Today's Quilt Historians
Women at Work
New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert,
Jane Davila & Elin Waterston Teach
You Art Quilting Basics
Kim’s Review of a teaching DVD
you noticed over the past year or so that more and more teaching DVDs are coming
on the quilt market? Most, if not all, are a take-off of the teacher’s book. C&T
Publishing offers a teaching series of different, “At home with the experts”
DVDs. I purposely asked for the DVD without the book, in order to take an
objective point of view as possible about the value and lessons learned in the
DVD, which is only a portion of the book. You know how it is comparing books and
movies -- movies seldom win.
The title of this DVD is perfect for what you get! We are at home with expert
teachers in their studio, and they teach the basics from an artist’s point of
view and vocabulary, rather than a traditional quilter’s point of view or
vocabulary. It is exactly what I needed but didn’t realize until I watched it.
I am closet art quilter. I used to make only contemporary quilts in the early
1990s, but I went toward reproduction fabrics full force when terrific copies of
antique fabrics became available. Now I'm heading back to the art side, to
include it in my quilt making repertoire. I love art quilts and the freedom and
opportunities they offer me as the designer. I love the fabrics they use,
including the hand-dyed and stamped fabrics. Beads, yarns, laces, photos and
other embellishments are fun to use, but in this DVD, they discuss even more
kinds of embellishments and how to make them fabric friendly when they come from
Before I get too far away, let me return to what I meant when I said the
teachers take an artist's point of view and vocabulary. For example, they seldom
referred to the piece they were working on as a quilt; instead, it was a
composition -- ART! I liked watching while hearing about how they used the
artist's decision-making process in terms of the layout or composition. They
were using design principles an artist uses to make choices and changes, so that
their piece had the final look they were aiming for. The compositions are
multi-faceted, and there are many choices to make. Nothing is right or wrong,
but your vision is the goal. There are many design principles to consider ...
they show examples of each, and then they show finished compositions of
As a traditional quilter, you might be saying that you already use those
principles. Ok, but I know I haven’t; I have usually used my gut and camera as
my guide. And, it would take me a long while to figure out what wasn’t right.
Auditioning is fun to a point, but then I would run out of options. I learned
more options as a result of this information, and now I will ask myself more
questions when I get started or get stuck. Knowledge is power.
If you are a pattern person, the DVD will not fill that need. They talk about
making your own designs and offer suggestions for where to get inspiration and
keep it coming. They appliqué by fusing and quilt by machine, demonstrating free
motion quilting. And there is a long and informative section on drawing a still
life with shadows and highlights that make your finished fabric composition look
realistic, because you make the pattern from the drawing. No EQuilter here! This
section couldn’t be as helpful and illustrative in a book. The DVD is the best
medium for teaching someone how to draw still life.
I recommend this DVD for people who are beginners to art quilt making, since it
covers the basics of design principles needed in designing and making an
artistic composition from fabric. If you are looking for different surface
treatments, this DVD won’t address that. It addresses just 3-D embellishments
and fabric choices. And, it will be a review if you took art classes in college,
or maybe high school. Although, fabric may be a different medium than what you
I also recommend you watch this DVD in sections. The menu presents chapters and
subchapters, which makes it easy to know when to switch off and easy to find
where you left off. I have watched it twice; some parts three times. Would I
have read the book twice? Some parts three times, probably more. With new
material and ideas presented, the book may not have been as clear as the DVD.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, including the teachers' personalities. It was just
like being in a girlfriend’s studio; words were made-up words, the ‘girls” were
funny and upbeat, errors were made and corrected, and everyone was happy to
spend the day together. This is a very nice pick for design basics in art quilt
design and making.
Jane and Elin’s book:
Quilt Workbook: Exercises & Techniques to Ignite Your Creativity
My Book Reviews
© 2008 - 2015 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use
of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.
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