Oh Those Last Minute Entries — it must be Fiberart International Time

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Penny Mateer’s FI-friendly design wall. Smaller than 8’6″, no problem.

The deadline for FI2016 is fast approaching.  Are you like me, do you wait until the last minute to enter? I know the deadline months in advance so I must be ready to upload today, right? Not exactly. What is this last minute business all about?

To choose the work, gotta look at the restrictions — and thankfully there aren’t many. The size limit is 8’6″.  I have that problem licked from the git-go, my design wall is only 7′ tall and 6′ wide when fully extended. “Can’t weigh more than 100 pounds and has to be easily handled by 2 people.” Last I checked I couldn’t find an assistant to help make that cumbersome piece, the help I keep longing for. You know that humble acolyte, the one you always see bustling around the huge, light-filled studios of major artists, effortlessly juggling huge elements, or better yet just listening intently as “the artist” brilliantly discusses the work, that person?  Not happening here. Definitely less than 100 pounds for this gal.

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Just uncrated, these FI13 pieces patiently wait to play well with others. Thanks to the Lauras — Domencic and Tabakman — for working the installation magic at PCA.

Work completed after 12/31/2013?  This is 2015, that shouldn’t be tough. Let’s suppose you worked like crazy, had a good year and much of your work is committed, so it’s unavailable. That’s the good news.  The bad news? Fiber takes time. So to make the deadline you need to work like a madwoman. Some pre-planning here would have been swell. But if you are like me pre-planning isn’t your style. I always have this fantasy that when the deadline comes I’ll discover a couple of eligible pieces I forgot I had. And they’re perfect! But sometimes the one I was counting on doesn’t meet the requirements after all. (See madwoman fallback strategy above.) Remember ALWAYS double check the requirements against your piece before submission.  Earlier is better than later.

Laura Tabakman's studio

Laura Tabakman’s studio.  Inspiration abounds.

Yes, I should be working on my piece right now, but instead I checked in with guild member Laura Tabakman. I love her work and I know a little bit about her process — so I had a feeling I might find a kindred spirit. “I can’t really help it,” Laura told me. “I’m a natural procrastinator! I put those deadlines into my calendar and do nothing, or may go in so many different directions that it’s hard to narrow them down; but the closer the deadline gets, the gears in my brain start moving and my hands start cranking. I feel the most motivated to work when I can see the finish line. I confess it doesn’t always work on time, but when it does, it feels great!”

So how do I get to the finish line? Right now none of it looks “good” enough to me, or it feels so last year, or it’s been done before, or everyone has seen it, so just shoot me now. This kind of thinking can send you into a tail spin before you figure out what to enter, and the deadline comes and goes before you know it, NOT good.  (Keep in mind for this show, even if you’ve shown your work in the area you can STILL submit the piece to FI2016, as long as it meets all the other guidelines.)

Penny Mateer's studio so many ideas deadline is looming

Penny Mateer’s studio. So many ideas and deadline is looming.

And don’t get me started on the photography, finding a photographer you can work with and book at the last minute is stressful enough. But often I have the images ready to upload and then read the dreaded digital submission requirements. What does 300dpi mean or minimum 1200 pixels on the longest side? My latest images are all 150dpi now what? Then each show wants you to label the jpegs differently.  When they say to name the file with the title, do you wonder if they mean the complete title? That could be really really long. Do short titles have an edge?

Penny Mateer's entry piecing it together

Penny Mateer’s entry.  Piecing it together.

As the FI2016 deadline draws near and I am tearing my hair out pulling my submission together (should materials include human hair?), I’ll sign off with this. Look at your work, check the requirements. Put aside any preconceptions of what piece might get in, just take the risk and submit your best work. Because no one will see it if you don’t put it out there. There’s still lots of time to enter and remember… if your work isn’t accepted, don’t take it personally. It has happened to all of us, it’s part of the process, and now you have new work ready to go for another show. FI2016 deadline: AUGUST 31. Good luck!