At Road to California 2015 – The 20th Anniversary Show, Cherrywood Fabrics presented their popular The WICKED Cherrywood Challenge special exhibit.
Road 2017 will be hosting Cherrywood’s second in their series of quilt challenges, The Lion King Cherrywood Challenge 2016. Explains Karla Overland, owner of Cherrywood Fabrics, “The Lion King was a natural progression after doing “WICKED” for our first challenge. The resources we had for that first challenge led me to the Lion King and it happens to be their 20th Anniversary in 2017. They will be showing off some of the quilts at the Minskoff Theatre in November of 2017.”
The exhibit is made up of 120 small art quilts that were submitted for The Cherrywood Challenge 2016. When displayed together, they create a dramatic (jaw-dropping) visual experience that covers 80 feet. The cohesive color, size, theme and texture of the Cherrywood fabric makes it easy for the viewer to see the entire exhibit as a whole. The excitement of discovering all the details of each little work of art makes this collection unforgettable.
All entrants started with the same four hand-dyed Cherrywood fabrics (golds and black) and designed their own original quilts within a 20-inch square. Accent colors had to be Cherrywood as well, but techniques were wide open. Karla said that they “saw many examples of thread painting, coloring with pencils and pens, Zen tangle drawing, intricate piecing, all kinds of appliqué methods, and even tatting. Images of the final squares were uploaded to ArtCall, a website designed for the jury process. A panel of three jurors was enlisted to select the final quilts for the exhibit using a point system. It was an extremely difficult process considering there were over 300 quilts entered from 41 states and 9 countries. After the 120 finalists were sent to Cherrywood, three prize winners were chosen as well as a “Cherrywood Choice” and 20 “Disney’s Choice” quilts – they could not decide on just one!
Compared to the WICKED exhibit, The Lion King Challenge is slightly larger than WICKED which had 114 quilts. Since there were so many more submissions for The Lion King Challenge, Cherrywood was able to get the cream of the crop and select exactly what they wanted for the traveling collection. It was interesting to Cherrywood to see the wide variety of interpretations, skill level and workmanship.
The exhibit made its debut at AQS QuiltWeek Grand Rapids in August 2016. After traveling with AQS in the fall, it will be shown at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Texas. The 2017 season kicks off with Road to California. After Road 2017, the exhibit will continue on to 13 other locations, ending up at the Minskoff Theater in New York City.
Cherrywood has been able to already meet several of the artists who worked on the exhibit. While each quilt has an artist statements that adds to the quilt, Karla remarked, that hearing “them tell their stories in person is the best part of this adventure. We did get submissions from well-known quilt artists, and yet several people said they had never tried a challenge, or had never shown their work in public, and some had just started quilting!” Karla was able to meet the first place winner, Jill Cranford, and her family. Karla said that Jill “was a young woman who had sewn her whole life and was quietly teaching herself quilting on her own. I was so impressed with her workmanship from the design concept which has many layers, to the perfect stitching, both machine and hand. It is good to see up-and-comers in the quilting world.”
As with any quilt challenge, the intent of this project was to allow people to push themselves beyond what they are used to; try working with colors and fabrics they normally would not have chosen; and grow creatively. As Karla observed, “It is not easy to put yourself out there.” A photo book of the exhibit has been created to give the artists a chance to have their work published and be part of a timeless collection.
What will be Cherrywood Fabrics next quilt challenge? They will be announcing the new theme at Quilt Festival in Houston. Stay tuned…