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Art Quilting Portfolio: People & Portraits

The winner has been chosen using a random number generator at for the free copy of People and Portraits, it’s number 22!  My comment list says it is Anne, so please contact me via the Contact page on this site with your name and address, and Lark will send you a copy.  Congrats and thanks to all.

Martha Sielman and Lark Crafts have done it again:  another wonderful survey of art quilts today, this time with the theme of People and Portraits.

Art Quilt Portfolio:  People and Places by Martha Sielman, published by Lark Crafts

Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Places by Martha Sielman, published by Lark Crafts

The book includes profiles of 21 major artists from around the world and galleries with works by another 120 artists based on themes:

  • Happiness
  • Contemplation
  • Community
  • Icons
  • Family and Friends
  • Work
  • Play

There are several ways to approach this book:

  • Sit down and devour it at once from cover to cover
  • Dip in at random, opening a page to works by people you may or may not know
  • Savor a section or an artist at a time
  • Grab a favorite beverage, find a comfortable place to sit, and reward yourself with a half hour or hour to read and study the artists you admire
  • or all of the above

I started by devouring the book, seeing whose work was in the book, were my favorites there (yes!), whose work had I not seen before?  If you’d like to do the same, read to the end of this post for information on how to win this book, thanks to Lark!

I appreciate the more in depth look we get at each of the featured artists.  Each feature has a one paragraph introduction by Martha, followed by five or six images and writing by the artists (I’m presuming in response to questions from Martha). The commentary covers both technique and substance.   In Bodil Gardner’s section, I enjoyed learning that she includes sheep to add a dash of white to a piece, and that cups are her symbol for women sharing and getting together.  I love reading about Collette Berends’ life and inspiration and also about the wide range of materials used.

There is a very good range of styles and techniques represented as well, ranging from the cartoon-style of Pamela RuBert to Bodil Gardner’s whimsy to Jennifer Day’s and Jenny Bowker’s realistic portraits.  Lastly, this book has the dates the quilts were made. I LOVE THIS because I enjoy looking at the works in chronological order to see the artist’s progression in style, theme and technique.  I do wish they had included the artist’s home country (recognizing that a number of them were inspired by life in other places), and it would have been wonderful if there had been room to include a small photo and bio of each artist, perhaps in the index, but I realize that we all want to see more quilts and there are only so many pages you can squeeze into a book.

From a technical standpoint, almost all the photos are crisp and clear.  The majority show the edges of the quilts; you can tell those because of the drop-shadow used on the page.  Others are clearly cropped to be in a rectangle.  I vastly prefer seeing the entirety of the quilt, not cropped, and wonder at the decision to do this–I wish they hadn’t.  I also wish there were some detail photos:  the first time I flipped through the book quickly, I actually looked to make sure these were all quilts, as I couldn’t see the stitching on many pieces.  This is a function of two things:  the quality of the photograph submitted by the artists and the size of the original quilt (the larger the quilt, the more detail is lost as it is shrunk to fit on a page).  For example, Julie Duschack’s “Monk in the Doorway” is very large, about 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide.  I saw it in Houston and walked as close as I could get to see the stunning quilting on the large black wall; alas, only a portion of this stitching shows on the page:  a detail photo that included part of the stitching would have been wonderful. These are, however, minor quibbles about a book that is well worth adding to your library.

Bottom line:   You’ll love this book!  And I’m thrilled to say that Lark has offered a copy to a reader who comments on this blogpost!  Thank you Lark!  So please leave me a comment.  Tell me what you like to see in portraits, whether your preferences are abstracted, photo-realistic, close-ups, painted or appliqued, tell me what is it that speaks to you when you see an art quilt portrait.  On June 12 I will pick one person at random (I’ll use an online random number generator based on the total number of comments); I’ll need your email to contact you with the good news, which I’ll also post on this post as the last message.


51 Responses to “Art Quilting Portfolio: People & Portraits”

  1. BLOG TOUR: Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits Book, by Martha Sielman | Sherry Davis Kleinman Fiber Artist Says:

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