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Do you compete with each other or do you compete against each other?” by Ansa Breytenbach

2-DSC01852(1)What do you gain from entering Quilt Competitions and winning? Well, that question led to a lot of thinking, and in searching for the answer I came up with my own question:

Do you compete with each other or do you compete against each other?”

When you compete “with each other”, you agree beforehand on the rules of the competition and know that you need each other to develop and sustain your best performance.  We also need each other to generate and sustain public interest in Quilting and ultimately the quilting community.

is very valuable and necessary. s work and in doing so we have the opportunity to learn from each other. When competing we recognize each other as valuable resources, essential to our own progress and achievement. And so we nurture creativity, and bring into being new ideas, techniques and methods.

When we compete “against each other”, we treat people as obstacles to our own success and view them as enemies to be conquered. We close our minds to learning from each other and fail to cooperate for the good of the Craft. The principle of competing “against each other” fosters secrecy, ignorance and an illusion of achievement. The progress of learning is slow, creativity becomes stagnant and you become disheartened of your own art. It no longer is a medium for self expression and innovation.

When you are competing you should always strive to up skill your abilities and originality. The next level up always means that you have to work harder in mastering more techniques and learning how to develop your own skills and interpret your ideas in new and innovative ways. To be able to win you must always be willing and be dedicated to continue the learning process. The secret of a competition is to always challenge yourself, whether you use a new colour combination or a new pattern, it does not matter.

The challenge is to use the new skills you have learned and how you can successfully incorporate it into a quilt. In any competitive environment the more you achieve the higher the stakes get, and that can sometimes cloud judgment about your own quilts. However, by entering in competitions you get feedback on your work giving you a guide to improve on your skills.

Competitions create an opportunity for other quilters to learn and appreciate the art of quilting. Quilting is a very social and tactile art form, because of the various styles of quilting there is always something new to appreciate and a new friend to be made. But the ultimate question is – “Can you do more than give it your very best shot?”

The answer is –“It’s up to you.” I believe in giving every quilt I make my very best effort, but ultimately, my secret is to love what I do and have fun while I am doing it!