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.
Quarantine Quilts: Creativity In The Midst Of Chaos by Sandra Sider is certainly a timely book, one which we never could have planned or guessed at, yet it shows that even in the midst of a negative time, a pandemic, creativity can bloom. Learn directly from makers personal notes and quotes what moved them to create their individual art quilts, which are all inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. Discover how the experiences which the artists went through enabled them to develop new ways of artistic thinking. Read how the pandemic experience has allowed them to connect to creativity. Topics include Home Is Where The Heart Is and Pandemic Landscapes.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
We have all been affected my the COVID-19 pandemic. This book is aimed at those who wish to discover how fellow designers and makers have used seemingly negative circumstances to inspire creativity. Those who have an interest in real life stories will relate to the quotes by the makers themselves. Textile artists and in particular quilt artists will be inspired by the copious imagery of art quilts, which are all so visually different in form, pattern and style.
About The Author
Sandra Sider is a well known writer who has been practicing as an artist since 1980 and has led many workshops and has written or edited more than a dozen books including Art Quilts Unfolding : 50 Years Of Innovation, Deeds Not Words: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage and Exploring Your Artistic Voice in Contemporary Quilt Art.
The book is divided into a small number of chapters, they are all on a different theme. All begin with the same layout, which comprises of a full page reveal from the writer discussing the chapters content. She tends to highlight a few of the quilts seen and explains what they represent. I love this inside knowledge, it seems that see knows the artists personally, so is able to give us these insightful tit bits.
I like how in the preface introduction Sider explains why as makers we used the virus time period to create. Really for many of us it wasn’t that we suddenly had more inspiration than normal, it was the idea of ‘making something with our hands…..control’. There we have it, that is the true answer; as humans we cannot control pandemics, however we can have control over smaller things, which can help us keep a positive outlook.
From the books text, I get that although we see a copious amount of beautiful art illustrated throughout, this book transcends above being simply a textile art tome. It brings in the emotional aspects, the history and the real life and connects it with the theme of art quilts made during the pandemic.
What Makes This Book Special?
What I like about this book is it isn’t all about how negative experiences have helped the makers, the author explains how the time found within the pandemic period has allowed them freedom in a positive way, so its not all doom and gloom, poor us trapped in our glass houses – there is a hotbed of creativity fostered which we can discover.
Just a few examples…..really I didn’t feel that there was much to say about the photography, it was all professionally done and of a great standard.
Half of this books royalties will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. Who are they? They are the teams working in projects all over the world to fight the spread of the virus and their aim is to support communities affected by the pandemic, providing ail where needed.
At the beginning of each chapter and within sections like the introduction, there are famous timeless quotes which tie in with the books subject matter. I.E. At the beginning of Chapter Five, we read ‘(A)n isolation full of sublimity; a freedom which the attached can never know’ – Virginia Woolf. This is a clever addition to the book, making it more than a Textile art compendium.
The book could not have been created a few years ago, the content would have been foreign to us, so in content, it is special. Ninety-seven makers and artists have been used within this book, so many opinions and personal stories are brought together.
This book also challenges what a quilt can be. For example, the piece on page 95 by Linda Fjeldsted Blust ‘Tomorrow / Soar’ is 3D in form, of a bird of prey. I find myself wanting to google each artist, as they are all so talented, I am becoming the literal bird, a magpie ;).
The author also divulges personal stories to us, for example at the beginning of chapter three, she tells of her journeys to the supermarket during the hight of the pandemic and her emotions surrounding that time.
Make do and mend….not just a war time mantra from a bye-gone era. It is raised right here, on page 93. Makers in the past few years have become more proficient at working with whatever materials they had on hand. I can relate to this myself. I was asked by a well known textile art website who also run workshops to design a course on Batik based on materials found locally or in our home settings.
Anything Wrong With The Book?
Some who wish to distance themselves from the memory of the pandemic may find this books subject matter distressing, however the quotes and text by the author are not designed to shock or promote negativity.
Written with the USA in mind, Sidar’s comments tend to be related to there rather than the UK or Europe.
Whether you are into quilting or simply want to read how others have been positively affected by the pandemic, this book will hold something for you. A beautiful, almost memento of a turbulent time, this is a hardback keeper.
Why not grab your copy of Quarantine Quilts now?