Monday, March 29, 2010

Books By/About Quilters

I have a limited appetite for how-to quilt books, mostly been-there-done-that. Although sometimes something new comes out that intrigues me. However I LOVE books that introduce me to art quilters whose works I may never have a chance to see. For a couple of months I'd haunted Barnes and Noble's craft section drooling over Quilting Arts because it has both generous photographs and generous editorial about the quilt artists, several of whom I had not encountered in other publications or in shows. Finally I ordered it from Amazon or thought I did. But it must have been one of my absent minded days for what I got Quilts from Europe.
This was a serendipitous mistake. I've been reading "Quilt Mania," a magazine published in France, and know the names of many of the artists featured in this book but am happy to have a collection of their work and brief [I wish they were longer] bios. I was a little unhappy that each artist provided instructions for making one's own version of a quilt of hers -- until I saw a technique I wanted to try. I have serious problems with people copying others' quilts, even with their implicit permission as in this book. On the other hand I would very much like to go to the big annual quilt show in Europe some time.

Of course when the wrong one arrived, I ordered the right one. The two together have given me several hours of happy contemplation of these skillful artists and I will return to them often as I do all my favorite quilt books.

I will mention that Quilting Arts raises the question of whether to call some work "quilts" or "fiber" or "textile" art. And this book includes interesting sculptural or three dimensional work. Even though I will never be a quilt artist I think about these questions [and am writing about them in a novel, of all things]. So both books are fodder for my thoughts.

These books remind me of a word for certain foods my mother used under the influence of women's magazines of the '40s and '50s, "roughage." This meant bran and fibrous fruit and vegetables. Good healthy food to keep the system working well -- that's what these books are for my thought and even some of my quilting choices.

1 comment :

jennyk said...

"I have serious problems with people copying others' quilts, even with their implicit permission as in this book."

I have a few books like these, with the technical details of innovative quilts (or other art/craft work), and to me they can be used in two ways. They can be used to make copies, but they can also be used to understand the possiblities of a technique better so that the reader can make a version which is very much their own, and may not even be recognisable as based on the original piece.