I’m categorizing this blog post under book reviews, but it’s not really. I was asked by the University of Texas Press to do a blind review of the book proposal and was delighted upon its publication to find my Fiberart For A Cause mentioned in the book. So in lieu of a review, please consider this a little overview of why this book is not just for Texans.
First of all, cousins Karoline (Karey) Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes bring sterling credentials to this volume with their long exposure to quilts through their Quilts, Inc. which produces the International Quilt Festivals. They are further demonstrating their commitment to showcasing Texas quilts through the establishment of the new Texas Quilt Museum. This is just the tip of the iceberg of their long and serious involvement with and promotion of quilts.
Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1986 – 2011 is valuable for several reasons. First, it continues their series surveying Texas quilts which began with Lone Stars: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1836 – 1936 and continued with Lone Stars II: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1936 – 1986. That’s right, Karey and Nancy have documented Texas quilts spanning 175 years.
This volume is particularly interesting because of three special features opening the volume.
First is a timeline entitled “A Quarter Century of Change.” From the opening item (the anti-smoking campaign gaining traction) to the last (the BP oil leak), this timeline describes the social milieu from which the featured artworks sprang.
Second is an essay, “Searching for Texas Quilts in the Digital Age.” This essay notes the wide-ranging changes wrought in the methods of locating quilts and their makers, photography, and printing since the previous two volumes.
Lastly, and I believe most importantly, is the essay, “Texas Quilts: Bridging the Millennium.” This essay discusses succinctly, but completely, the many ways Texas quilters and those involved in the International Quilt Festival – Houston have responded to the changes in society and the environment. Included are the role of quilts for causes, the rise of quilt organizations, the state quilt documentation projects, the growth of the art quilt and art to wear, the ranking of the Twentieth Century’s best quilts, Texas as quilt nexus, the survey Quilting in America indicating that in 2010 almost $2.6 billion was spent by quilting enthusiasts, the establishment of quilt museums throughout the U.S., the acceptance of quilts by art museums, and the virtual quilt world. The essay clearly delineates how far quilting has come and how it has morphed since Lone Star II was published.
The heart of the book is the curated 200 quilts made by Texans or former Texans. This was the part of the book I found most beguiling. Karey and Nancy write in such a personal tone that each quilt and its maker really are given an opportunity to tell their story. How often do you look at 200 quilts without your eyes glazing over?
Each quilt is given one or two pages with clear, large photos. If a detail shot is given, it is clear and up close. Listed for each work is the year completed, size, location of maker, style of quilt, source of design, materials used, and primary techniques. A short paragraph contains information from the maker as well as pertinent comments by the authors.
I can honestly say that if you are interested in the development of quilts and the quilt world or just enjoy looking at beautiful works of art, this book is a sensible investment for your library. It is an important volume that captures much about the quilt world while providing the definitive survey of Texas quilts.
Lone Stars III is available from the usual outlets, but save 33% off the list price for either hardcover or paperback by ordering directly from the University of Texas Press here.