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The Prince Cherrywood Challenge

What a tradition Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics has started!!

For the past four years, Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics has sponsored a unique quilt challenge. Using the themes of famous musicals and people, entrants are given a palette of Cherrywood Hand Dyed fabrics that accentuate the theme to come up with their own unique design. It began with the musical Wicked, then The Lion King, followed by artist, Vincent van Gogh. In 2018, the challenge was Prince—the iconic Purple Rain singer and actor who passed away in 2016.

The Prince Cherrywood Challenge received 388 submissions and of those, 165 were chosen as finalists to be juried in to the Prince traveling show. The Special Exhibit of the Prince Cherrywood Challenge came to Road to California 2019 and was seen by over 42,000 guests. On Saturday of the Show, some of the Prince finalists came to the show to sign books and share how they came up with their winning idea.

First time entrants, Florann Ramsey and Cindy Meyers, were excited to be included. Cindy entered because she loves the color purple and she loves Prince.

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

Florann took her project on a family vacation to begin work on it. Her kids said her original design was “awful,” so she went back to the drawing board to come up with her winning design which is based on three of Prince’s songs.

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

Barb Zeleznik’s “Vinyl Prince,” is a tribute to all of Prince’s record albums. She included Prince’s face, signature and star from First Avenue.

Michelle Baker and Annette McCusker are sisters. Michelle lives in Montana and Annette lives in Glendora, California. Michelle had previously been a part of Cherrywood’s vanGogh exhibit. When Annette saw her sister’s work last year, it gave her the courage to try this contest. Says Annette, “being accepted was a bonus!”

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit
Michelle Baker

Annette’s daughter, Tracy, who is an artist, came up with the designs for both her mom’s and aunt’s winning quilts. Michelle’s quilt, “Beautiful One,”  has lots of Prince symbolism: music staffs, scariness, and of course, a dove. Annette’s winning design, “Good Morning,” has an electronic music theme.      

Several Prince Cherrywood Challenge winners were also accepted for the Cherrywood van Gogh Challenge Exhibit last year:

Diane Mezerkor’s daughters (who are in their 40’s) knew many of Prince’s songs and gave their mom ideas on how to utilize “Little Red Corvette,” in her design.

Kay Loboda said she chose her theme, “Mysterious Prince,” because “you never knew what was going on with him; he didn’t give any clue to his emotions.

Sally Wright confided that “I had missed the Prince generation.” Around the time of the announcement of the challenge, Sally had an appointment with her CPA to do her taxes and she asked him what he knew about Prince. He said he sang, “Starfish and Coffee,” every night to his kids. After listening to the song for the first time, Sally fell in love with imagery of the lyrics.

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

Because she was so inspired last year, there was no doubt that Cindy Thompson wanted to participate in the next Cherrywood Challenge. Her “Reigning Prince,” includes a paisley crown and teardrops for “rain.”

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

Nancy Causey was another winner who didn’t know much about Prince when she applied for the challenge. “A challenge forces you to learn,” said Nancy. Her quilt was a collage of who Prince was.

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

Four Time Participant

Marilyn Fromherz was the only quilter at Road who had winning entries in all four Cherrywood Challenges. “I wouldn’t have missed it,” she exclaimed. She loves the fabric and tries new techniques each year to enhance it. For the Prince Cherrywood Challenge, she utilized stenciling, fusibles, and embroidery to set the stage. “It was a fun thing to do.”

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

The next Cherrywood Challenge was on display at the Cherrywood Booth during Road to California. The theme for 2019 is “The Happy Painter,” Bob Ross. He hosted the popular PBS show, The Joy of Painting, which ran from 1983-1994.

For the first time, instead of using one color palette for the challenge, Cherrywood has selected eight different fabric colors. Prospective contestants have until July 1, 2019 to submit their entries.

Prince Cherrywood Challenge Exhibit

For more information about the Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics and their Challenges, please visit their website.


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