The Art Quilt bu Robert Shaw





Excerpt from The Art Quilt—"A History of the Art Quilt"

-from Threads Magazine

"While the controversy over whether quilts are art or craft continues to rage, a large number of innovative and powerful works-in-fabric have quietly emerged, forcing the medium to the forefront of the contemporary art scene. The Art Quilt by Robert Shaw (Hugh Lauter Levin Associates; 1997; oversize hardcover, $85; 304 pp.) documents this quilted outpouring so effectively that it may just put an end to the battle.

With the appearance of this gorgeous and ambitious book, it seems unlikely that quilts, as well as the various objects created through the quilting process, could ever again be dismissively assumed to be staid, quaint, bound by tradition, or strictly utilitarian. The Art Quilt is an art-lover's treasure, a quiltmaker's bible, and a collector's reminder of all the wonderful quilts yet to covet. Shaw volunteers a critical view of the tradition of quiltmaking from the early historical influences, elaborates the construction methods and surface-design treatments pursued by the modern studio artist, and closes with an in-depth look at abstract, narrative, figurative, and nature-based quilts and their makers. The writing is focused and readable, targeted primarily to those who haven't already immersed themselves in the art-quilt world.

The photographs, of course, are the book's crowning glory. More than 300 sumptuous illustrations, as clear and as detailed as you can get without standing in front of the actual work, showcase the talents of the many featured artists. Each page is more powerful than the last, and even the captions are a delight: they're full of useful and clarifying information. Photos are grouped together on double-page spreads by complementary colors and similar subjects--not an easy task with so many, and such disparate, images.

Hats off to Shaw, who has undertaken a massive task: to distill a vast and diverse movement into a single book. His research is extensive and thorough in a rapidly growing medium, and his analysis is honest, straightforward, and understandable. Yet, for all this, The Art Quilt is a book to be savored first and studied later, and any attempt to take it all in at once would be an affront to the senses. Hold back from turning page after page in succession; soak in the images, then relish the captions and surrounding text. There's no question that the work of the artists included, both well-known professionals and those not yet in the limelight, will make your hands itch to create something new. Although The Art Quilt may be considered outdated in ten or so years' time, this volume is clearly the definitive guide to the art quilt movement today."

Home · About · News · Books · Lectures · Services · Contact
QuiltsDecoysGuitarsFolk Art

© 2011 Robert Shaw