Quilters bring their skills to the Clark County Fairgrounds; the winning entry took two and a half years to complete.

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VANCOUVER, Wash. — A great deal of admiration made its way through the 43rd annual Clark County Quilters quilt show Saturday as quilters and onlookers studied intricate lines, color choices and unique works of art all tied together with one central idea.

The show’s theme, “Once in a Blue Moon,” asked participants to draw on a rare celestial occasion for inspiration.

Featured quilter Lynn Czaban drew from the lighter side of the theme. Her self-portrait, all in blue, played on a bright idea only occurring once in a blue moon. Her bright idea was that she had inspiration for the quilt to begin with.

Czaban is known for her portrait quilts, several of which were on display at this year’s show at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Czaban said she saw her first portrait quilt in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since.

“This has been really one of those happy accidents that has opened up a whole opportunity for me to teach and give presentations and I just really have enjoyed it,” she said.

Portrait quilts on display feature her interpretation of the “Mona Lisa,” “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and “American Gothic,” among several other famous works of art.

“I’m inspired by photographs that have great eyes,” she added.

Judith Phelps was also inspired by this year’s theme to create a thread-painted quilt featuring horses and a blue moon.

“I’ve always loved fabric and I’ve always loved art,” Phelps said. “The thing I like about thread is it has a sheen to it, and you have a lot of colors, and I can intermingle them.”

Thanks to a machine adjustment, Phelps uses her sewing machine to essentially paint with thread as one would with a brush. The result is a double-sided work of art.

Bonnie Keller won Best in Show for her quilt, a project that took two and a half years to complete.

She planned to work on the quilt while sitting with her husband during his chemotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer.

She instead opted to finish the quilt during quilt-board meetings, but the entire experience inspired her prizewinning masterpiece.

“That’s the way my brain felt for a while,” she said describing the red- and neutral-toned quilt. “Just swirling crazy.”

As is the case for many of the quilters with works on display at the annual showcase, Keller has spent years, in her case 20, perfecting her art.

“I’m not tired of it yet,” she added. “There’s so many different ways to go between portraits and landscapes and traditional and all these things, it captures my imagination and my artistic fires get lit, and I just go crazy.”