Challenge Guidelines
Theme: Art quilts depicting and/or about Yonis. This project is pro-feminist and sex-positive; i. e., our general perspective is that Yonis are a good thing and should be celebrated. Quilts must be original works, made by one person, consisting of three layers held together with stitching. 3-D entries are acceptable if they meet this criteria.  New quilts made specifically for this challenge are strongly preferred. You may submit more than one quilt if you wish. Size and Shape: No minimum and no maximum size. Any shape is acceptable.
Design and Technique: Anything goes - - poetic, abstract, spiritual, humorous, erotic, in-your-face, embroidered, beaded, trapunto, photo-transfer etc. etc.
Original Hostess: Susan Sanborn North

What is a Yoni?
From the Yoniversum website:
Yoni is a term borrowed from India's ancient language, Sanskrit or devanagari ("divine language"). Yoni can be translated by several English concepts ("origin", "source", "womb"), and it refers to the vulva and/or the entire female genital system.   The term yoni is the most respectful and beautiful word available for naming what most languages refer. . . to by a variety of medical and/or vulgar equivalents.  The term heralds from a culture and religion in which women have long been regarded and honored as the embodiment of divine female energy and where the female genitals are often regarded as a sacred symbol of the Great Goddess.  Because Tantrics (and many other ancient cultures) worship(ped) the Divine, most often in the form of a Goddess, the term yoni has also acquired other, more cosmic meanings, becoming a symbol of the Universal Womb, the Matrix of Generation and Source of All.
From Miriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:
Main Entry:
Sanskrit, vulva
: a stylized representation of the female genitalia that in Hinduism is a sign of generative power and that symbolizes the goddess Shakti — compare lingam
— yo·nic \ˈyō-nik\ adjective


Birth of the Cosmos
by Naomi Weidner (Albany, Oregon)
9.5”w x 9.5”h


My piece is related to the one I entered in the Tiny Textures challenge. When I saw the call for the Yoni Quilt Collection challenge, I knew what fabrics and colors I wanted to include.  I used commercial hand-dyed fabrics in raw edge appliqué to create “Birth of the Cosmos.”  It is embellished with yarn, Angelina fibers and metallic thread. I began to quilt seriously in 2004, after my retirement.  Most of my pieces are small landscape quilts inspired by photographs.


The Ronnie Yoni
by Ronnie Doyal (Dayton, OH)

10.5”w x 11.5”h


A “quilt” by definition is a bedcover made of two layers of cloth; filled with down, cotton, wool, etc.; and stitched together in lines or patterns to keep the filling in place.   The “Art Quilt” stretches the boundaries of that definition.  While a piece may technically be a quilt beca use of its construction, it is usually a far cry from the bedcovers your grandmother might have made.  Whether it is a contemporary twist on a traditional pattern or an original design, the Art Quilt presents a challenge to both the maker and the viewer to overcome preconceived notions of what a quilt is, and view it as a stand alone piece of art.  This quilt is watercolor on white fabric, machine stitched with silver metallic thread.

by Judy Cuddihee (Ansonia, CT)

38”h x 32”w x 6”d

Coleen is a soft haven of sensual delights.  Here removed from the trauma, the guilt, the worry, and the pressure – look again at a woman’s genitals.  Sure, the element of desire and sexuality is there – often a strong, ruling force – but so are the softness, the comfort, the playfulness and the beauty.  So much a part of woman herself.  Coleen's friend, Curley (a yoni appreciator), is shown hugging her in the last photo.  Hand-painted and commercial fabrics.

More Yoni Quilt Art by Judy Cudihee


Curves by Heidi Miracle-McMahill
Woodstock, GA

8”w x 10” h


I found myself sketching, painting and even carving Yonis from the moment I read the challenge information.  My work often involves the curves and roundness of the female body.  I became obsessed with the curves and the folds of the Yoni and how to depict them realistically.  I usually work with and am more drawn to rounded, fluid shapes  than straight  or angular lines, so the curves and shapes of the Yoni came naturally to me.   This Yoni was an attempt to simply represent their inherent beauty.   I began by “painting” directly on white cotton fabric using water-soluble pastels and then free-motion stitched, hand stitched and couched yarns. 

Chalice #3
by Scott Murkin (Asheboro, NC)

20”w x 20”h
Private Collection

Artists of both genders and in all media have explored the divine feminine in various styles throughout the ages.  Obviously men experience the yoni as something outside themselves, giving a very different viewpoint than the experience of yoni as self.  My own style is abstract but celebratory and respectful at the same time.

Commercial cotton fabrics, trims, beads, machine pieced, machine quilted, machine and hand embellished.

Yoni-The Sacred Feminine
by PeggySue O. King (Olympia, Washington)

Equilateral Pentagon 38” X 38”


Many representations of the sacred feminine appear in my life to nurture and guide me along my path, all of them powerful and enlightening. The emergence of flora and fauna expresses my inevitable return to the Earth Mother as the embodiment of the Divine where I am always assured of my connectivity and comforted by the turning of the wheel. I honor the beauty, complexity and individuality of all women.

Cotton, Cotton blends, cotton batting, glass beads. Machine pieced, hand beaded and quilted

Yoni-Lingam Reunited
by Meena Schaldenbrand (Plymouth, MI)

14”w X 21”h


The Yoni is a symbol of feminine power. The Lingam is a phallic symbol of the God, Shiva. Together, the Yoni-Lingam are symbols of fertility, worship and Divine Union and represent a powerful image of the creative energy of the universe.  Brass, copper, cottons, nylon, polyester, shisha mirrors, trims, beads.

Cosmic Woman by Ann Lohr (Tacoma, WA)
10 ½” X 12 ½”


Cosmic Woman emerges from our Yoni, our center of female energy.  This piece became a meditation for myself as I embroidered sixty seven words and names describing the changes  women’s bodies and minds go through in life and our connection to all women. It has expanded the way I view my own body as I  journey from maiden to mother.  The piece is embellished with stones, fur, glass beads, yarn and a handmade clay face.

My Pink Beauty
by Heidi Miracle-McMahill (Woodstock, GA)
8”w x 15”h,  irregular

When I first read the theme for this challenge I immediately began work on this piece by sketching and designing the quilt.  The fluid curves and folds became a part of my hands memory as I drew and re-drew the shapes.  I wanted the viewer to be drawn in first by the beauty and the colors and of the piece before the recognition of  what it really represents.  I pieced fabrics then free-motion stitched with cotton, rayon and metallic threads, and beaded with glass seed beads.  I added Angelina fiber bits as a final touch to bring My Pink Beauty to full life.  

This piece has brought more laughs than any other I have ever made.  My Brother-in-law was the first to see it in my family.  He was at my home and saw it hanging on the wall and said “Is that what I think it is?” and I said “Yep”.  He went home and got quite a kick out of telling my sister “Did I tell you I saw Heidi's Yoni?”. Well, actually I


think he said “Vagina”  as he had never heard of the word Yoni.   You can imagine her confusion and surprise!  The joke continued

with other friends and family in the same fashion for many months.  The most embarrassing was when my Mother asked me to show my “vagina” to a large group of relatives at a family function.  I'm not sure I had ever even heard her say the word before that day!  The look on all of their faces was priceless!   Well, now they have all seen my Yoni.  They think I'm a little strange but they already did. And, hopefully I loosened them up a bit and showed them how the female body is a work of art.

Against All Odds
by Gina Kellogg (Towanda, PA)

22”w x 30” h


I began quilting 2 years ago when my brother died and I needed an outlet for my grief. This quilt is part of that process of healing.  This inspiration for the Yoni quilt is the dried up fruit pit I found while digging in th  e garden in the fall. It spoke to me of the “seed of the earth” and reminded me that life wins out, against all odds. I knew it would be the seed of my yoni quilt, and it took months for it to grow! The process was unusually rich in “letting go”. I had to finally let it be what it wanted to be and let all my notions of design go by the wayside. Once I surrendered to that, it came together easily. Materials: Cotton fabric, Angelina fibers, fruit pit of unknown type.

Outside Looking Inside Looking Out
by Debra Sue Zimmerman (Edge of the Helderbergs, NY)

8.5”w x 10”h x 4”d


The realistic, yet abstract look of my piece is complete with "labia" which are 3 dimensional and made with foil batting so they have structure to them and give the piece it's depth.  The background "universe" fabric can also be seen between the labial structure and a woman's face peers back at you as well

Women are from Venus
by Deirdre Abbotts (Westport, CT)

19”w x 24”h



The Promised Land
by Trudi C Hauptman (San Francisco, CA)

28”w X 35”h

This piece was created in 2006 for an annual Jewish Community art show. The shows theme was “Freud, Moses and Monotheism.”  After reading Freud’s last publication “Moses and Monotheism” I starting from Freud’s concept that Moses was the Father figure of the Jews and the Promise Land was the mother figure. This is my interpretation of the mother figure.  It is based on:

If you look at an aerial view of the site of the first temple you will see that it is a vertical rectangle in a horizontal rectangle on the plains of Jerusalem. To my feminist eye it looks like entrance to the female organs and I created the piece with that in mind, placing the four letter Hebrew name of G-D in the center in vertical form which is also symbolic of the human body. The fabric which was stenciled with G-D's name is a rich burgundy silk velvet and I purposely surrounded it in log cabin style with rich fabrics such as velvet and dupioni silk in colors of deep reds and purples. This rectangle sits on a rectangle that is made of manipulated fabric done by stitching and burning layers of fabric to give the textured look of the area that natural surrounds that part of the body. The larger rectangle that it all sits on is representative of the human body and its skin.

This is my feminist version of the Divine in the sanctuary. We all carry the Divine within us however only women can give birth.

The three pieces at the top are stenciled with the Hebrew word KODOSH which means "Holy." It is repeated three times as that is how it is used in prayer. Thus I am stating that this is holy territory.  Because this piece is based on Freud and his ideas, the concept of sexuality should never be far from ones’ mind.

Artquilt made by heat manipulated surface design, free motion embroidering and quilting using cottons; rayon; organza; tulle, velvet, dupioni silk and satin fabrics in colors from maroon, brick and purple to magenta, and red thru pinks to beige.  Embellished with beads; decorative threads, yarns; fibers and paints.  Completed with verbiage in stenciling and beading.


Hot Box
by Tina Marie Rey (Lake Ariel, PA)

8”w  x 6”h  x 4”d
Not For Sale

  This is a quilted, beaded and embellished representation of the Slang term Hot Box. The inside of my Hot Box is where my sacred yoni lives.  As soon as I heard the theme of this challenge, I knew what I would do.  My husband refers to my Yoni as my Hot Box - so that is what I made my yoni to look like, but only on the outside.  Inside she is soft, pink and smooth - they way a yoni should be!  The idea being once your inside the hot box, your with the Yoni - but Yoni's have a sense of danger, and mystery around them, so if you look carefully at the inside image, you will see these beads all along the inner edge that look like little teeth - in many ancient civilizations the yoni was depicted with teeth - showing to be weary of her. 

A Piece of Mother Earth
by Joan Potter Thomas (Northville, MI)

15" x 11"

I concentrated on finding Yonis in nature. Trees, in particular, seem to evoke the feminine form in amazing ways. I found yonis in the shapes and spacing formed by the branches; in the knots and holes from missing branches; and in the twists and swirls in the bark. This piece is my attempt to convey the femininity of a tree.

Materials and Techniques Used: Commercial and Hand-Dyed Cottons; thread; modified trapunto; straight and stipple quilting.

I am an artist in Northville, Michigan who concentrates on abstract art quilts as well as figurative art.  My work can be seen on my website:

Land of Sewn Women
by Lynn Krawzyck (Plymouth, MI)

12”w x 12”h
Not For Sale

So often the yoni is revered as the source of feminine divinity.  However, that is not the case in many regions of the world where forced female circumcision is the cruel reality for millions of women.  In many cases, the yoni is sewn almost completely shut after a grueling "surgery" that does not involve sanitary conditions nor pain killers. In fact, young girls are often restrained by as many as six adult women during the incident.


Their legs are then tied together for two weeks to ensure that the yoni seals itself shut during the healing process. It is done to preserve the girl's virginity and if not done, she is unlikely to gain a husband when she is older.

Women suffer not only lifelong physical complications from this but emotional as well. The title for this piece came from a report I read in which anthropologists have discovered that in some regions of Africa, 80%-90% have undergone this extreme form of circumcision. As a result they refer to the region as "The Land of Sewn Women."  While making this quilt I found it hard to keep going and often set it aside.  It reflects my anger at this act and the pain these women go through at loosing the most sacred part of their femininity. "


Dona Diva Yoni, Queen of the Spanish Gypsies, and Her Ladies in Waiting
by Jan Patterson (Springfield, IL)

Approximately 20”w x 20” h
Not For Sale

The Yoni Challenge was such a great idea and a lot of fun to do.  I came up with the idea of a diva, a queen of sorts and her ladies in waiting.  And of course she had to be a gypsy queen!  So here is Dona Diva Yoni and her Ladies in Waiting.  The quilt has appliqué and beading.  Machine quilted.


Pleather Peek-a-Boo
by Sabrina Zarco (Little Rock and Austin)



Invitation by Scott Murkin (Asheboro, NC)
53"w x 53”h


Artists of both genders and in all media have explored the divine feminine in various styles throughout the ages.  Obviously men experience the yoni as something outside themselves, giving a very different viewpoint than the experience of yoni as self.  My own style is abstract but celebratory and respectful at the same time.


Commercial cotton fabrics, machine pieced, machine quilted.

Juicy Fruits
by Susan Sanborn North (Troy, Michigan)
25”w x 39”h

Eat Your Veggies
by Susan Sanborn North (Troy, Michigan)
25”w x 39”h

by Gayle McKay (Sandy Lake, PA)
Dimensions:19”w x 20”h
Not For Sale


Uncertainty about
Uncertainty makes me want to crawl in a hole.
Crawl back to my Mother’s arms.
Crawl back inside her Yoni.
Mother’s love is the one constant in life.
Uncertainty about


My Mother is gone.
Uncertainty is the  one constant in life.
GAM 12-7-06




by Dhai Barr (Portland, OR)
36” x 42.5”
Sale of this quilt is negotiable

My Yoni quilt represents the bond that all women share.  I collected the hand prints from many of my women friends from across the country and have used them in my quilt.  I worked with velvet that I hand dyed. 


Having never worked with velvet I ran into many problems with it migrating.  The end result was that I didn’t want to work on the quilt.  Over all I had a lot of fun with this.  Someday I may rework this quilt.  I envision embellishing each of my friend’s hand in some manner that would make me think of them.  Maybe I will let each of the women work on a hand or even find and work their own hand.  Women are united in many ways and my quilt demonstrates the Yoni as our central bond.

by Klara Schafler-Landesberg (Israel)


The word yoni in Sanskrit is "divine passage", "place of birth", "womb" (more as nature as a womb and cradle of all creations) or "sacred temple" (cf. lila). The word also has a wider meaning in both profane and spiritual contexts, covering a range of meanings of "place of birth, source, origin, spring, fountain, place of rest, repository, receptacle, seat, abode, home, lair, nest, stable .

In Sanskrit YONI is the Swadisthana, or Sex Chakra, is located at the sacrum - the pelvic area between pubis and navel. Its name means "abode of the vital force" or "dwelling place of the self.

YONI is the sole domain of TARA goddess of fertility

Y= The animating principle, the heart, the true self, union
O = Preservation, brightness
N = Lotus, motherhood, menstrual cycle, nakedness, emptiness, pearl
I = Love, desire, consciousness; to shine, to pervade, pain and sorrow
In my quilt yoni was unzipped with all its glory.

Yoni Commotion
by Sonia Callahan (Piedmont, CA)


This quilt was begun as a hand project that I could work on as I traveled to my class reunion. I wanted to experiment with ovals in rectangle blocks. After I made the blocks I didn't like what I saw so I cut them in half and re assembled them by partnering each half with a different half. The result is this quilt. When I had the top hanging on the design board trying to figure out an appropriate quilting pattern our daughter saw it and said, "Mom, what are you doing with a vagina quilt?" So much for sophisticated interchange.  Yoni Commotion was born.


Download this challenge in a .pdf file