In October of 2006, I came across an on-line group which had started just the month before; it called itself the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge (FFFC).
Their goal was to encourage quick work at creating quilted artwork. On the fourth Friday of each month, one group member would post a challenge which included a theme and an artistic element, and the goal was to post your piece by Saturday of the following week.
By chance, the theme for this second month was Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”, a poem that I had memorized as a child and loved, but many of the members apparently had never seen or read it. It is full of words that Carroll had concocted himself yet conveys a haunting set of images. I took the phrase “the vorpal blade went snicker-snack!” and put in a hand (mine!) holding a sword, with a colorful swirl of dots from the tip of the sword extending down to the hand. When my husband asked what that was, I answered “vorpality” and that became the title of the piece.
As month after month passed, I found myself eagerly anticipating the morning of each fourth Friday when the next challenge dropped into my inbox.
Prior to the FFFC, it might take me a few months from the initial idea of a piece of artwork to its completion. While I did not always finish one of these challenges within that time span, it certainly sped the process, and I would post my creation, if not by the end-of-challenge Saturday, usually within a week of that day.
After maybe the 50th challenge, the moderator of the group announced that she wanted to either end the challenge, or pass it along to someone else, and I took over that post. The moderator’s role was to recruit members to create a challenge, work to hone their ideas, and finally to post it on a blog and send a group e-mail with the challenge. Each submitted artwork was accompanied by some of the thought process that led to its creation, a photo of the work, and possibly some detail shots, and other members could submit further commentary.
Of the 100 challenges, I completed 76 of them, and all but two of them are up on this website. It proved indeed a great source of inspiration.
I led the group up until December 2014, when only a couple members were submitting their work, and posted this challenge as a combination of any two previous challenges. The Fast Friday blog still exists online, and on looking at it, I was surprised to find two new entries in July 2021.