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2017 12 x 12 Challenge ‘Magic, Mystery & Legend’

Midsomer Quiltings annual customer 12 x 12 challenge is once again on and as impressive and creative as always.

For the past six years they have challenged their visitors to create 12”x12” mini-quilts, on a given theme. The quilts are then exhibited at the shop. Most of them are donated by their creators for sale, by secret auction, during the exhibition. Since 2011 the annual Challenges have raised over £10,000 for charity; the last four of them for Dorothy House Hospice. Last year £3,030 was raised for the Hospice.

You can read more about the original American 12 x 12 challenge here as well as seeing all the entries to the previous challenges.

Below are a few of my favourites, if you would like to see all of this years entries and maybe even place a secret bid in the hope of winning one see below.

If I can’t get to the Challenge exhibition, how can I bid?
This year the exhibition includes the 1000th 12×12 that we’ve included since the first challenge in 2011. A lady in Austin, Texas, has already enquired how she might bid for one of this year’s 12x12s and it occurs to us that there may be others who’d be similarly interested. Consequently, pictures of all of this year’s quilts that are offered for sale are available on Flickr so that anyone can view them and if interested can make bids, that, if successful, will benefit Dorothy House Hospice. If you wish to bid please email us at De@MidsomerQ.com with your bid including the Number and Title of the 12 x 12 . All online bids must be in by 23:59 GMT on Sunday 18th December. 

Its been a family affair this year as you may have seen in an earlier blog post.

Chris had asked if I would like to exhibit some of my latest work whilst the 12 x 12 was on, as it was where this all started.  My Blackbird singing in the dead of night entry in 2014 started this whole wonderful journey!

Sometimes we need to be pushed a little in life and face a new challenge….

Sometimes what seems a small almost insignificant step can lead to a large change in your life.  The 2014 12 x 12 challenge at Midsomer Quilting was one of these occasions. The theme that year was ‘Music’ and one of my entries was based on the song ‘Blackbird Singing in the dead of night’ by the Beatles.

This very simplistic piece started me on a new path. I so enjoyed creating this little bird that I started to design and make others. The order these came about can be seen in the scrapbook below.

It was after I had made 4 of these pieces that Chris suggested I had an exhibition at the shop! The whole idea seemed ludicrous and frankly rather daunting. That said Chris is nothing if not persistent and persuasive. We discussed how many pieces I would need and I made a quite non-committal reply saying I would see how it went.

Eight months later we started hanging the 12 pieces ready for the exhibition.

So much has happened since that first little Blackbird was created

Textile art ticks all my boxes. I love sketching, choosing (and purchasing) new fabrics and then painting the tiny details with thread. . I love the hunt for a colour or pattern that is the answer to the specific area of a project I am working on.

I have become obsessed with creating birds through this medium.

One of the things I love about making a piece of textile Art is never having to face that scary blank page; once a backing fabric has been selected, the scene is set and you are off. Fabrics are so inspiring; it fascinates me how they jump out at me and provide me with the answers to tricky areas. That said sometimes I get so carried away with the stitching that I look back and wonder why I spent so much time on the fabric selection!

Since this first challenge back in 2014 I have been experimenting and the series of pieces I have created since have been instrumental in stretching my technical and creative abilities and have helped me to find a subject and style that I love.

Since joining the Contemporary Quilters West group I have been inspired and challenged to develop my ideas. I have loved creating these pieces and have immersed myself in the birds and their stories. The pieces all have a story to tell and have allowed me to develop my techniques and break away from my typical format.

This journey is continuous as each piece teaches me something new or gives me ideas for the next project. So many bird, so many ideas….so little time!

After 20 years in the NHS and a move in Somerset in 2008 I had been looking for something new, it is still quite unbelievable that a small challenge entry could have changed my life in such a pleasurable way

We hope that by featuring these pieces at the exhibition other people may try something new and find that it takes them somewhere unexpected too…

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Midsomer Quilting 12 x 12 Challenge 2016

This year its a family affair, all four of us are having a go!

The title this year is Magic, Mystery and Legend

Since 2011 Midsomer Quilting on the Mendips in Somerset have held their own 12 x 12 challenge for their customers.  This fundraising event has raised thousands of pounds for Dorothy House Hospice.  You can read more about the challenge here and on a earlier blog post of mine from 2012 here.

Not surprisingly my entry is bird related, though in a very different style to my usual work – it had to be a Phoenix.  I had great fun playing with such a different design and used some metallic threads.

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Chris at MQ has always said that it fascinates him the number of their quilting customers who have engineering partners – I am no exception and Murray this year decided to also take up the challenge but in metal.  The idea was based on the Dragon Smaug from J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’  – in his under ground lair full of treasure.  He’s enjoyed creating the piece below in  his ‘Man-Cave’, using an array of welding equipment.  Its sharper than the average 12×12 though!

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Below, the finished product – it may need to be displayed on an easel as its very heavy!

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Lucy and I recently went on a two part course with Claire Passmore at MQ  called Claire’s Techniques and Further Techniques.  We had a brilliant time playing and experimenting.  One of her favourite techniques was using lino printing.  Her piece, based on Glastonbury Tor is made using the techniques Claire taught us.

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We live very close to Glastonbury Tor, I love Lucy’s simplified image, especially the winding path.  Below, ready for printing.

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The course has been a great introduction to the techniques out there as she started a GCSE course in Art Textiles this September.  Claire is a fabulous teacher, so many great ideas, really enthusiastic and supportive.  We both thoroughly recommend going on one of her workshops.

Below, printing in progress.

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Below the printings finished, all that is left is some simple stitching.

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Megan our youngest, loves creating, whether it baking or sewing.  She’s dabbled with Free-machine embroidery before and I have written about what she has made in an earlier blog post you can read here.

Her idea was to make a ‘Superstition Dragon’, who would be breathing out lots of well known sayings and superstitions.

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Above, transferring the image onto Bondaweb.

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Fabrics selected and Bondaweb transfers ready to iron onto fabrics.

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Cut out pieces ironed onto baking paper.

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Final selection of backing fabric.

All pieced and ready for stitching – next weekends challenge as homework to finish…

Lost of this has been done in a day!  Good job we had the extra hour…..

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