One of the cool things about books is the way you can return to them and discover new things in even the most well-loved volume. That's definitely true of novels and biographies, but I think it's also the case with art books. Over the years, I've amassed a fair number of books. Some of these are books that survey a particular era or movement in art, others are how-to books. But, my favorite kind of art book has got to be one that features an artist or a group of artists and discusses their work and inspirations.
Several years ago(probably 15 or so), I purchased The Passionate Quilter by a British quilt artist, Michele Walker, that featured a variety of up and coming English quilters. Among them are some ladies who's names are pretty well known today, Janet Bolton,Pauline Burbidge, and Deidre Amsden. Also mentioned were several quilters who I haven't heard about since coming across their bios in this book. Nonetheless, the book is packed with beautiful quilts and interesting stories about their makers. One artist who particularly struck me was a woman named Lucinda Gane.
She made these amazing mosaic quilts using the traditional English paper piecing method. Her quilts were, however, not based on standard patterns, but inspired by African kente cloth or Monet's paintings of the gardens at Giverny.
What I've always loved about these quilts is the way they read as textiles rather than quilts. I understand that quilts are textiles, so that's kind of a ridiculous thing to say, but these pieces feel more like kilim rugs than they do patchwork, and I find that so amazing. A lot of the quilts I've made have striven to achieve that same feeling, to be woven together rather than patched.For me, making these kinds of images has always relied heavily on my hand dyed and batiked fabric. Unlike Lucinda, I don't seem to be able to do it with commercial fabric. I get so drawn to all the pretty patterns, I can't seem to focus on making textiles. I always end up with patchwork, which is not necessarily a bad thing( another problem:too many loves). Lately, I've been creating more patterned batiks with the hope of cutting them up and piecing into "textiles".
I can't believe I'm actually posting an image of this second work in progress. It's barely started, but I have a good feeling about it. It's the same feeling I had when I first started my Twinkle quilt. I sensed it would work out well.
On a related and sad note: I was googling Lucinda's name today to find out what she's been up to and if she's made any fabulous quilts lately, when I learned that she died of cancer in 2005. She was also a relatively well known British actress, having appeared both on the stage and on television. I was certainly saddened to hear that she was gone.