The Stretching Art and Tradition Challenge is an online, non-juried challenge. Our mission is to foster the growth of traditional and art quilters alike. Through the challenge theme, we give quilters, wearable artists and doll sculptors of various styles, backgrounds and experience levels the opportunity to produce and exhibit work that interprets the challenge theme in a loosely recognizable fashion. We have participants that have been with the challenge since its inception in 1999, some of whom have gone on to be published in widely distributed quilting and art quilting magazines. Stretching Art and Tradition 1-11 were exhibited in the Quilters' Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Starting in 2010, the Stretching Art and Tradition challenge was displayed at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. In 2016, Stretching Art and Tradition 17 traveled to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, Quilt Fest New Jersey, World Quilt New England and the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza.
The first challenge was conceived after the co-curators, Susan Heydt and Amy Nelson, met online, and then met at QHC in person in 1998. They came from different quilting backgrounds and created this challenge to cause each other to stretch from their comfort zones. Amy and Susan continue to enjoy creating and managing the Stretching Art and Tradition challenge.