The Twelve By Twelve group have been blogging and challenging one another to make 12x12 inch quilts on a specific subject [two months deadlines] for almost as long as I've been writing this blog. I discovered them not long after they began their blog and have been a faithful follower -- mostly a lurker. After two years their work became an exhibit at the big annual show in Sydney. Now the first two years of work is a wonderful book that is only just available here in the US -- I ordered it on Amazon soon after I read that that it would be available in March.
I am very much a book person -- I love having the solid object in my hands so I can read a bit when I'm having coffee, flip back and forth through the pages to remind myself which quilter is which. I had seen all the quilts on the blog as they were "revealed" but now I almost have them in my hands. I hope someday to see the exhibit somewhere. No matter how good, a photo is a weak imitation of a quilt.
The book is meatier than most quilt books which makes it especially exciting and worthwhile. In the same Amazon order I got another book of art quilts but have only glanced at it so far -- it's full of wonderful quilts with short artists' statements and I'll write about it in a week or two. But now: Each of the Twelve has a "chapter" in which she writes more intimately about her own participation in the group and what it has meant to her. She also discusses her creative process in reference to one particular quilt. At the end of each chapter is a bit of information specific for the reader about how the reader can form her own group, or about quilters' blogs, etc. And of course the photos! The quilts themselves. I get a sense of each artist's style, of her creative journey through this group. These women were almost complete strangers to one another when one started the group, they live on three continents. Over the two -- now three -- years they have made opportunities to meet, not yet all together. They are both respectful and supportive of one another's work and they write openly of their false starts and their learning process. The book becomes a role model for any quilter who is just beginning to venture into art quilting. It's a source of inspiration for any quilter who wants to go beyond traditional quilting.
Sometimes I buy books full of art quilts, look in awe at the work, usually have little idea of the process by which the work was made, and wonder a few weeks later if I spent my money wisely just to look at pretty pictures. This book is so much more than pretty pictures! I continue to follow the blog -- see the side bar of this blog -- and have begun to think of them as a group of people I almost know personally. They have individual, personal blogs which I often read also where they write about other things in their lives, both as artists and as individuals, so the sense of community is broadened. They are as much a part of my quilting life as are the members of my local guild. The book will "live" on my coffee table where I can pick it up often.
Yes, this is a quilt. I didn't make a note, but I believe it is by the well-known art quilter Barbara McKie and that the bears are thread painted. It seems very appropriate as winter set in around the county.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!