celebrating the Koala

Textile artist Lorraine Turner relies heavily on her intuition, her connection with animals, and her artistic spirit for her work. We’ve been so grateful to have a chance to work with her as both Aurifil Designer and Aurifilosopher over the years and were both touched and delighted when she approached us to collaborate on a thread painting challenge a few months back.

Lorraine’s first curated Aurifil thread collection released in Fall of 2019, a range of 50wt (+ 2 spools of 12wt) to coordinate with her debut Free Spirit Fabrics collection, Calico Horses. It was at that same time that the world was stricken with the news of the Australian Wildfires. Lorraine had the idea of creating a thread painting challenge, using a pattern that she would create, to generate excitement around learning a new technique while raising valuable funds for a country in crisis.

Lorraine launched the challenge in the Spring, with the deadline of August 31 for completed entries. Participants would purchase a pattern and use it to create an original work of art celebrating the Koala. 100% of the purchase of the downloadable Koala pattern was pledged to support the Ipswich Koala Protection Society in Queensland, Australia.

We’ve been following along with entries ever since, awed and entranced. We’re so impressed with all of the submissions and wanted to take a moment to celebrate the wonderfully talented makers, including 5 winners who will take home prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place spots!

FIRST PRIZE: Jennifer Morlock
Jennifer will receive an original work of art by Lorraine Turner!

SECOND PRIZE: Mickey Ramey
Mickey will receive Lorraine’s Calico Horses Aurifil thread collection

THIRD PRIZES: Gwen Goepel, Nancy Watters, and Carol Barnes
Gwen, Nancy, and Carol will receive fat quarter bundles of Lorraine’s Calico Horses collection with Free Spirit Fabrics


Lorraine was kind enough to share a note she received from the Ipswich Koala Protection Society:

A HUGE Thank you to our koala warrior friends in the US who recently raised $600USD to help support Ipswich Koala Protection Society. This amazing challenge was driven by Lorraine Turner who wanted to help IKPS raise funds and she did so by setting a koala sewing art challenge which inspired many to get involved and create beautiful textile koala pieces. A special thanks to Aurifil Threads and FreeSpirit Fabrics who donated the prizes for the koala challenge and have played a big part in making this happen.

IKPS are incredibly grateful for your support, your amazing efforts from this challenge will help make a difference to koalas and their future. These funds raised will go towards Ipswich Koala Protection Society purchasing well needed formula and care items for our 7 rescue koala joeys currently in care..

Thank you from the IKPS’s team and the koalas here in Australia! — Trudi Timbs

We can’t thank Lorraine and all of the talented makers involved in the challenge for making this all happen!! 

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As a young girl, motivational speaker and author/illustrator Lorraine Turner was told she would never make it as an artist yet went on to become a two-time Emmy winner for her work as one of the lead designers for a professional sports team in the US. The National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers.

Lorraine has created award winning children’s activity books and is a multiple Eisner Award Nominee in her role as Art Director for the Library of American Comics –  a company she co-owns with her husband Dean Mullaney.

Lorraine uses her own life experiences and travels world-wide as a motivational speaker encouraging all ages from teens searching a career to seniors desiring adult education.

Today, with the help of meditation, she happily writes, illustrates, and teaches others to follow their dreams.

She is a living testimony to the power of moving thoughts into action.

Lorraine is a BERNINA Ambassador and stitches on her BERNINA Q20 and 770QE, she is an Aurifil thread designer/educator and a FreeSpirit fabric designer.

Calico Horses
10 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
2 Large Spools, 12wt (356yds/spool)
100% Cotton
50wt: 2135, 2150, 2270, 4020, 1231, 2860, 2735, 2810, 1243, 2581
12wt: 2692, 2024

To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

*All images and text courtesy of Lorraine Turner (with exception to the intro!)


  1. I’m very honored to have entered this “Thread Painting/Sewing Art Challenge” that helped out the Ipswich Koala Protection Society by purchasing the pattern from Lorraine. I also purchased the Calico Horses line of fabric and many spools of Aurifil thread. Everyone benefitted by this Challenge! I do however have an issue with the process of picking the winners: I thought this was a Challenge that was going to be “judged” according to your information listed May 17th, 2020 by Free Spirit Fabrics and Aurifil Thread, not a random drawing as you stated with the 1st through 5th place winners. I’m very happy for the winners, but I feel we were all misled by the wording “judged” in the wording for the prizes. I would like an explanation on how this Challenge became a random drawing.

  2. The winning piece is very cheery but I hope that judging was based on merit not random when most people had done tremendously hard work to try to win. It was heartwarming to know that Lorraine was told that she wouldn’t make it as an artist but she did.

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