Book Review: Quilt National 2011 + Giveaway

Quilt National 2011: The Best of Contemporary QuiltsQuilt National 2011: The Best of Contemporary Quilts by Lark Books

I received this book to review from Lark Crafts. Thanks to Amanda at Lark Crafts for sending the book and for offering to host a giveaway! See below for details on winning.

I started reading right away fully expecting the regular depressing art quilt images that are so prevalent in modern art quiltmaking. While I did find a few of those, I also found exuberant color, wonderful stitching and great fabrics.

I have always appreciated the Quilt National books because: 1) the book is mostly about the photos; 2) the photos are large, high quality and it is often possible to see the detail; 3) looking through earlier editions allows the reader to see the evolution of art quiltmaking; and 4) it is really nice to have a catalog of art devoted to quilts. This edition is no exception. The quilts are the show in this book.

The foreword and introduction are great to read as they give the reader insight into the thoughts of the organizers. They also reiterate how the judges are selected, which I appreciate. This year there is emphasis on encouraging new and emerging artists to participate.

The information about the judges is interesting. This edition reminds readers that the judges change, so the selection process is different very year. This means that “the individual artist cannot target their work in any particular direction (pg.7).” What that says to me is that I have a chance to get in some day. 😉

The judges also have a chance to make a statement and show one of their works. In some of the statements, jurors talk about specific quilts, others reference historical quilts, women’s culture, and creativity

Then the book gets on to the quilts. 92 pages are taken up with photos of quilts (some span 2 pages). This is a book that forced me to look at the pictures. Words about the quilts are spare and the photos are large. The quilts span a variety of imagery including nature, portraits, geometric and abstract. I also recognize some names, but many are new to me. I wonder if I am not as in touch with art quiltmaking as I used to be?

Stitching is prominent and I was glad to be able to see the stitching whether it was hand or machine and created with a thick thread like Perl Cotton or excellent photos of the quilting stitches.

I was surprised and thrilled to see a quilt from Judith Plotner from Gloversville, NY. I don’t know Judith, but I know what a great place Gloversville is because of my friend, Kathy, so I looked at the quilt longer than others. Judith’s quilt, Soul of an Iris I has great stitching and writing on it.

One of my favorites is Judy Kirpich’s Circles #4 (detail as cover image). The circles depicted give the quilt life. Ellen Oppenheimer, from my own guild, has another quilt (her 3rd or 4th??) in this edition. Berlin’s Anke Kerstan has a quilt that is similar to my FOTY quilts in the way she washes color across the piece. She also uses more of a block technique than some of the other pieces. Lisa Call’s quilting on her piece, Structures, #113, is the showpiece of her work. She is doing a lot of tiny pieces, which you can buy on her site, so I was pleased to see that she is still producing some larger pieces as well.

Since I attended the Maker Faire, I have had Steampunk on my mind. Barbara Lange’s piece Interlocked reminds me of Steampunk, because of the gears, even though it isn’t as dark as Steampunk tends to be.

In addition to Circles #4, my favorite quilts were: Leslie Joan Riley’s Broken Fence (looks like confetti to me), Patty Hawkins’ Lingering Image, Japan, Jan Myers-Newbury’s Firebox and Kathleen Loomis’ Fault Lines 4. The colors and stitching held my attention and made me want to look at them again.

This book is worth purchasing. The images are high quality and there is a lots of imagery to inspire any quiltmaker.

View all my reviews, including non-quilt reviews

Update 7/30/2011: Giveaway is closed

In order to win one of two copies of this book, you must go to the Lark Crafts blog/site , then come back here and write a comment below (this post only) about what you found that was cool there. I will do the drawing on July 29. You must have left your comment by midnight on July 28. the books will be sent to you straight from Lark Crafts, so you need to make sure that I can get a hold of you based on your comment.