Friday, February 10, 2012

"Creative Quilting with Beads" - review & giveaway

Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader’s book on quilting with beads is now available in paperback format.  I’ve received a copy for review, and my first comment is that it is beautifully published on high-quality paper and with excellent photography … always my first requirement for any book to earn a place on my bookshelf.

The first part of the book, “The Basics”, truly is a simple, basic overview of tools and supplies, techniques, and even several easy options for hanging an art quilt.  There are no extensive bead-stitching instructions, but the basic techniques shown are well-illustrated and explained.

The second part, “The Projects”, contains 24 fun projects, including several purses, a vintage pillow, an apron, and a soft art-doll.  The rest are art quilts, at various levels from sweet-and-simple to sophisticated-and-striking.  One of the little handbags, by Veronica Hofman Ortega, actually serves as a sampler of beading techniques on the front of the elegant little bag.  There is a convenient “Templates” section in the back, for those who want to follow along with the projects, or you can just use the projects as inspiration.

As a somewhat experienced beader myself, I was most taken with the pieces by Sarah Ann Smith, Larkin Van Horn, and Deborah Boschert, but many of the other pieces would definitely appeal to beginning-to-intermediate beaders, traditional quilters who are looking for a slight twist to add to their work, and those who just want to experiment a bit.

The third section is the “Gallery”, with smaller images of some pretty exciting beaded artwork by other artists, including two of my favorites, Susan Shie and Susan Sorrell.  I have already found a lot of inspiration in these images, and look forward to going back through them again.

There is a nice section at the back (“About the Designers”) which gives background, website, and contact information for the designers who contributed. The actual Index only references “The Basics” section on tools and techniques, and it would have been helpful to have indexed the artists’ names with the page numbers of their artworks here.  This is really the only issue I have with the book, however, and consider it a very nice addition to my bookshelf.

Now, who would like to win a copy of this lovely book?  I want to mix it up a little this time, and have an actual contest instead of just a drawing.  Leave me a Comment with a haiku (5-7-5 syllables) and I will pick a winner.  It can be about art, beads or beading, quilts or sewing, anything that inspires you.  (Don’t worry about not being a poet … I’m not a tough grader!)

Here’s one to start you off:

            Calmly stitching beads.
            Nosy cat jumps in my lap …
            All beads on the floor.

If you’re new to haiku, it’s fun!  Sometimes it’s easier for me to start off with the last line, and build up to it.

Good luck!  I’m looking forward to reading your haiku, and sending this lovely book to the winner.