Friday, February 24, 2012

Book review: Colour in Art Quilts by Janet Twinn

For the past two weeks I've been assisting my daughter while she recovered from her surgery.  She was on orders for pretty strict bed rest and, in my naivete, I thought that meant I'd get lots of things done while she lounged around getting better.  I'm such a fool.  No, someone on bed rest needs lots of help.  There's no time to sneak off to the studio for extended periods of time nor can you sit blindfolded, immersed in Dorothy Caldwell's blindfold embroidery task because let me tell you, blindfolds and needles don't mix well with patient needs.

But, a laptop computer makes it possible to snatch a few minutes here and there to shop on-line.... and I enjoyed it immensely.   Look at the lovely stack of books gracing my desktop!

I'd like to introduce you to the first book I finished, Colour in Art Quilts by Janet Twinn.   I read it cover to cover; there wasn't a single section I skimmed or skipped over.

The luscious, almost suede-like feel of the cover hints at how special this book is before you even have a chance to open it.  Colour in Art Quilts spends the first chapter on color theory and briefly describes different methods of dyeing.  In the remainder of the book, Twinn discusses how color is a tool of the artist's personal vocabulary.  There's a chapter on color in context -- about how we each have our own color preferences  -- and a chapter on restricted and monochromatic palettes. There's discussion of how time and place affect our feelings towards and our use of color.  Interspersed throughout are instructions on varying methods of creating color, from the expected (screen printing) to the unexpected  (the use of seams).  Large, full and detail photos of quilts accompany the topics of discussion and, in many cases, Twinn reviews how a particular artist's piece exemplifies the point.

Part of the reason I love this book are Twinn's expertise (she has a BFA in Fine Arts) and her remarkably accessible and readable style throughout the book.  I was very excited to see the works of many artists I'm unfamiliar with used as illustrations.  For me, seeing art that was new to me pulled me in and kept me from skipping over the examples.  (It's also clear I need to pay more attention to what's going on across the Atlantic!)  I don't recall that any of the lessons Twinn suggested were too overwhelming or required an irrational number of supplies, so that was a plus for me.  I also liked that she shared her own experiences and thought processes, making her voice all the more engaging: "I have a collection of old jam jars, which I keep to mix the paint in" and "I always like my fabric much better after I have cut it up."  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Twinn has some unique and personal things to say about color.  I enjoyed the glimpse into her psyche as an artist and appreciated the lessons learned.

The book is as beautifully bound and printed as a cocktail table art book.  The paper is high quality and the photographs are large and clear.  The artwork within is so lovely that your guests will enjoy it even if they simply look at the pictures.  But I urge you to buy it and read it.   Colour in Art Quilts is a worthwhile purchase.  I know this is a book I will be returning to again and again.


Natalya Aikens said...

great book! thanks for the review!

Judy Alexander said...

I see you have 'Connecting Art to Stitch' by Sandra Meech. I love this book and Sandra's other book too!