I love reviewing books, but I am always excited when I receive one authored by Martha Sielman, Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates. Who knew Martha was a “Nature Girl” with a life-long affinity for flora and fauna with academic coursework in biology?
I hated reading the book in one go for this review and plan on returning to the book at my leisure. There is much to enjoy in the writing and in the gorgeous images. Nineteen artists are featured with additional galleries showcasing the work of more than 70 artists. I was happy to see that some artists new to me were featured in the in-depth profiles.The galleries are grouped under flowers, birds, water, animals, leaves, insects, trees, and textures.
There is a special section featuring interpretations of Wallace Stevens’ poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by the Fiber Artists Coalition. Take a moment if you are able and follow the link to read the poem. That’s a poem with some power to generate powerful artwork. I could probably spend a year just thinking and making art about it. Kudos to Clairan Ferrono for proposing the poem theme to the group and for creating what I found to be the most evocative artwork from it.
As always, the artist interviews were revealing and one of my favorite parts. The artists chosen have explored the natural world in depth, often as metaphors for their own lives and circumstances. This book would be a great gift to a nature lover who perhaps is not familiar with the art quilt. The images are arresting, interesting, and varied. There is very little use of abstraction in the artworks showcased so the volume can be enjoyed by those who just like to look at nature in all its glory.
I will reiterate my comment made about Sielman’s previous two books: Masters: Art Quilts, Volumes 1 and 2 published by Lark. It’s fiber, not paintings, please show us details of the stitching or other surface design.
Of course, I’m going to name favorites: Annie Helmericks-Louder (a distinct artistic vision backed by a strong environmental stance) and Katherine K. Allen (the aesthetic of growing materials used in the art is very appealing).
Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World is 192 pages and retails of $24.95. It is available at the usual outlets as well as in the Studio Art Quilt Associates bookstore. I look forward to the next book in this Art Quilt Portfolio series, People and Portraits.
Lark is celebrating the release of The Natural World by giving away a copy of the book here.