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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Quilts and Quiltmaking in America

[Detail] 1994 Judges' Choice Winner; Susan's Fan.

Contest Judge

While the Lands' End winners' notes provide a lot of information about what they hoped to accomplish through their quilts, there is no information about why the judges selected these quilts as winners. By taking on the role of a Lands' End contest judge, students can learn about art and how to evaluate it. Present students with the winning quilts from one of the three contests represented in the collection, and tell them that they must choose one winner from among them. Remind them that the contest is called the "All-American Quilt Contest", and that it is sponsored by Coming Home, a division of Lands' End, and by Good Housekeeping. The theme of the contest is "If Quilts Could Talk." Students can use the following questions to help them choose a winner. When they've finished, have them share and explain their choices with each other in a class discussion.

  • As a judge, what aspects of the quilts are you going to consider in your evaluation? Some aspects might include: the technical skill demonstrated; the use of color; the difficulty of the pattern; the originality of the pattern or subject matter; the meaning or message of the quilt; the authenticity of the quilt.
  • Which of these factors will you value most highly? Why?
  • What impact will the contest name and theme have upon your decision?
  • Does the winning quilt need to express "Americaness"? What does it mean to be American?
  • Will the nature of the sponsors of this contest impact your decision at all?