Book Review: Masters Art Quilts v.2

UPDATE 8/26/2011: Giveaway is closed. See information about the winner in the 8/26 post. Please leave other comments in the comments section. I love hearing from you.

Masters: Art Quilts, Vol. 2: Major Works by Leading ArtistsMasters: Art Quilts, Vol. 2: Major Works by Leading Artists by Ray Hemachandra

Another 39 quiltmakers have been included in this volume of Masters:Art Quilts Vol.2, which makes me happy for a number of reasons. First, I think the first volume was successful. Second, there may be more volumes to come. Third, Lark may be setting a trend of inspiration and essay type quilt books. Fourth, more eye candy for me. πŸ˜‰ I wrote a review of the previous edition in which I wrote the possibility of a series of books on inspiration and I also talked about some of the artists included.

This second volume continues all the good included in the first book. This book also includes different artists, some with whom I am familiar, some of whom are new to me, others who have been absent from my sphere for awhile.

I received this book, again, for free to review from Lark Books. Thanks to Amanda and Ray for keeping me on their list! As if that weren’t enough,Β  Lark has, once again, agreed to give away a copy of this book in conjunction with this book review to one of you lucky readers! See the rules below.

This book is thick, square and heavy. Each of the 39 artists, again, have multiple pages on which their works are displayed. As I mentioned in my previous review, this layout gives the reader an idea of the breadth of work each artist has produced. Additionally, the layout celebrates the artists throughout the book: the title page has their names. The back cover has the artists’ names. The table of contents lists them and each section devoted to the artist has their name on the edge of the page. This layout seems makes me feel good about reading this book.

Martha Sielman curated this group of quilts. She reminds us, in her introduction, that the point of art quilts is to look beyond the obvious imagery to what the artist is trying to say. Art quilts have been on my mind, in particular my art quiltmaking since I co-hosted Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski, and reading the introduction helping me move towards understanding what I am thinking about in relation to art quilts. In some respects art quilts are about a story and Sielman says “you’ll discover many stories that enrich your appreciation of both art and the world around you.” (pg.7). So far, I think this is true for me. The introduction, which I read after I perused some of the photos made me wonder about photo realistic quilts again. The question in my mind is whether or not the artists that use this technique trust their own drawing or painting or image development skills? I wonder…

I noticed a lot of neutrals throughout the book. I expect that in an art quilt book because a lot of the artists use nature imagery.

Nelda Warkentin’s work looks like fractured ice crystals. Her piece, Tropical Dream (pg.140) is spare compared to other works and it contrasts with other dense complicated work. It gives the reader the opportunity to meditate on the wide variety of art quilt imagery.

Reiko Naganuma’s quilts are bright and cheerful. They are a contrast to many of the other quilts, but they still fit in. Her quilts also appear to have visible texture (pg.169, 171).

I was very pleased to see Rise Nagin show up in this book. Her quilt, Target: On the Beach (pg.221), has been on my mind lately. I remember seeing it in the early 1990s and, lately, I was wondering if she had moved on to a different medium. Her older work has an ethereal quality while her new work has more color and layers. Seeing Nagin’s work again makes me wish for more biographical information in this book.

In looking through this book, with its wide variety of quilts, I found that many art quilts are messy. It occurred to me that messy quilts could be a turn off for some people and made me wonder if art quilts could be made neatly. Warkentin’s piece, Tropical Dream (pg.140) is fairly neat, which further led me to wonder what role the neatness/messiness of the quilt plays in the quilt’s story?

My favorite piece is probably Letters Lost by Margery Goodall (pg.293). I am surprised at the name, but that makes me like it all the more. This quilt has rectangles laid down in vertical rows. The rectangles are sewn with one straight line through each column of rectangles. The colors are very light as well. Not one color, but very pale with hints of brighter colors. I like the texture of the fabric that is not completely sewn down.

I also like the paper doll feeling of Rachel Brumer’s quilt Triplets (pg. 320). I would have liked to see an index with all of the names of the quiltmakers and their quilts in alphabetical order.

There is a lot of piecing in this book and many of the artists used commercial fabric. There are a lot of faces depicted in this book. The editors have not highlighted one technique or image. There is a wide variety of work and artists, so that all quiltmakers could enjoy this book. This book should definitely be on your ‘to purchase’ list.

View all my reviews

Giveaway Rules:

1. Go to the Lark Crafts site and find something quilt related that you enjoy

2. Come back here and tell me about it in a comment on this post. Write something meaningful or thoughtful.

3. The giveaway deadline is 8/19. I’ll pick a winner after midnight on 8/19 and post it over the weekend.

4. Make sure I can get a hold of you.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

15 thoughts on “Book Review: Masters Art Quilts v.2”

  1. Does the book “100 Pretty Little Projects” count? I would use scraps to make a lot of those types of things. πŸ™‚
    Strictly quilt related? That would have to be the free block patterns. But there is that collection of owl pincushions too.
    So much eye candy and shiny things and sparkly things! Oh my!!! lol

    And I think you might know how to get a hold of me. πŸ˜€

    OH and last, but certainly not least…loved the review, as always! I can always use another book in here! Really I can! πŸ˜€

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. I’m more of an admirer of art quilts than a maker, but I love to see new ideas, so I’ll check this book out!

    Also, thanks for the Lark Crafts link. I’d never looked at that site before, but there’s lots of good crafty info on there. Non-quilt related, I LOVE the post “Hip Finds”. It’s about etsy finds that are literally “hip”. I especially like the “Shake ya tail feather” card. Very interesting. I wonder who buys this stuff!

    Quilting related, I have been noticing lots of pixel-type quilts, patterns and fabrics lately. There’s a post on the Lark site called “Fresh Flickr Finds: Summer Quilting Fun!” with a mosaic that includes a quilt called “Pixel pusher”. I’ve been thinking about making a pixelated quilt, but am a bit worried about how small the squares would need to be. This might be a good example quilt to test my “pixel” quilting skills. It’s got really great quilting on it too.

    Thanks again for the link. Another to add to my favorites!

  3. I didn’t get past the first item (101 t-shirts) without buying it. DH is frequently buying us T-shirts with fun/funny graphics on them. They are almost always generic men’s sizes and an unflattering fit for me. I have a stack in my studio that I was planning on attempting to restyle, so this book is ‘meant’ to be in my library. Thanks for the link to the site. I haven’t been there before, but I have bookmarked it.

    I have volume one of the Art quilters book. Glad to see they are continuing.

    I hope I win… but I feel like I already have with the t-shirt book.


    1. I really wish I had a copy to giveaway for all of you! Yes, the Lark site is really great. I am glad you found something useful on their site and I can’t wait to see what you do with the t-shirt book. I bet you could make something cute for the grandkids, too.

  4. I am in love with that “spot on” pillow pattern from Malka Dubrawsky and I also enjoy the Flickr finds Lark posts each week – eye candy!

    I enjoyed your post/review too Jaye, as always. In response to your comment about “messy” art quilts possibly being a turn-off, I think they might be to some who are drawn to a cleaner look in their quilting, but I hope people see the possibilities in the materials that can be used to make a quilt. What I like about all of the art and modern quilts being made today is that it is truly elevating the non-quilting world and artists of other mediums to (finally) agree that this IS a legitimate art-form and deserves the same space as a painting, sculpture, etc… Just like those forms of art can be clean or messy, so too can quilting – and that’s what makes it so much fun!

    Tanesha (CraftyGardenMom blog and podcast)

    1. Yes, the Spot on Pillow is great. Not Malka’s usual bright colors.

      Your comments about messy art quilt are great and good for food for thought. I was hoping to spur on some conversation and your point of view is good for me to think about. I hope you are correct. I like to think you are!

  5. But Jaye, you COULD just buy a copy for each of us who enter, right? I mean, you’re made out of money like me, right? No? Is that why I keep getting these funny letters from the bank? Are they trying to tell me something? hmmmmmmmmmm

    (hugs and J/K!)

  6. Thanks for the review of the book, Jaye. I enjoyed the first one and am now looking forward to this one. The Lark site is great and is now bookmarked so I can go back to see more pretty things and distract myself from quilting. I liked the quilts they pulled in from Fickr, especially the Drunkard’s Path baby quilt. The colors were bright; cheerful but not overwhelming. The stitching in the circles on the Spot On pillow was interesting.

    I am not sure what you mean by messy art quilts. Is it loose fabric and other objects attached to the quilt? If so, then when does an art quilt become a collage? Is it important to define the difference?

  7. I love that pillow by Malka Dubrowsky, it’s something I can do even though I’m not a quilter and my free-motion quilting is hopelessly wonky. I love the Lark blog, that’s where I read about this book and not having seen the first, I went immediately to the library to check it out. WOW. I was blown away. It’s such an amazing collection although it’s interesting to see what you think about the photo realistic quilts because personally I thought the photos were beautiful but they didn’t bring out the textures of the quilts. I suppose it’s not easy to do that with top down shots.

    1. I have an ongoing struggle in my mind with photo realistic quilts. Many of them are beautiful! My question is why take a photo, print it on fabric and then bind it? Why not use the fabric to its best advantage by making the elements of the photo out of fabric? I really don’t understand this. Ruth McDowell makes wonderful landscape and nature quilts that I adore and she uses the fabrics to create the elements.

  8. Well Thank you first of all. I might not have found the Lark Craft site if not for this giveaway. I noticed a little sewn circle caddy on their free patterns and I have been looking for something like this for awhile. My daughter I know would love the book about redesigning t-shirts. (One Christmas present taken care of.) I enjoyed your book review as well. Thank you for the giveaway and a chance to win.

  9. I love that they always have a few freebie patterns from books they represent. Right now the Animal blocks are fabulous! I love the Hippo.

  10. Dear Jaye
    Thanks for your kind words about one of my quilts shown in Masters Art Quilts Vol 2.

    Best wishes

    Margery Goodall
    Western Australia

Comments are closed.