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How Road 2020 Quilt Judges Picked Their Judge’s Choice

Seeing quilts from the perspective of someone who makes quilts or just admires looking at quilts is way different from seeing them as quilt judges. Quilt judges have a big responsibility and view their roles very seriously. A two-time quilt judge for Road to California explained it this way: It can be “intimidating,” “difficult,” and a just plain “hard job” especially “when you think about giving away $10,000.”

After the three quilt judges for Road’s 2020 Quilt Contest made their decision for the top prizes, they each individually chose their own Judge’s Choice Winners.

Pat Harrison

Pat Harrison is a long-arm quilter, lecturer and workshop teacher, quilt designer, and owner of Ocean Waves Quilting Company. She became a certified quilt judge in 2008.  

Pat chose Arches by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry as her Judge’s Choice Winner.

quilt judges

What influenced Pat in her decision? “To begin, I look for a balance between excellent design and excellent workmanship. In addition, I seek to find a quilt that catches my eye and when possible, I strive to award my Judge’s Choice to a quilt that is a completely original design. My selection fulfilled all these criteria as well as appealing to my love of architectural elements.”

John Flynn

John Flynn has been a quilt judge twice for Road to California. John is a hand quilter, Featherweight owner and repair teacher, retreat leader, and along with his wife and daughter, owns Flynn Quilt Frame Company.

John’s Judge’s Choice Winner was Blue Windows by Jennifer Emry.

quilt judges

Why did John pick Blue Windows? “I liked everything about this quilt, the clean lines, the creative fabric choices the precise piecing, and the thoughtful well-done quilting design.”

Pepper Cory

Pepper Cory is a quilt maker, teacher, author, fabric and stencil designer. She owned a quilt shop, Culpepper’s Quilts, in Lansing, Michigan from 1976-1988.

Away by Karen K Stone was Pepper’s Director’s Choice winner.

quilt judges

Pepper shared her reasoning behind her choice: “In choosing my judge’s award it was a visceral response. “That’s it!” I shouted as soon as I saw it. Loved it. Wished I had made it. Admired the workmanship and artistry.”

Quilt Judges Give Advice For Future Quilt Competitors

Road 2020 Quilt Judges were asked what advice they would give to quilters interested in entering their workmanship in a quilt contest like Road to California.

Pepper Cory had a long list of suggestions which included, “Read the show’s description of the categories and make sure you’re entering your quilt in the correct group… A quilt is only judged against what’s in its group. A piece that gets a blue ribbon in one show might totally fall out of contention in another. It’s all about your competition at that event.”

John added, “Be original. Use fabrics that you love not what you expect the judges to love. Be as precise as you are able. Quilt with some feeling. Enjoy the process it will show in the finished quilt.”

And finally, Pat replied, “My advice to quilters wanting to submit a quilt to a quilt contest is to just do it! Don’t doubt your skills but open yourself to having your quilt evaluated by the judges and marveled at by the show attendees. Having a quilt judged should encourage a quilter and help them identify where they might need to improve…After all, who doesn’t like to get better at what they love and in so doing make the whole quilt making process more enjoyable.”

Thank you to Road’s 2020 quilt judges and congratulations to the makers of their winning Judge’s Choice selections.

Will you be entering a quilt in Road to California’s 2021 contest?  

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