Book Review: The Quilters’ Guild Collection, Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration

Quilters Guild Collection: Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration Quilters Guild Collection: Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration by Bridget Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While this book does have projects, the focus seems to be on looking at artists’ process and inspiration. In this case antique quilts were selected by various British artists from the collection of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles. Each artist selected elements from the quilts and went through the process of making a new piece inspired by the old quilt. One point I picked up is that the author, in conjunction with the selected artists, was trying to encourage people to look at quilts and elements in quilts in order to give confidence to people in designing their own pieces (rather than using a pattern).

There are different techniques discussed. One quilt, Up the Stairs (pg.5) is covered with trees. The branches of the trees are highlighted with white circles in the background. The half circles in the background really make the branches stand out, without the white screaming for attention. There are a number of fabulous examples of quilting. The quilting in the Triple X Quilt (pg.21) has the most wonderful feathers, and a great stylized egg shaped pattern in the inner border.

Within the first two pages, the author talks about keeping a sketchbook/journal with things that inspire in it. As the book progressed, there was a lot of information about process.  I liked reading about different artists and the process they went through to create their new piece. The book talks about being inspired by old quilts rather than dismissing them out of hand as too old.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the process some of the designers went through. Dinah Travis’s sketchbook is laid out and included, page by page, which really gives insight into her design and quiltmaking process. Hilary Richardson does something in her process that I would like to try. “When Hilary begins a quilt on a specific theme, she seeks clues in the dictionary definitions of words connected to the theme. She will often make a list words and topics that relate to the theme. She then collects photographs, cuttings and printed material…” (pg.57-58).

One of my favorite artists, Laura Kemshall is also included in this book.

There are sidebars that discuss various topics related to the quilt in the chapter. Many of these sidebars discuss historical aspects of British history.

I would love to see the Electric Quilt Company look at historic quilts, like the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet (pg.7), and create patterns in their software for these pieces.

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