body of work, and find exhibition opportunities to fit your work, don’t try to make work to fit exhibition opportunities. Could I blame the surgery? I had Surgery in October, by late December I was still recovering, my medication was new. . . yeah, yeah. In the early days of my grant writing phase, I was the one who showed up with the RFP, saying “We can do this!”   

But I did good things with that initial RFP. The circus piece has shown more than I expected, and who knows what will happen with the Crown of Colors. So, now I have a very interesting (however not enchanting or captivating) piece of yardage in overshot with fused plastic in the pattern weft. The thing is – and here’s the real problem with these self-indulged distractions – I now have to refocus, get my goals back in my sights,  and  find my way back to my real work.


5 comments so far

  1. So Cal Julie K. on

    […] pieces to enter in each show. Then the jurors might have found one they wanted to include. But  Unlike two weeks ago, I don’t regret doing the yardage. Daryl made a good point, “I think stretching […]

  2. Daryl Lancaster on

    I don’t know Julie, I saw the yardage and it was pretty amazing, and since you don’t do yardage in general, I think stretching oneself and stepping out of the comfort zone once in awhile is really important. Just because HGA didn’t select the piece, doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Your journey into figuring out how to do the yardage in the first place, fusing the bags, and blogging about it was definitely worth while. So as it turns out, I didn’t get into Small Expressions. Oh well…. And Small Expressions is the hardest one to get into. Congratulations. And I think the yardage would make wonderful tote bags.

  3. Merna on

    Good post, Julie.

    I do think that piece is pretty captivating, with its big blown up structure. If you don’t want to hang it somewhere, make tote bags . I’m waiting to hear about my Small Expressions entries.

    • juliekornblum on


      Thanks for your comment. I received my results from Small Expressions just a few minutes ago. One piece was accepted, two rejected. Have you gotten the mail yet?

      Thank You,

      Julie Kornblum Please visit my website

      • Merna on

        Good for you — me too, one piece accepted, two rejected. I’m happy!

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