While the colors are vibrant and help the quilt tell a story, the visual impact of the quilt had people stopping and staring. It made you feel like you were looking through a pipeline in the ocean. Thom Atkins quilt, Water is Life, So Why are We Doing This, is a commentary on what we are doing to our oceans. That's why he used interesting embellishments, including distressed plastic, to create something that was "Beautiful" and "Terrifying".

Thom's quilt won Best Use of Color and 2nd Place Visual Impact (New Quilts of Northern California) at PIQF 2018.