Posts Tagged ‘Martha Sielman’

Two new books showcasing art quilts – including mine!


It’s always exciting when a new survey book about art quilts arrives at my house.  It’s even more exciting when my artwork is included.  Art Quilts International:  Abstract & Geometric by Martha Sielman has long interviews with 29 artists and 97 artists with artwork showcased in the galleries.  It’s an honor to be included as Sielman received over 1300 submissions.

My artwork is Shagbark 2 and was placed beautifully next to artwork by Elena Stokes:


It’s a gorgeous book with plenty to occupy the mind and eye.  Of course there are many outlets from which you may purchase this 224-page book. But if you buy directly from Studio Art Quilt Associates, you will receive five notecards AND 45% of the purchase price supports SAQA.


Studio Art Quilt Associates will also be publishing Art Quilt Retrospective, covering art quilts and artists from 1960 through today. The introduction will be written by Janet Koplos, a senior editor at Art in America from 1990-2009.  Here are the juried artists.  I’ll share more info when I receive it as I’m not even sure at this point which artwork of mine will be included.  It really is an honor to be included.



12 2016

People and Portraits – A Sequel That Surpasses the Original



Well, OK, Art Quilt Portfolio: Peoples & Portraits isn’t a sequel like the ongoing saga of a blockbuster movie.  However it is the second, following The Natural World, of a series of books about art quilts with both books being authored by Martha Sielman, Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates. The topic is, as with the first, self-evident.

Safe in Suburbia

Safe in Suburbia by Lori Lupe Pelish

There was a lot to like about The Natural World (my review here), but in this new volume Sielman has really developed the perfect format for a portfolio book.  I read it all in one sitting and found myself wishing it were longer.

The book is divided into thematic chapters:  Happiness, Contemplation, Community, Icons, Family and Friends, Work, and Play.  Within each chapter there are three featured artists and then a gallery of artwork about the theme.  There are more than 100 artists featured in the galleries.


John by Margene Gloria May

Each of the 21 featured artists has a short and perceptive introduction by Sielman and then the artists “talk” about their work in a series of brief essays. Sielman’s steady hand is shown in the editing of these essays. Each artist comes alive as she writes about her artistic journey, her inspirations, her personal symbolism, her sources of inspiration, and more.   Each artist also writes about the process of one of  her featured artworks.  More than once (you have heard this refrain before), I longed for even just ONE detail shot that would clarify something the artist had said about their process.


Tango by Colette Berends

Having said that, I much preferred it when the artist focused on their inspiration and purpose in making art, rather than the technical details.  That’s why I read this book straight through.  What could be more interesting than hearing artists “talk” about their work in a meaningful way with plenty of artwork interspersed?

There are a few featured artists (Cheryl Dineen Ferrin, Leni Wiener, Mary Pal, Lura Schwarz Schmidt, and Kathy Nida) who have been favs of mine for a long time, but it is always great to see and read about unfamiliar artists. All the featured artists have singular voices and definite points of view and you can’t ask for more than that in a portfolio book.


George by Pat Pauly

Art Quilt Portfolio:  People & Portraits is published by Lark Books and available through the usual vendors and SAQA.  It is 192 pages and retails for $24.95.  All photos courtesy of the publisher; artwork on book cover by Lora Rocke.


05 2013

The Natural World: A Beautiful Book for Nature and Art Lovers

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.




03 2012

Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2 – A sequel that delivers!

Venetian Fire
Fenella Davies
All photos provided by Lark Craft

I just went back and read what I had to say in my review of Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 1 and perhaps I could just say,”Ditto, buy it, buy it now.”  I won’t feel badly if you just go here and buy this second volume featuring forty artists who both pioneered and are pioneering exactly what the potential of an art quilt can be.

Martha Sielman, Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, has once again done a superb job of distilling in ten pages the who, what, and why of each of the forty artists. Sielman notes in her introduction that she tries to keep her curatorial comments concise, but artists often spoke to her of incidents in their lives that resonate in their work.

I say bring on more of those stories, Martha!  I have Leslie Gabrielse’s book, but I either whipped by it or didn’t focus on his itinerant childhood that may be reflected in the often wistful expressions of the people in his artwork.

The forty artists are from around the world with just over half from the U.S.  I was most intrigued, in general, by the work from artists not in the U.S.  But, hey, blame that on seeing works from artists such as Tim Harding, Jane Dunnewold, Elizabeth Busch, etc. covered extensively and over a number of years in the U.S.

Landscape in Gray
Shulamit Liss

Often books about art quilts veer from featuring dark artworks such as those from Shulamit Liss featuring, “A brooding palette that includes ocher, black, gray, and brown. . . .”  Well, kudos to Martha for writing that lovely sentence and knowing that although the artwork may be somewhat difficult to see in a printed format, it is work that deserves to be seen and appreciated on its own terms.  I would have loved to have seen bigger and more detail shots of almost all the artwork and darker artwork always benefits the most from this important feature.

Le Mantra III: Missing Messages
Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

As in Vol. 1, these are pure quibbles compared to the delight and edification to be found in this volume. I was intrigued by artwork by almost all the artists, but three of my favs’ artwork (Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Pamela Fitzsimons and Finella Davies) are featured throughout this review. These artists have a very personal vision which they are rendering in cloth in new and unusual ways.

Pamela Fitzsimons

You will have your own favorites as there is such an abundance and variety of artwork.  People often misunderstand the motivation of a good juror or curator.  It is not to choose artwork that is personally appealing, but to choose artwork by an artist that clearly shows a mature and developed point of view and expresses that point of view in a way that will make the viewer pause and perhaps re-consider what they know about the world or the medium.  Martha has succeeded for an amazing second time and I look forward to Vol. 3 of this series.



09 2011