Art Quilt challenges

Posted by Ruth on 7 April 2013 | 0 Comments


Up until 2000 I'd been busy making art quilts for galleries who would sell them. It was fun and exciting creating new original pieces however it wasn't very profitable. At this time, I had entered a few NZ Hoffman Challenges always having my piece accepted for travel on display throughout the different venues.

"In A Distance" was one entry. I used prospective for this as you can see with the flying geese going inward toward the center block. It almost looks like the Clematis flower is at the end of a tunnel.

In A Distance

The last entry I made for the NZ Hoffman challenge was a piece I called "Blue Tears". I made a vest that had a lot of stitching on it. In the photo, you can see the challenge fabric best on the inside as I used it mostly for the lining with just small amounts on the outside.

Blue Tears (front)

This piece won third prize and was the first ever item of clothing to gain a placing. It has always been one of my favorites.

I used a gold lame with a sheer fabric over it and then cut out areas of the sheer fabric so the gold would show. Here's what the back looked like.

Blue Tears (back)

"Deep Purple" was a fun challenge. The rule for this challenge was the quilt had to be mostly made up of purple fabrics. This one was entered in a US art quilt challenge and gained third prize.

Deep Purple

During 2000 and the few years to follow I was involved a lot with the Internet and making contact with quilters all over the world. I joined many groups including Kiwi Quilters and the NZ and Australian Arty quilters group. The following pieces are all entries entered in these two groups. 

Falling Leaves won best machine quilting.

Falling Leaves

As did "Imagination" the following year.


In fact, "Imagination" was published in a Japanese magazine which I received a copy of. I couldn't understand any of the writing, but the quilt sure looked good.

The Arty Quilt challenges weren't judged, they were just collected and exhibited throughout the group. Each one was based on a word or post card image and we had to interept our thoughts and ideas into an A4 sized art quilt. It was a good time to experiment with different media and try new techniques. I made several of these.

"Prince Charming out my Window" had the challenge word "Transparency". I created web like threads on the sewing machine using Solvy which is a plastic like material that dissolves in warm water. 

Prince Charming out my Window

For "When Dreams Come alive" we had to finish the phrase "When Dreams...". I had fun creating this small, non-square shaped piece using three elements. Romance, fireworks and diamonds.

When Dreams Come Alive

"I See Red" had to have red included in the piece. I was experimenting with prairie points at the time. This was fun and how I actually came up with "Imagination" above.

I See Red

"Rugged West Coast" was based on a post card of New Zealand's west coast. I was experimenting with different thicknesses of thread and the bobbin for this.

Rugged West Coast

"Thread Play" was based on another postcard. This was one of my first attempts using photos on fabric and intense stitching. I developed that to write my first e-book and an online class.

Thread Play

"Heat Rays" was based on heat. I didn't get this quilt long. I was sold as it was travelling so it spent little time in my hands.

Heat Rays

It was through the Arty Quilters that I got to know Sue Wademan, an Australian who was also a teacher. I had the pleasure of being her student in one of the New Zealand Symposiums where I was also teaching. She held the landscape challenge in which I entered "Native New Zealand", the piece I wrote about last week.

Native New Zealand

When the Hoffman Challenge stopped in New Zealand for a number of years because there was no one to host it, I moved on and began entering the USA Hoffman Challenge. I entered several years in a row and all pieces were selected for travel. 

"Celtic Storm" was made of foundation pieced Storm at Sea blocks with a Celtic design using the challenge fabric over the top. I made it like a color wheel using the primary and secondary colors.

Celtic Storm

"Cherry Blossoms" was another piece. The fabric was black with a cherry print. I made it into a unique type of Bargello where you need to stitch and cut three time rather than the regular two times.

Cherry Blossoms

"Flight" was another Hoffman challenge which I used layering techniques. Unfortunately the photo I have of this isn't that great.


In recent years I haven't had as much time to enter challenges. In fact, I really haven't had a lot of time to make art quilts, but one day I plan to get back into them.

I hope you enjoyed my show and tell this weekend.

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