I was excited to receive my copy of Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2 in yesterday’s mail, and couldn’t wait to review it for you here.
Curated by Martha Sielman, this second volume of “major works by leading artists” has been eagerly anticipated by those of us in the art quilt field, as well as those who collect and appreciate fiber art as Fine Art.
Ms. Sielman is well-known as the Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), and has earned her stripes as a professional artist, author, lecturer, juror, and arts administrator, with too many professional credits to name here. Suffice it to say that she has created another masterpiece with this book.
By limiting the number of artists to 40 (in this 412-page book), Ms. Sielman has been able to showcase a fairly wide range of each artist’s work, along with a satisfying, but not overwhelming, amount of information about each artist and his or her working philosophy and/or techniques. Each artwork is named and dated, with the size, materials, and techniques also indicated. (One of my pet peeves about some other books is not being able to tell how large or small an artwork is, so this is a big plus for me.)
The artists showcased here are pulled from a truly international base, and the quilts reflect the most sophisticated kind of artwork of any genre. For instance, Emily Richardson’s quilts of silk organza and acrylic paints could easily be mistaken for abstract oil paintings.
Genevieve Attinger’s graceful portraits and nudes could be straight out of an old master’s studio, with the addition of her delicate stitches. Pamela Fitzsimons’ highly textured Australian landscape pieces are painstakingly created by hand, from dyeing to stitching.
For a refreshing take on land- and seascapes, take a look at the collaborations of Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade. They combine realistic landscapes with unusual framing elements that make you stop and look again … and again.
Linda MacDonald enjoys inserting humor into some of her environmentally sensitive message quilts. Although some see her graphic images as similar to comic-book art, they always remind me of delicate wood-block cuts.
In addition to Ms. Sielman’s introductions to each artist, there are short quotations by the artists scattered throughout each section. One of my favorites is by Laura Wasilowski: “Fabric scraps are like starter dough. The possibilities are endless.”
This book is large enough to allow for good-sized images and a few detail shots, without being an oversized “coffee-table” book. I do wish there had been room for more (and larger) detail shots, but then the book would have had to be much bigger and heavier! The paper is very high quality, and the photography is superb. Highly recommended as a gift or for yourself. Although I often give books away, I’m keeping this one!
Disclaimer: I received this book for the purpose of writing an independent review.