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WICKED Cherrywood Challenge to be on display

Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics, a Brainerd business that makes fabric for quilters and sewists all over the world, sponsored the WICKED Cherrywood Challenge and will have its display open Friday at The Cherrywood Store, located in Colorz Quilt Shop...

Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics, a Brainerd business that makes fabric for quilters and sewists all over the world, sponsored the WICKED Cherrywood Challenge and will have its display open Friday at The Cherrywood Store, located in Colorz Quilt Shop in the Westport Shopping Center. Free-will donations will be donated to the Crow Wing County Food Shelf. The display will be shown through Jan. 1, 2015.

Cherrywood Fabrics, a hand-dyed fabric business in Brainerd, competed in a fabric challenge this past year. After a trip to New York City for a quilting event which included an outing to see "WICKED," Karla Overland, co-owner of Cherrywood, knew that this was the perfect theme for a challenge. Overland contacted the WICKED production company to get their blessing. Overland created three shades of lime green that would be the official "WICKED Bundle." She worked with the production's advertising agency, general manager and legal department to ensure everything was approved.

The contest was open to anyone. The rules were simple: use the three greens and black from the WICKED Bundle to create a 20-inch square quilt inspired by the theme "WICKED." The entire quilt had to be made from Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabric, but additional colors could be added as accents. Twenty-four finalists would be chosen and three top prizes of fabric. As an added incentive, The Gershwin Theater - home of WICKED - agreed to display the top 27 quilts in the theater until Jan. 3, 2015.

The Q Gallery at Franklin Arts Center displayed the entries for judging. The last quilt was received on Aug. 1, bringing the grand total to 114. The Cherrywood team hung them all in the gallery that day, invited six judges to choose the finalists, and opened it up to the public. The original plan was to choose 24 finalists who would travel to national quilt shows as a special exhibit. But after seeing people's reaction to all the quilts in one space, Overland decided they all had to stay together for dramatic impact. The entire collection of 114 quilts is now booked at 15 events all over the United States in 2015 after they leave Brainerd. Overland has been asked to give presentations about the exhibit at several shows, including the Minnesota Quilt Show in June. The American Quilters Society will have the display at most of their shows including "quilter's mecca," Paducah, Ky. Recently, the WICKED Challenge was featured on a television program called "Broadway Backstage." The program highlights all the new productions opening on Broadway for the Fall Season, with names like Matthew Broderick, Bradley Cooper and Nathan Lane.

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