Friday, March 26, 2010

Lyn Ballinger, and how our Challenge came into being.

This post is proving difficult to write, as unlike the majority of our group members I did not actually know Lyn Ballinger, but I do know of the high regard and the affection with which members of our group and the community held her and the immense sadness when she lost her battle with Cancer.

Lyn was a very sharing and energetic lady, there is a wealth of stories from crafters whom she either encouraged or helped with practical advice, both here on the coast and previously in her home town of Toowoomba.

Back in 2001, Lyn was talking to members of our patchwork group about a quilt she was entering into a competition and suggested that a few of the others also enter an item.  The general comment was "my quilt is not good enough", Lyn believed that everyone's quilt was good enough to put on show, and as such, she suggested a group Challenge.

The challenge title was 'Rainforest' and each member was given a piece of dapple green fabric and a piece of sweet pea fabric.  Lyn knew that sweet pea fabric would proved a challenge, and to date I haven't heard one person say 'Hey, I liked the sweet peas', nope, it was uniformly found to be a bit difficult to incorporate into a rainforest theme, with the result that many of the group used as little of the fabric as possible, some using so little and in such a disguised way, that led Judge Rose to comment that the fabric just wasn't used at all!!

Marguerite was the winner of the Rainforest Challenge with her 3-D depiction of forest vines and life,she used the reddish pink of the sweet peas to create her butterflies...........a great disguise.
When Lyn asked Marguerite what her plans were for her winning wallhanging, and got the answer of 'oh, probably pop it into the back of a cupboard' (or words to that effect), Lyn just couldn't accept that as a life for this winning treasure, she promptly organised a swap, her 'Forest Frog' wall hanging for Marguerite's.

Lyn's Forest Frog' hung in Marguerite's home until recently when Marguerite decided to donate Lyn's wallhanging to join the Challenge winners on the walls at the cottage.

These are some of the other entries in the 'Forest' Challenge.

Ailsa wasn't one of the minimisers, using the sweet pea fabric as her border as well as the 3 appliqued flowers on the tree trunk in her wallhanging that is chock full of forest wild life.

Maureen used a large swath of both the dappled green (3rd stripe from left) and the sweet peas in her 'Snakes' wallhanging.

Barbara, who is also a member of the pottery group, decided on a definite 3-D effect with this fantastic rendition of the challenge, enhancing the 3-D effect even more with the addition of a gecko pin on the tree trunk and buttons used as mushrooms and other fungi, hiding the challenge fabric in plain view as triangles in the borders.
 A closer view of the 3-D caterpillars at the bottom of Barbara's wallhanging.

 Dorothy used a blended vertical collage of fabrics as her background and added embroidered forest life.
 Judge Rose commented that Dorothy's colour scheme was the closest of all to a rainforest.

Miriam really took the project to heart, traveling up to the Hinterland Rainforest park to suss out the trees, leaves and general wildlife, and as an Irish touch stitched 3 golden fairies dancing in the sunbeam to remind her of home.
 While we were gathered around, admiring Miriam's work, she mentioned the inspiration and enthusiasm that Lyn imparted with the 'Rainforest' challenge and that she had never before put so much thought and effort into creating any of her other work - it was a statement that all around the table agreed with, many telling their own stories of the extra effort made for the challenge.

Sheila was one of the many gals who did minimise the sweet pea fabric, Judge Rose was unable to locate the fabric at all........can you?
 yep, that's it, some of those itsy little bits inserted into the binding......Well it was the first challenge and no one had stated how much fabric you had to use...........of course now that has been rectified with a strictly enforced % rule, I've even seen Judges get out the ruler.........true!

In 2003 the Lyn Ballinger Challenge was created to honour Lyn and the wonderful work that she had done for our Patchwork Group, the unstinting encouragement of other members to be proud of their own work and for being a driving force behind establishing our ever so successful Biennial Quilt Show.

We have since added a perpetual trophy for the yearly winner of the Lyn Ballinger viewers choice award, a quilt display stand, and let me tell you, it is fiercely contested, everyone wants their name on one of those little plaques on that stand!
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