Balancing Act - Juror's Essay 

I have great respect and admiration for those women who came before me and had the courage to demand and fight for the rights and freedoms that I enjoy today. While it’s true that women have been living a balancing act existence since the dawn of time, I think that it’s never been more of a challenge for women to find and strike that balance. Certainly as a woman and an artist myself, I am constantly striving to find a way to balance my time and energies between the things I have to do and the things I want to do.

As one of the jurors for this exhibit, my task was a challenging one because the works submitted ranged in style from pictorial to abstract. I decided that my focus when selecting pieces would be that they were pieces that would entice the viewer to stop and reflect on the Balancing Act theme. I began the process by doing a quick overview of the images submitted, making notes about the ones that made me want to stop and look for more details. Then I went back to those images and read the accompanying artist statements. I also went through all the images that I originally rejected and read through all the artists statements for those as well. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t pass over a piece that may not have spoken to me visually at first but may have moved me after reading the artists statement. After working through this process over the course of several days I met with my co-juror and we made the final selection of pieces for the exhibit.

As you walk the exhibit you’ll find a wide range of styles. I encourage you to stop at each one and reflect on each artists’ interpretation of the theme. Take a moment to read their statements after your first view of the work and then go back and look at it again with the voice of the artist’s statement in your ears while you look more closely at the details and artistry in each piece.

And then as you walk away from the last piece in the exhibit, take a moment to pause and think about how far we have come. Think about the obstacles that the women before us had to overcome so that we can enjoy the rights and freedoms we have today. Reflect not only on that but also on those women who do not have those rights and freedoms yet and are fighting for them just as our grandmothers before us did.

I am honored to have been one of the jurors for the Balancing Act exhibit, and I look forward to seeing its debut at the International Quilt Festival in October of 2015.

—Sue Bleiweiss


Sue Bleiweiss is a full time fiber artist living in Massachusetts, where she is the SAQA regional representative. She is the founder of the sketchbook challenge blog and the author of the companion book: The Sketchbook Challenge, Techniques, Prompts, and Inspiration for Achieving your Creative Goals. Her work resides in private collections all over the world.