By Cheryl Christian, 2018 Exemplary Administrator and NAN-certified Judge
This article first appeared in NANthology, the NAN newsletter, in winter 2018.
The Exemplary, the NAN national exhibition, is a highlight of Assembly in the spring. All manner of work is displayed, from counted work, canvaswork, surface embroidery, beading, and stumpwork to mixed media. Work may hail from a class or workshop or be completely original. The pieces are not juried, so anyone may enter. We accept work from professionals and non-professionals alike. NAN’s default is to consider the pieces submitted to The Exemplary for judging, however, your work need not be judged if you do not wish it. We display pieces that are not judged as well.
You need not attend Assembly to enter the exhibition, either. We understand that exhibitors cannot always attend Assembly. Still, we would like to see your work and display it! Here follow a few reasons to enter.
To advance in your journey. We stitch better when we know we are going to show our work in public or enter a competition. We want to show ourselves at our best. Our stitching improves. And when we decide to put our work out there, whether it is the first time we’ve exhibited, the first time we exhibit a way of working new to us, or the umpteenth time we’ve exhibited, we all gain something from the experience.
To learn. Everyone learns something from exhibiting his/her work. You see your work differently when it is displayed, and even more so, when it is displayed with other work. You learn what it is you want do, but you can also learn what it is you don’t want to do. In learning about your work, you learn even more about yourself.
To participate as a member of the needlearts community. You gain fellowship with other exhibiting needleworkers. You speak with one another differently after you’ve exhibited. You share the same experiences and emotions, and you can talk about them together.
To feel pride in your achievement. You know you’ve accomplished something when the work is finished, readied for presentation, and displayed in an exhibition. And if nothing else, it’s one less Unfinished Object (UFO) off the list!
To have a chance at winning an award. Just like the lottery, you cannot win if you don’t enter! And while winning an award is not the best reason for entering an exhibition, many enter just for that opportunity. But don’t be disappointed if the piece doesn’t win. So much depends on what else is being exhibited. It really is the experience we are after. That’s the important thing.
To legitimize your practice. Judges, artists, teachers, designers, appraisers, and other needle-work professionals gain credibility by exhibiting their work. Exhibiting can help demonstrate your professional stature and assist you in many facets of your career, from establishing your-self as a business to securing tax exemption when buying business-related supplies.
To increase your exposure as a teacher, judge, appraiser, artist, or needlework pro-fessional. In light of gaining credibility, as a professional you can get your name out to the public at large. People get to know your work and may be more inclined to hire you to conduct a class or work-shop, give a lecture, judge an event, write an appraisal report, or even buy your work.
Once Assembly registration opens, the links for the entry form and instructions can be found on the NAN website, https://needleart.org/assembly. We even have guidelines to help you write an artist statement!
Should you have questions about The Exemplary, e-mail the exhibition administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing your work!