2013 Challenge

26 09 2013

Last weekend was my annual quilt retreat weekend with ‘the girls’. This year Michelle set our challenge — an abstract of one of the five senses. The sense I picked out of the hat was taste; the others selected one of the other four senses at random.

I’m continually blown away by the creativity of my friends when we do these annual challenges, and this year was no exception. Here’s how we interpreted (in abstract) our selected sense… (Click on a photo to view it larger.)

Michelle: Smell

Michelle titled her art quilt ‘Odiferous’ (aka ‘Whiffy Wafts’!), with the hombre (?) fabrics graduating from small whiffs to full on wafting smells. I love how she used the graduated light to dark grey fabrics in the border especially, and the graduated coloured fabrics for the wafts. And her quilting was to die for — so small and detailed! The entire quilt is about 30×36″, so it’s not big.


Glenys: Sight

Glenys knew what she wanted to do as soon as she got her challenge last year 😉 Sight = eyes = optical illusions, so she created this stunning — and big — black and white quilt that changes shape as you look at it from different angles. at times, the centre pops like a big orb, and from other angles, you can see a huge ‘X’. But the reality is that it’s all an illusion — every black and white block is the same size and shape. The illusions are created by the placement of the small appliqued black and white squares in the centre blocks.


Flora: Hearing

Flora had lots of discussions with her husband and grandsons on how to approach her selected sense: ‘hearing’. Her grandsons were keen on her doing something with music, particularly guitars. Flora’s an embroiderer so she added quite a bit of hand stitching and small and large beads as embellishments to her lovely guitar-themed art quilt, which is based on Robbi Joy Eklow‘s style of abstracting objects such as guitars.


Bobbie: Touch

Bobbie blindfolded us (thanks Qantas for all those eye masks I’ve kept over the years ;-)) and got us to come up to her big cutting table where we had to feel different parts of her quilt (certain bits stuck out, were soft, hard, feathery etc.). As with many of her quilts, her inspiration was the earth and the seasons. Her tree limbs are feet digging into the ground and hands reaching for the sky, and she incorporated aspects of all of nature’s seasons going around the quilt. She machine embroidered the apple blossoms and the snowflakes (?), and the texture in the summer and autumn leaves comes from the batik fabrics she used for them. Her quilting for each season and sky/earth aspect reflects that season or element of nature. This is a large quilt and now has pride of place in Bobbie’s entry hall!




Rhonda: Taste

I also blindfolded the girls, then fed them small pieces of citrus fruits — lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange — to see if they could distinguish between sour, bitter and sweet. Most spat out the lime, lemon, and grapefruit and were glad that a piece of sweet orange was at the bottom of the bowl I’d given them 😉 Once they’d removed their blindfolds, I revealed my piece, which I’d mounted on black batting on a portable design wall. I got lots of ‘ooos’ and ‘ahhhs’ and some ‘OMGs!!’, with Michelle saying that I MUST MUST enter this piece in next year’s QuiltWest. Each panel is about 15×21″(details on the process for creating this piece start here: https://rhondabracey.com/2013/09/20/2013-challenge-coming-to-a-decision/)






And then the reveal was all over for another year. We’re taking a break from a formal challenge in 2014 — three of us are still working and two in particular are finding it hard to complete the challenge in amongst life, work, family and all sorts of other commitments.

However, our ‘challenge’ for 2014 is to come up with at least three challenge themes each to go into a hat for future years. We’ve now been doing the challenge and retreat at Bobbie’s beautiful house for five years, so we’ve each had a go at setting a challenge. I know I’ve learned an awful lot by pushing and extending myself in these challenges, and I’m sure the others have too.

Finally, one of the things we do on the evening that we do the reveal is have ‘show and tell’ of some of the other things we’ve worked on during the year, so these next photos are from ‘show and tell’. Mine aren’t included as I couldn’t take photos as well! If I get photos of mine from the others, I’ll add them later.


Bobbie’s blue and white double wedding ring quilt that she started in 2012 — all finished!


Glenys’ cat quilt, also started in 2012


One of the quilts Glenys made for her shop to feature some of the new Halloween fabrics. Just love that owl!


Another that Glenys made for her shop featuring hexagons in a particular fabric range


One of Gleny’s staff made this hexagon quilt. Heaven knows how she did that binding!


This was a community quilt I worked on over the weekend. I took the photo to show the effect that quilting has on a quilt — it was quite plain with just ‘stitch in the ditch’ as you can see in the area of the lower right, so the community quilt ladies asked me to liven it up a bit.


One of the pieces Michelle worked on during the weekend — this will be a banner for her shop’s stand at craft/quilt fairs. One of her staff did the centre applique work — Michelle did the stunning quilting in just a couple of hours on Bobbie’s Sweet Sixteen.