Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quilts from Europe

Warm sun, trees brusting into leaf ... a switch turns on that says, "spring cleaning time." The impulse is a bit blunted nowadays but my early domestication is strongly imbedded in my psyche. I was even dusting bookshelfs .. a very dangerous practice in terms of cleaning. I had to sit down and go through the quilt books on a shelf I hadn't touched for quite some time. I found many that I've "outgrown" and will give to the guild library to keep or sell, as they deem reasonable. But I got stopped finally by QUILTS FROM EUROPE that I hadn't looked at in quite a while. It was published by C&T in 2000 and is edited by Gul Laporte.

This beautiful book proudly emphasizes in the introduction that quilting existed in Europe at least since the 13th century and probably longer. But what this book shows vividly is that art quilting is far from only an American practice. The book has sections on 14 European quilters -- the author, a fine quilter herself, has modestly not shown her own work. There are bios and a gallery of work and a project design from each that the reader can undertake. I don't usually feel inspired to follow someone else's design but some of these are challenging and exciting. I don't know what rereading this book is going to do to my quilting agenda ... most likely it will feed in to the "so little time, so much I want to do" frustration.

In fact, I have a large collection of art quilt books and others as well. I strongly beleive everything I need to know is to be found between the covers of a book. So when I become interested in something I seek out all the books I can find. And as my interest is either sated or moves into more rarified areas, I begin weeding out the early or elementary books which I'm do more or less constantly with quilt books and magazines.

I'm aware of course that a generation is being educated who feel as strongly, and maybe more accurately, that everything they want to know can be found on the internet. And they don't need books. Well ... I am one who believes books will not die. They have a sensuality that a screen does not replace even if the informatiion is available. I sometimes go to web sites, like the SAQA one that has a wonderful slide show of art quilts. I watch with the greatest delight. But I can sit and savor this book all evening in a different way.

Thinks of books and internet reminds me that I believe I heard a WQXR announcer this morning quote T.S. Eliot and I've forgotten the exact quote but the essence was, is wisdom lost amidst so much knowledge? [I LOVE that radio station!] The question has been hovering at the edge of my mind all day, not apropos quilting so much as the many other subjects I have and continue to explore in books.

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