Point, Click, Quilt! is the title of Susan Brubaker Knapp’s wonderful book which is subtitled “Turn your Photos in to Fabulous Fabric Art.” And this is a SERIOUSLY overdue review! I received my copy of the book from Susan in July, just before heading out to teach in Nebraska. I liked the book so much that I wanted to review it before I went, but felt I really needed to read the entire book closely first….then I got back and life happened! So now that I have almost (but not quite) dug out from under the accumulated “life happening” stuff, I would like to recommend this book to you. And offer the disclaimer that Susan is an internet friend and she asked me to have a piece in her book. However, I’d say all these good things anyway! Check below for information on winning a copy of this book!
There are a lot of books out there these days about using your photography as the starting point for your art quilts. Many of them, alas, make me think of “paint by numbers”–artworks that are slaving imitations of a photo without much thought–fortunately this book is all about thinking. Susan’s book begins by teaching you to THINK and to SEE–to improve your own photos so that the process of modifying them into textile art starts with a really good image from the get-go. The Creativity and Learning to See section talks about one of my favorite things: actually SEEING what is there, not what you think is there–about learning to really look at the elements of the composition (your photo’s composition) to make it a strong visual image. She covers the basics elements of design, including showing you how to crop a so-so photo into a much better composition, and how you can modify an existing photo to make a better composition in your quilt.
Susan then goes on to “On a Mission: Photography exercises to build your skills” which has five separate exercises, lavishly illustrated with Susan’s photos. These exercises show how you can take what I call “reference” photos to put into practice (and into your imagery) what you learned in the Creativity section. These two sections are, for me, worth the entire price of the book and more! They are JUST what you want from a book like this!
The “Getting Started” chapter then shows you how to take your photo and turn it into a quilt pattern. Finally, there are sixteen projects, each using a different special technique. These projects are good learning exercises for those new (and not so new) to art quilts. Once you have begun to practice SEEING, and interpreting first Susan’s and then your own images in cloth, you’ll be ready to move on to creating your original art.
At the end is a gallery of quilts made from photos to give you an idea how contemporary quilt artists are using photographs to create art. My quilt of Blue Buoys, made for a Coastal Quilters (local chapter of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild) Challenge a while back, uses a very tight crop of some buoys in a photo by D. Pitcairn (used with permission) and faces a quilt of an adorable dog made by Pam George.
I’m happy to be able to recommend this book, and so thankful that Susan asked me to be a part of it! You can order directly from Susan at her website.
LATE NEWS BULLETIN: I wrote Susan to let her know this post would be going live today, and she said “OH! I’d love to donate a copy of the book in a giveaway!” So thank you Susan! To be eligible to win a copy, please leave a comment below. I’ll use a random number generator (may be my son!) to select the winner. I’d love it if you’d tell me which of Susan’s works you most like…she has a mind-boggling array of beautiful work here (her Gallery page) as well as in her series of six articles on thread sketching for Quilting Arts magazine. PS: Susan is heading to Quilt Market and Festival, so I’ll do the drawing on November 9th (after I’m back from teaching in NH, too).