Cover artwork by Nancy Murty
I know it is somewhat awkward reviewing a book that includes my own artwork, but Lark Books sent me an extra copy. So I’m going to do a little review and then give the extra copy away to one lucky reader.
But first, let’s look at the book. The 500 Art Quilts’ editor is Ray Hemachandra and the juror was Karey Bresenhan. The 8×8″ book fits my great-to-look-at-in-bed criteria (not too big to hold up to peruse while reclining gracefully) and most of the art quilts are shown one per page. Each artwork is featured with the name of the artist, title, date, size (in inches and centimeters – a nice touch), materials and techniques. A lot of thought was obviously given to the placement of facing art quilts for maximum compatibility.
The subtitle of 500 Art Quilts is An Inspiring Collection of Contemporary Work. This IS a great book for those seeking inspiration; it is almost overwhelming seeing so many art quilts. 500 Art Quilts the kind of book to keep at hand and peruse just a few pages at a time; there would always be something new and interesting with each turn of the page.
I did notice, whether due to the technical demands of printing or just as a sign of the times, that almost all of the artwork is in very saturated colors. The dates for the art quilts go back to at least 1989. I don’t think art quilts from more than ten years ago are intrinsically more or less interesting than those made in the last two or three years, but I would have liked to have seen newer work from all the artists.
This book is part of the 500 Series by Lark Books focusing on, well, what Lark Books focuses so well: fine craft. So on one hand, I say BRAVO that art quilts are receiving some much needed exposure in such an upscale format. On the other hand, I do think we need to give a little more thought to what exactly we want art quilts to be known as – art or fine craft. I did notice the little suggestion for bookstore shelving on the back cover is ART/QUILTING, so that gives me hope.
But the comments above should be read as mere quibbles beside the fact that such a fine survey book that can only bring more exposure to our art form. Beautifully designed and beautifully printed, 500 Art Quilts will definitely entice those unfamiliar with art quilts to learn more, inspire those new to art quilting, and be a must-have addition to the library shelves of any fiber art enthusiast. The book is available at your local bookseller, Amazon, and B&N. Topping out at 432 pages, 500 Art Quilts is an uber-bargain with retail around $25.
There are always those artists who are pushing the art quilt form in new and interesting directions. Leave a comment with the url of an artist or a specific art quilt that recently intrigued you and you will be entered to win my extra copy of 500 Art Quilts. Deadline to post a comment midnight (CST), March 25.
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