Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Masters: Art Quilts Vol. 2

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.


  1. Thanks, Linda. This book was a joy to write. I learned so much about all of these fabulous artists!
    --Martha Sielman

  2. And thank YOU for writing it, Martha! A true treasure in my library.

  3. You have done a great job of enticing all of us to want to have a copy!

  4. thank you, Linda, for the review!

  5. I would love a copy of your newest book - suc h a treasure and I thought I was not going to buy anymore quilting, mixed media, painting, dyeing books anymore.

  6. I agree with you about having title, date, size and materials in the photo captions. It bugs me to no end when a magazine publishes a quilt photo and leaves all that stuff out. While I realize a photo in a book is not the same as a chance to see the actual quilt, the information gives a better sense of what you are looking at. I also love detail shots - almost never enough of those!

  7. I'd love to have this book, such wonderful inspiration. We all need eye candy once in a while.
    Susan Parker

  8. Well I would love to win the book and have the opportunity to review it from the comfort of my own studio. Thanks for the invite.


  9. Well Linda I am actually glad that I came to your blog because it is a very good site and I am adding it to my favourites. I came to check out the book and your review but started looking at what you do here and it is worth it just to see it never the less I would love to win the Masters book as I have been hearing such positive comments from the quilt art community.
    Thanks for the pull in.

  10. A copy of this book/collection by Martha Sielman would be a wonderful addition to any Art Library! Looking back through the pages of Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 1, I realize how much diversity exists in the world of Art Quilts and Fiber Art. Thank you for getting me to pull the earlier volume off my bookshelf and enjoy all the eye candy. It inspires the soul and encourages the mind to view artists and their works. Everyone has their own style, special techniques, or inspirations. Time to develop my own.....

    JoAnn Janjigian

  11. Is that a Tim Harding quilt in the center on the cover? I would love to have a copy of this book. Beg, beg whine, beg!

    Carolyn Abbott

  12. Carole Blackburn8:56 PM, August 17, 2011

    I would love to add this book to my art quilt library. I have Volume 1 and use it as my inspiration. I love to sit and admire the beautiful quilts that have been created by so many talented quilters over the years. I would treasure the opportunity to add Volume 2 to my library.

    Carole Blackburn

  13. Thank you all for your wonderful Comments! (Yes, that's a Tim Harding quilt in the middle of the cover ... "Koi #12".) The drawing is over, and we had THREE winners! Thanks, everybody, for joining in.


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