Book Review: 12×12

Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt ChallengeTwelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge by Brenda Gael Smith

This is another book I received for free, presumably to review since the letter included wasn’t very clear, from Lark Books. It is really nice of them to send me books, especially ones that I like.

The book starts with an introduction by Diane Perin Hock, the Healdsburg, California fiber artist who created the textile artist group described in Twelve by Twelve. She discusses how the group started, what inspired her to choose the other artists and how the group works.

It is an interesting group, partly because it is international, but more so because they came together as a result of Ms. Hock’s simple inquiry. They didn’t meet in person first. Some of the members have, since, met each other, but an entire group reunion/retreat is still a dream for them.

There are a lot of images in this book, which is wonderful! Each page has at least one, if not two photos. The visuals are wonderful, but it also makes the layout interesting.

The how-to segments are out of the ordinary. There are no quiltmaking basics (YAY!), free motion quilting or cutting rules. The ‘projects’ in this book are, for example, titled “finding inspiration online,” “creating time and space for art,” and “starting your own challenge group.” I really appreciate this publisher allowing the author to think outside the box on this book.

The book is organized around themes and each theme has its own section of the book, where it is explored completely. When introducing each theme, the name or theme word is clearly shown along with a gallery of all of the responses. The artist who thought up the theme has space for a bio, discusses creating her piece and provides information about exploring the theme.

The artists’ profiles at the end of the book give context to and additional information about the artists in the book. Amazingly, these profiles do not overlap with the bio information in the theme section. Some have children, some don’t. Some have pets, some don’t. Some have pets and children. All say that fiber, textiles or both came in to their life and had a positive influence. One theme among the artist profiles was the way they talked about traditional quiltmaking. There was a lot of disdain for matching points and no acknowledgment of the beauty of the geometry of classic blocks

YAY! An index! YAY! Some photos of real, working sketchbooks!

There is a lot to like about this book. it is written for grownup quiltmakers. There are lots of pictures. Personal stories and descriptions of process abound. Thanks to Lark Books for having the courage to publish this book, which, I hope, is the first of its type.

Buy it and be inspired.

View all my reviews, including non-quilt related reviews

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: 12×12”

  1. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic review, Jaye! As one of the authors, I can tell with you that we are all thrilled to share this project with the world. Lark really allowed us to write the book we wanted to write. I’m so happy that you appreciated the content.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful review Jaye. As Deborah said, Lark Crafts embraced our vision and the book (sans patterns and detailed tutorials) is the result. We are thrilled to be able to share our project in this way. By the way, the group is continuing with a second series of quilts based on colour which you can view on our blog and website at You will see that Kristin’s pieces in this series (apart from Pink) are inspired by traditional blocks too.

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