Judges

Below is the list of judges who will be judging the entries submitted for judging at the Capital of Texas QuiltFest.

Heather Grant

Heather Grant

AAQG is welcoming Heather Grant is a judge for 2018 QuiltFest. A quilter in her early 20s, Heather Grant stopped quilting until 2005, when she was inspired by the modern quilting movement and made her first modern quilt. Heather is the founder of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild.

Heather is a major player in the modern quilting movement not only in Texas but across the country. She is been responsible for overseeing content development for the Modern Quilt Guild and QuiltCon, events, including working as a faculty member, marketing, public relations and sponsor sales. Heather volunteered as the Events Manager of the first QuiltCon starting in 2011 and was the guild's first employee in 2012.

She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, son and too many pets.


Cynthia England

Cynthia England

AAQG is proud to have Cynthia England as a judge for the first time at QuiltFest.

Cynthia England is a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston and has been creating quilts for more than thirty years. Experimentation with quilting techniques led her to develop her own unique style "Picture Piecing".

Cynthia's quilts have been honored with many awards, including two Best of Shows at the prestigious International Quilt Association. Her quilt, Piece and Quiet was distinguished as one of the Hundred Best Quilts of the 20th Century. Cynthia teaches and lectures nationally and internationally.

In addition, she is the designer and owner of England Design Studios which is a publishing/pattern company which specializes in the "Picture Piecing" technique. She has over 50 patterns that use this technique.


Marilyn Hardy

Marilyn Hardy

We are welcoming Marilyn Hardy of Tyler, Texas as a QuiltFest judge, she was also a judge in 2016. She was one of the founding members of the Quilters Guild of East Texas. Through the years she has served her guild in many capacities, including president, quilt show chairman, judging coordinator, and newsletter editor. For her service to the guild, she was honored with a lifetime membership.

For Marilyn quilting is more than a hobby-it is a major focus and passion. She loves making quilts and has won numerous ribbons in quilt shows. It was through her involvement as quilt show judging coordinator that Marilyn became interested in the process of judging quilt shows. She began judging and went further to become a National Quilting Association Certified Judge in 2008. She has also completed the requirements of Master Quilt Judge, and in 2012 was one of three NQA Certified Judges to judge their national show in Columbus, Ohio. She currently serves as Education Chair on the board of the National Quilting Association.

JUDGING PHILOSOPHY - As a quilt show judge, I recognize, reward, and encourage excellence in quilt design, workmanship, and creativity. My hope is that the comments I make as a judge will be insightful, helpful, and encouraging to the person who dedicated herself to starting and finishing a quilt.


De Leclair

Diane (De) Leclair
National Quilting Association Certified Judge

We are welcoming back De as a judge for QuiltFest!

Diane (De) is a self-taught applique artist who has been crafting quilts since 1981. Her quilts feature the colors of nature and showcase her love for applique. Her work has appeared and won awards at local, regional and national quilt shows including six Best of Show Awards and five Viewer's Choice Awards. She is the recipient of the distinguished Masterpiece Quilt Award given by the National Quilt Association for Coeur du Vigne in June 2006.

De is an active member of the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild. She is a member of the International Quilting Association, American Quilter's Society, The Applique Society and The National Quilting Association. De has served on the NQA Board as the Masterpiece Quilt Coordinator 2012-2015. She has judged local, regional and national level quilt shows including the 39th National Quilting Association Annual Show, The Home Machine Quilter's Show and The Dallas Quilt Celebration.

"Judging is a natural extension of my passion for quilting. I believe it is important to encourage and promote growth of quilting at all levels. I am continually amazed at the creativity displayed by quilters in their art. Most of all I love the art of quilting and the closeness it fosters in all of us." De obtained her Judging Certification by the National Quilting Association in 2002 and qualified to judge Masterpiece quilts in 2005.

Judging is a serious process for De. She feel each quilt maker works long and hard on their piece and it deserves her full attention. The judge's written critique is an important learning tool for the entrant and it is her opportunity to convey to the maker what they have successfully accomplished and areas which require attention. She anticipate and looks for excellence in workmanship which supports the design expressions of the quilt maker. She love every aspect of quilting and is continually amazed at the innovative ways quilters construct and express their design ideas.


Serena Stiles Vrnak

Serena Stiles Vrnak
National Quilting Association Certified Judge

We are welcoming Serena back as a judge for QuiltFest!

Quilting is Serena's passion and hobby. She has sewn all her life, and studied Fashion Merchandising at Texas Christian University. She also taught school with her Elementary Education/Kindergarten degree.

Serena decided to enter the judging world to promote and encourage this ever changing art form known as quilting. She entered the National Quilting Association Certified Judging program and was ultimately certified in June of 2010. She is also a member of the newly formed judging organization NACQJ.

For Serena, Judging Certification meant she could bring to each show the full breadth of knowledge necessary for objectively critiquing a quilt. It became the vehicle to understanding each and every process in order to give entrants an equal opportunity.

Serena is an active member in many quilt related organizations (NQA, AQS, etc.) and her local Tyler guild (Quilters Guild of East Texas). She has shown her quilts and won at various shows throughout the region (the Tyler Quilt Show, the Dallas Quilt Show, the Gun Barrel Quilt Show, the Ft.Worth Trinity Valley Quilt Show, and the Waco Quilt Show). In 2011and 2014 Serena entered the National Quilting Association Quilt Show, winning both times. And, her red and white quilt entitled "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions" has traveled with the IQA exhibit, "Ruby Jubilee". This quilt is also published in the "QuiltART Engagement Calendar, 2016".

Judging for Serena is a process she hopes will encourage, empower and enable all needle artists. She views the critique sheet as a tool and opportunity to communicate with the entrant about their creative endeavor. Serena firmly believes it is an honor to be allowed to critique the work of another.