Sunday, March 8, 2015

Landscape Impacting Art: Art Quilts of the Midwest

On the historical timeline Art Quilts are relative newcomers. One could argue that the Crazy Quilt fad of the 19th c. produced quilts for show, not use, but the term as we employ it today refers to art studio quilts to be shown in exhibitions and collected by museums. They are designed with no functional use in mind. They are fabric based, usually several layers somehow tied together, but also can incorporate found materials, embellishments, and can be three-dimensional and asymmetrical. They are always the viewpoint of an artist, a statement, something encountered and experienced.

It may surprise some to know how important the Midwest is to the development of quilting and art quilts. Not to those of us from the Midwest! Consider:
And this just begins the list. In 2013 the Grand Rapids Art Prize went to quilt artist Ann Loveless for her Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore quilt. The American Quilt Society show at Grand Rapids has brought art quilts to West Michigan, as well as the traveling Mancusco Brothers World Quilt and Textile festival when it came to Lansing, MI. We Michiganders are very aware of the impact of environment on art quilts!

Art Quilts of the Midwest by Linzee Kull McCray looks at twenty quilt artists from the Midwest to explore how environment impacts their work. Our environment influences us in many ways, from childhood memories and nostalgia to our values and customs. The Midwest is primarily rural, endures seasonal extremes, was settled by pioneers and immigrants used to thrift and the necessity of hard labor. It also incorporates diverse ecosystems, from the Great Lakes with its beaches and great inland seas, its deep woods, to the vast open prairies and big skies.

McCray interviewed each quilt artist about influences and techniques behind their work. Each artist has a close up and page sized broad view of a quilt and a broad view of a second quilt. Artists included are:
As a quilter I don't view this as merely a coffee table book, but as a source of inspiration, a reminder that one's art is only limited by one's imagination. I want to try some of these techniques! No, there are not how-to instructions, you cannot recreate these works of art. Yet it is by studying the Masters that artists learn, and the same holds true for quilters.

I received the ebook through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Art Quilts of the Midwest
by Linzee Kull McCray
University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 9781609383237
$24.95
104 pages, 60 color photographs, 8x9 inches
Publication Date: March 15, 2015