Friday, October 19, 2007
I was quite excited to receive a review copy of The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson. Jeanne committed to making one small quilt a week for seven years, which is mind boggling to me, but she did it and this book showcases some of her results. I pretty much stick with fabric for my quilts but Jeanne goes far beyond that. She uses lots of plastic, such as the bags used for storing vegetables and colorful shopping bags. In these days of re-cycle and re-use it's refreshing to see what an interesting second life such materials can have. She also has a section on paper, surface design and one on fibre. To Jeanne, fibre includes much more than quilting cotton. Think weather stripping, dryer lint and worn out socks, to list a few.
The book is well organized, with a section on basic construction and materials. Then each material has its own section with an introduction explaining where to find it and how to use it. For example, as a sushi lover, I never thought of saving the plastic grass that separates each roll, for use in a quilt. After the basics, there are several examples of art quilts Jeanne has made using the materials highlighted in that section.
The patterns, which are obviously meant as a jumping off point for creating your own work of art, are very well illustrated. There is a list oof materials used for each and instructions on how to put it together. I especially like the small inset on the top corner of each page explaining the inspiration for each piece, taken from Jeanne's daily life. The inspirations vary from choosing the right hair dye to taking a child off to college to a trip to Paris.
Anyone who is interested in art quilts, journal quilts or fabric postcards will find this book fascinating and useful. I know I will find it impossible to toss out those mesh vegetable bags now. Although I won't commit to a quilt a week, I will be trying some of her techniques and materials in the near future. Who knows, it may end up a weekly habit.
Jeanne has a blog at: Jeannne Williamson.
From her blog you can also access her web page and an Uncommon Quilter web page.