At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
In this second volume of Exploring Art Quilts, this creative and inspiring book which has been brought together by the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) 12 artists are interviewed and explored. With over 300 high quality images revealing the cutting edge of quilting art today. We will come across flat art quilts as well as more surprising variations, including a 3D head and even a dolls house. Other content explores how the work of juried artist members ties in with their own culture, with images galleries to show the range and diversity of their art.
It is all about a world view this time, showcasing artists all over the globe.
Through my review, I will be looking at a few of the highlights, which I feel are worth mentioning….
Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. (SAQA), is an international organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt. Its more than 4,000 members are located in 39 countries around the world. Visit their website to learn more and view hundreds of images of gorgeous artwork, inspired by anything from the natural world to personal stories.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
Technically you would imagine it is focused towards readers who are either quilters themselves or are regular visitors of the Quilting shows, we have plenty here in the UK. However it will surprise you on reading this book what can be classed as a quilt. We are no longer taking flat traditional samples here, as I have pointed out, a quilt can be a 3D sculpture, even a bird or doll’s house if you fancy! So I would say that this one will be an eye-opener for anyone who enjoys craft, embroidery, even just art in general.
To begin my review each time, I usually look at the contents page and I am not going to do any different here. We are shown a rather usual listing, with key images of certain artists work to give us some prior knowledge as to what is going to be shown deeper into the book.
Although this is a book, I found it interesting that on this contents page it says ‘in this issue’ which makes it feel a bit more like a magazine, maybe a luxury one. However I really do see this as a piece which will outlive any magazine. The cover is soft-back, yet not cheaply made, not too flimsy in structure.
Above, I have highlighted the introduction, as it explains really why this book was made. It is all about conveying current cutting edge quilt art – this could become out of date if it was something else, yet in this art content in quilting form, showcasing what is current doesn’t have this affect – the work shown is quality – that quality doesn’t go past a sell by date.
The book is divided into sections, there are areas which are more like a gallery of works and others which focus on the artists themselves, formatted into interviews. Questions are asked, such as what their recent career highlights are and their biggest achievements to date. This is printed around images of their work.
I liked that the book hasn’t been made into too structured a piece of work. For example, it is not half interviews then the rest a gallery. The interviews and other pieces of writing are dotted and woven through the entirety of the book – so at no page does the book feel boring or staid.
For example, who would have thought a horse would appear as a sculptural quilt!
A personal highlight was what might be seen as a tiny detail, however it totally helps us picture the quilts in real life. It is the fact that the measurements are written next to each quilt. So when we can’t see them for real, we can at least get an idea of their size.
Certain areas of the book are laid out like a gallery. The images are jigsawed together on each page, never all the same making it interesting to look at.
The artists work has been consistently well photographed. Some images are more zoomed out, making for more of an exhibition style image.
The mix of flat and 3D quilt art makes for an interesting read, here is another more 3D quilt style image….an actual head by Marie C. Bergstedt. Check out another example of their art work on the SAQA website.
What Is Good About This Book?
For me and I am sure many, it is the variety of content which will appeal. We are never faced with a ream of quilts, all merging into each other due to their style or look. My eyes tended to dance around each page, it is a book to satisfy the curious and those with a low attention span, me included.
Take for example this dolls house creation, made by artist Susan Else; who would have thought we could class a dolls house such as this one as a piece of quilt art.
I am a pretty nosey person when it comes to art. I like to know the back story, not just be able to look at a piece of work for its own sake and move on. The artist interviews really helped on this score, they reveal the inspiration the artist was driven by and even how they became a quilting artist in the first place. There are links to their websites too, so we can spend longer looking at their work, if so the mood takes us.
If you enjoy reading articles about quilting, why not read our post explaining what an art quilt actually is?
Remember we also publish a regular column called Quilty Pleasures too!