What a beautiful surprise to find in the mail! Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World, curated by Martha Sielman and available for purchase at SAQA's website, showcases quilts inspired by nature. This is the first in a series of themed books. Over 70 artists are featured in the book's galleries and 19 artists are profiled in this gorgeous volume.
The book is divided into sections by subject matter -- flowers, trees, and textures are just a few of the eight divisions. There is a little something for everyone in this collection, from photo-realism to abstraction. I love flowers, and there was plenty to see, but I discovered that coral, blackbirds, and moths also come to brilliant life in the hands of these artists.
The pictures are truly vibrant. I love seeing close-ups, though, and would have liked to see a few detail shots. I realize, though, that since I was not the curator, the quilts I want to see details of may not have been the ones that were chosen, so maybe it is better having none at all.
While I enjoyed the galleries of work pertaining to the subject, I was most excited to see the profiles of the artists. The artwork soars, for me, when I understand a little about the artist who created it. Seeing a list of techniques without knowing why the artist used them leaves me cold. Learning why Paula Chung chooses flowers and what they mean to her, or understanding the motivation of Annie Helmericks-Louder to create her richly colored quilts, or how Ginny Smith works, helps me to better appreciate the artwork itself. The backgrounds of these artists are so different, but they all ultimately are compelled to create in cloth.
I can't wait to see what Martha Sielman has in store for the next volume of Art Quilt Portfolio.