About Hoffman California Fabrics & the annual Hoffman Challenge
In 1924, Rube Hoffman, a New York textile jobber, founded Hoffman California Fabrics soon after relocating to Los Angeles. He began by selling wool flannels to California department stores and clothing manufacturers. He quickly expanded his operation by purchasing greige goods (undyed fabric) on which to imprint his own original designs. Transitioning from a jobber to a converter, Rube played an important role in the growth of California's textile industry.
His sons, Philip and Walter, both champion surfers, joined the company in the 1950s and combined their passion for traveling to their favorite surfing spots with discovering unusual printing processes and different types of fabrics. Soon, Hoffman California Fabrics abounded with original designs of surfing scenes, beach life and the underwater world.
Philip and Walter with their cousin, Carole
The Annual Hoffman Challenge
Each year, Hoffman selects one print to be the featured fabric in the "Hoffman Challenge", an international contest that challenges entrants to incorporate the chosen fabric into an original quilt, garment, or doll. When the contest began in 1987, there were only ninety-five entries in two categories. However, Hoffman has received so many submissions each year that today the contest includes four categories. Last year, more than 800 people entered what is now one of the most prestigious quilt challenges in the country.
Once the judges have selected the winners and Hoffman Fabrics has awarded the prizes, the top 150 quilts, thirty garments, and thirty dolls are divided into five traveling exhibits. Then, they spend the next year traveling throughout the country, being displayed at quilt shops, national exhibits, and quilt shows. Being included in one of the Hoffman Challenge traveling exhibits is a singular honor.
Melissa Ratzlaff is the Challenge curator. You can reach Melissa by emailing her at email@example.com, by phoning her at (970) 690-6715 or mailing correspondence to her at 1281 E. Magnolia, Unit D, PMB #130, Fort Collins, CO 80524.