Local fabric artists' renditions of Necco wafers, Almond Joy bars, Nestle Crunch and many more candies currently decorate the walls of Sandi Globus' Fabric of Vision shop at 145 E. Main St.

Karen Bates, 53, of Ashland, started the quilting "Challenge Group" about 15 years ago. She accepted the store owner's dare to design fabric artworks depicting their interpretation of some of Americans' most-loved candies and candy bars.

"I chose that challenge because the Chocolate Festival is coming up," said Globus. "It was fun to see how the people interpreted the various candies. And it's been interesting seeing my customers' reactions."

She pointed to one "literal" quilt of a Kit Kat bar that looked like a felt replica; an abstract interpretation

of a Crunch bar, where the outside wrapper and inner foils were woven into the quilt; and a large "Mounds" quilt with actual coconuts applied.

Bates chose Necco Wafers as her quilt because she had never seen or eaten one before.

"So I jumped on the Internet and did some research," she said. "I was so impressed with the company that I had to put facts on some of my circles. I sewed all of the circles to chicken wire for support. There is an actual Necco package on the quilt in the upper lefthand corner."

Denise Johnson, 57, of Ashland, created the Nestle Crunch quilt.

"I tend to work more in an abstract way," she said. "The jumping off point was the wrapper itself, and then I immediately started thinking about the textures I could use."

Johnson joined the challenge group two years ago and enjoys the creativity required for the challenges.

"Sandi (with Fabric of Vision) challenged us to interpret photos she had of butterflies. The Bead Studio challenged us with a monochromatic theme using beads. And the Key of C challenged us all to use the same 14 pieces of batik," she said, adding that her quilt from that challenge is hanging on the wall of the Key of C coffee shop.

The candy quilts will hang at Fabric of Vision through March.

Bates said the group is already working on its next challenge for May with US Bank. She said this time the quilters came up with their own challenge.

"It's called Cha-Ching, or Ka-Ching &

we haven't really agreed yet which is the proper term," said Bates.

The challenge is for all the quilters to incorporate a $1 bill, a credit card or a pocket. And everyone has to use the same green batik fabric.

Bates said the group's numbers have ebbed and flowed over the years and it's starting to pick up again.

"I have members from Grants Pass and California participating," she said. "The oldest is about 70 and the youngest is around 20."

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