Quilt Judges and Juries: Hard Questions


From The Quilt Journal - An International Review, Vol. 4, No. 1.


By: Jessen, Carol

Author Notes: Carol Ann Jessen April 28, 1950-September 17, 1995 It is our sad duty to record that Carol Jessen, who wrote "Quilt Judges and Juries: Hard Questions" for this issue of The Quilt Journal, has died after an illness courageously battled. Ms. Jessen's contributions to the quilt world were as artist (she had a textile arts studio), writer, and curator. Carol considered herself a critic, in the sense of thoughtful commentator, of thecontemporary quilt movement. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a B.A. in Psychology and did graduate work in anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She had written about contemporary quilts and quiltmaking since injuries interrupted her own quiltmaking in 1991. During her years as an active quiltmaker she refined a technique called "hard-edge applique." Her writing covered all aspects of the contemporary quilt movement, and has included exhibition and book reviews, articles on textile and fiber arts techniques, individual contemporary quiltmakers, the contemporary quilt movement and quilt aesthetics. Among her many articles, reviews, and reporting, noted here to demonstrate her the range of interests, were "Contemporary Quilts: Moving Beyond the Art vs. Craft Debate" (SurfaceDesign Journal, Fall 1991), for which she received the BettyPark Critical Writing Award for 1991; "Quilts as Women's Art: A Quilt Poetics" (Review of a book by Radka Donnell in Fiberarts Magazine, Mar/Apr, 1994); "New Directions: Quilts for the 21st Century" (a review of an exhibition at the Bedford Gallery for Art/Quilt Magazine's premier issue, Autumn, 1994; and "From Powder to Picture," an article about the techniquesfor using laser toner images on fabric in Surface Design Journal, Spring, 1995. Two other articles, "Searching for an Authentic Voice: Two Case Studies," a profile of the work of Virginia Harris and Kitty Pippen, and "Julie Berner: The Visible and the Invisible," will appear in All American Crafts this fall. I have mentioned these two because, sadly, they will be, with the article in this Journal, her last writing for the field. Carol never gave up. She became a writer about quilts wheninjury prevented her from making them. Now, seeing the end of her struggle approaching, she was determined to finish the workshe thought important, and she did. We are grateful that she gave us the honor of publishing her intelligent consideration of a difficult subject. May this good and thoughtful person rest in peace.