6 weeks ago, I received two books in the mail that I love. I wanted to write a review immediately, but each time that I've sat down to put my thoughts into a coherent review, my words haven't feel good enough. So, this morning, I am just going to write what I think--quickly and as clearly as I can!
The first book is titled Quilting With a Modern Slant, by Rachel May. A few months ago, my kids and I went to the Baltimore Museum of Art. At the museum, there were four art quilts. I was intrigued. Quilting With a Modern Slant is about how to make such quilts. There are beautiful examples of quilts throughout the book, with both descriptions of the quilting artists and their approaches, as well as instructions about how to make several quilts. I loved perusing this book and considering how the quilts were designed and pieced together.
Traditionally, people picture Amish quilts with repetitive patterns and cotton fabrics when they think of quilting. Likely, that picture also includes only women doing the quilting. Art quilts do not fit these stereotypes. This new form of modern art is done by both men and women. All of the elements of art and principles of design come into play as these artists work with fabric as a new medium, which gives new room for them to explore their ideas.
I absolutely love the quilts in this book. I appreciate the author's explanation of how to make some of them. But, the nature of an art quilt is really that it would be unique, so one wouldn't necessarily make the quilts in this book, but rather use those ideas and techniques as a springboard to design one's one quilt to make.
If you quilt and love to travel off the well trodden road, this book is for you. If you love to design your own quilts and play with color, shape, and form--art quilting would be a grand adventure. When I began quilting thirteen years ago, I never followed a pattern. I made up my own. It was fun.
But, if you've always followed other people's quilting patterns and have wondered how to design your own, then this second book is for you.
Also on my desk sits The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook by Thomas Knauer. I love this book! But, so has everyone that I've shown it to. First, I took it to a retired Art Appreciation professor. He thought it was well organized and interesting. Then, I took it to a community college art professor who loves modern art and asked her to take a look at it. She lit up when she looked through it. Her wish was that she could order a copy for herself (or not have to give the copy in her hands back to me).
What was it about the book that they loved? Why did they love this book?
The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook is unlike most art books that I've seen. It begins by explaining the history of modern art and what makes modern art "modern art". When I have walked
The book examines important elements of art and design principles in light of their relationship to art quilting. As I noted earlier in this post, many men have entered this area of art that was once traditionally a "woman's" craft. This book is written by a man, Thomas Knauer. For each facet of modern art, Knauer scaffolds the reader through different steps so that they can begin to design his/her own art quilts using grids. I was impressed by how the author did this. The college art professor I spoke with loved it and felt that it very easily could be used as a high school or community college art text.
The retired professor that I shared the book with appreciated the author's explanation and inclusion of different examples of modern art. He also thought the quilts were beautiful. He hadn't heard of art quilts as an art form, because he had focused on earlier periods of art in his classes.
As a quilter, this book made me want to sit down immediately and dig in. Both quilting books inspire me to quilt--just as cookbooks with beautiful pictures of food inspire me to cook.
This workbook is formatted well. The text is written in two columns in many parts of the book--which makes it easier for one's eyes to follow and track the text. The photography complements the text well and makes it easier to understand how to complete the design exercises.
My oldest daughter loves painting. She doesn't understand yet the value of exploring other media, but later in her high school years, I plan on her working through this workbook as part of her homeschool curriculum. It will challenge her to work with the elements of art and principles of design in ways that watercolors don't because of the differences between fabric and paper.
Please note that I received copies of these books from Storey Books for review.