WAGIN woman Lyn Pike never thought she was creative until she took on the patchwork, quilting and appliqué head steward's job at the Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.
The event is on this Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6.
That was in 2004 and, as inspired as she was by the entries, it took more than three years before she plucked up the courage to start cutting into fabric.
She was daunted by the prospect of cutting into beautiful fabric and making mistakes, but now she is skilled and artistic in her own right and still wants to learn more.
Over the years as head steward Ms Pike has thrown out challenges to her fellow quilters who have responded with everything from traditional conservative designs to more way-out creations that even included rust-dyed fabric.
The section has 13 classes but the feature is the theme quilt that must be a recognisable interpretation of the theme or include a maker's statement.
The theme changes annually.
Last year it was 'architecture' and the class winner, sown by local lady Wendy Pederick, was also the best quilt of the show and a stunning piece for its intricate workmanship and beauty.
This year the theme is 'two-colour quilt'.
To Ms Pike the patchwork section is less about a competition and more about being a display to stimulate others' creativity
"Since COVID started there has been a lot about people wanting to do things at home and patchwork is something that lends itself to that," Ms Pike said.
"We hope we can give people inspiration to have a go and see what they can do; and it doesn't have to be perfect - some are not - it is the overall impact that counts.
"If you put something together yourself you know where the minor not-quite-so-good points are but the overall effect is often incredibly stunning."
She said it was a source of great pride for people to have their artistic endeavours on display but she is also aware how threatening it can be when the public judges and criticises.
"But I hope we don't have too much of that happening - it is mainly a positive, supportive thing and Jocelyne Leath our judge for the past few years is an absolutely brilliant lady."
As an acknowledged international judge, quilter and artist WA-based Ms Leath has won numerous awards in Australia and overseas and been listed in the Who's Who of Australian Women.
"She is a down-to-earth person who is right into encouraging people and delivers a written critique on each quilt that is full of positivity and each person has a capacity to learn from the experience," Ms Pike said.
She is keen to attract more people to craft.
"We are a small sewing group that has a few quilters and we also go to Heather Jefferies' Quilting Barn retreat at Duranillin but we are starting to slow down as we get older," she said.
Ms Pike believes COVID may have reignited interest in quilting judging by the number of people putting up free patterns on the internet and the big number who seem to be happy to share basic patterns to encourage people to have a go and enable that creative aspect of their personality.
"Since I have been running the section the minimum number of quilts we have had on display is 25 and the maximum has been 47,'' she said.
"I never really thought I had a creative aspect until I discovered quilting and I feel a real sense of pride when I see something I made - and I know it's not perfect - but, when I see it up on the wall and people walking past and admiring, it is very pleasing."
In her quilting life she has produced about 20 quilts, saying some can take an entire year to make.
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