The nonprofit Quilt Alliance presents a contest, exhibition, and auction of small wall quilts every year. Handi Quilter is a contest sponsor and is currently hosting the exhibition in our gallery.
The 2016 contest was for all quilters, who were encouraged to submit regardless of their style (traditional, modern, art) or technique (longarm, hand quilting, applique, pieced). This year’s theme is “Playing Favorites” and entrants were also encouraged to work deep inside their comfort zone and their happy place. The rules were simple: make a 16” by 16” wall quilt showcasing their very favorite pattern or technique. The results are amazing, and one lucky quilter was the winner of her choice of an HQ Sweet Sixteen or HQ Simply Sixteen. And that lucky quilter was Margaret Cibulsky of Port Washington, NY, for her piece, “My Garden.”
Margaret said this about her quilt: “The whole style of this quilt was an experiment. While my favorite way to make a quilt is improvisational piecing, I had never used this technique with the intention of using my work as the background for a natural scene. Another first was the free-cut blooms which I attached with raw-edge applique and then using some fancy stitches on my machine to create greenery. All in all, this little quilt is one of my favorites!”
The judges indicated that “We were all in agreement about the appropriateness of My Garden for this prize. The maker is clearly not stuck in any particular genre. Cone flowers and daisies bloom atop a somewhat “improvisational” background of random-size squares and rectangles, mostly—but not entirely—solids. The free-form flowers, though not ultra-realistic, are easily recognizable and nicely balanced. We love the lacy, embroidered stems and purple flowers that make up the lower third of the piece. Congratulations on a job well done!”
This quilt, Hypnotic Love, is by Maria Gonzalez Rico from Spain. She used optical effects to create a feeling of movement to draw your attention into the quilt. Maria’s quilt used raw-edge applique with great success, which is probably why it garnered the third-place prize.
Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill created this paper-pieced quilt featuring a hot-air balloon. Judge Mark Lipinski chose it for his judge’s choice award, saying “I found the overall impact of the work fresh and clean. The shapes within the balloon widen and grow, from slivers of lime green (representing the balloon’s flame) through various blues and finally to deep red- and blue-toned purples, giving the small quilt both heft and dimension. I thought the artist’s fabric choices thoughtful and effective—primarily solid colors with just the slightest bit of minimalistic patterned fabric tossed into the mix. The quilting is simple but efficient, made up of clean and clear straight lines that accent the shapes within the balloon, contrasted with the slightly wavy lines quilted in the background.”
Mary Whitaker used her favorite techniques of wool applique and stitch embellishment to create Skull Study 2. She added “The touch of the wool, threads, and embellishments while ‘painting’ with wool allow me to play and truly feed my soul with each project. I chose to play with the sugar skull for the embellishment opportunities and their part of the Dia de los Muertos celebration which is also my birthday!”
My personal favorite was Manhattan Mayhem by Michelle Banton. Her quilt also received an Honorable Mention. She definitely captured the hustle and bustle of New York City as she created a skyline of skyscrapers by drawing inspiration from a traditional Dresden Plate design. She added leather accents to her cotton quilt. Michelle drew on her experiences in NYC in creating this quilt: “I love seeing the colors, the people, the architecture, the smells and tastes – but I wouldn’t want to live there. Too much mayhem on a daily basis for me. In my quilting I’ve been having fun with the Dresden Plate and doing all sorts of variations.”
Congratulations to all who submitted quilts in this years’ Quilt Alliance challenge. Following the exhibition at Handi Quilter and later at Quilters Take Manhattan, the quilts will be auctioned off to benefit the Quilt Alliance. To see all of the submitted quilts, visit Quilt Alliance at www.quiltalliance.org.