Cherrywood Fabrics and Bob Ross
For the 5th year in a row, Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics presented their annual fabric challenge at Road to California. For 2020, the theme was Bob Ross, the iconic American painter, art instructor, and television host.
Mr. Ross was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States. It was also aired in Canada, Latin America, and Europe. His belief that everyone has “a creative need inside of us,” was the perfect inspiration for such a fabric challenge.
Cherrywood Fabrics began their fabric challenges in 2014 with their Wicked Challenge– based on the hugely successful Broadway play. Other challenge themes have included The Lion King, van Gogh, the musician, Prince, and 2019’s Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge.
All Cherrywood Challenges incorporate hues of Cherrywood’s 100% cotton dyed fabrics that look like suede. Up until the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge, fabric artists utilized four coordinating fabrics. The Bob Ross challenge doubled the fabric choices to eight.
Two hundred quilts were chosen for the entire Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge collection. The collection was divided into “trunks,” organized by when they arrived at Cherrywood’s offices to compete in the challenge. Certain trunks are chosen to travel to various destinations throughout 2019-2020. At Road to California’s 25th Anniversary Show, all 200 quilts were on display.
Meet the Makers of the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge
On Saturday afternoon of Road 2020, a few of the makers of the quilts in the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge, were on hand to answer questions about their experience and to autograph the official, Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge Book.
When raising her family, Cindy Thompson would relax by watching Bob Ross’ television program. “His technique was so fun. It blew me away,” she recalled. Like Bob Ross, Cindy is an artist and was really interested in doing the challenge. A veteran of two other Cherrywood Challenges (van Gogh and Prince), the hard part for Cindy with this challenge was the colors of the fabric; they weren’t exactly her favorite. She knew she wanted a couple of features to stand out in her quilt: a TV and Bob’s hair. With those decisions made, her quilt came together.
The Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge included the first mother/daughter winners, Sara and Clarice. The challenge was the first contest Sara had ever entered and Road to California was only the second quilt show she has ever attended. Sara is also an artist and she felt a responsibility to be credible with this project since Bob Ross “is an inspiration to all painters.” Sara chose to do a “self-portrait” and to keep it simple. Sara said it was a “fun” experience that pulled her in to the quilting world.
Sara’s entry was her first ever art quilt—and it was her mother’s first art quilt as well. Clarice is a quilter and loved doing this challenge with her daughter. Clarice commented how Bob Ross’ landscapes spoke to her on how anyone can “move mountains” and as Bob said, “You can do anything in your life.”
Maryland resident, Kathy Freeman, chose to use traditional quilt techniques in her entry because to her, Bob Ross’ paintings reminded her of folk-art quilts. Kathy’s quilt was entirely pieced; several hundred pieces in all. At Road, Kathy wore a knitted shawl she made in all seven colors of the challenge’s fabric palette. She purchased her yarn from independent knit dyers to match the exhibit.
Cherrywood’s 2020 Challenge
The Cherrywood Challenge for 2020 is Diana
The goal of this challenge is to take inspiration from Diana, Princess of Wales, in creating a unique quilt measuring 20” square, using the limited color palette of pink and white. Entries are due by July 1, 2020. Additional information for this challenge is on Cherrywood’s website.
Congratulations to all those whose quilts were exhibited at Road to California 2020. To see if the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge will be on display near you, check out the exhibit’s schedule.