With the holidays coming up, I thought I’d share some of the books I have in the current rotation that I find to be beautiful, inspirational, and educational. They make good gifts, that’s true, but they’re also a good excuse to set some quiet time aside for yourself. I confess I have a slight addiction to learning, and books are one of the biggest ways that I indulge. Before you click on the links below, know that these are *not* affiliate links.
Books on Quilt History (in no particular order)
American Quilts: The Democratic Art by Robert Shaw. I love this book because it presents the history of quilting in America (thanks, title!), but it does so in a way that considers quilts and quilters from the point of view that quilts are part of a particularly American art form. To Mr. Shaw, all quilts are art, and many of the quilts are “high end” examples. There is a great deal of food for thought in this book, especially when compared with
Unconventional and Unexpected by Roderick Kiracoffe. Whereas Mr. Shaw’s book covers the elite quilts, Mr. Kiracoffe covers quilts that are quite the opposite: quilts that were made for use, but which still show a love of color and design, and which are still as much of an art form as the fancy quilts. These two together are a great combo.
New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection is just plain gorgeous, published by Quiltmania. If you don’t know this French publisher, you really, really, should. The books are well done, thorough, and gorgeous, and Bill Volckening‘s collection really shines. There is some serious eye candy here, and it is made even better by the thorough history offered for each quilt, and how they fit in the spectrum.
Another really beautiful Quiltmania book is Turkish Patchwork by Elisabeth Madzar. I haven’t read this one through yet, but slowly flipped through it in delight. This one requires some more devoted time!
Quilts Around the World by Spike Gillespie is a great overview of, well, quilting traditions from all over. Lots of beautiful and inspiring things to see here in this book, and really useful to think about in terms of fitting the American tradition into the larger textile world.
If you really want to get into the nitty gritty details of quilt history, Uncoverings is the yearly publication put out by the American Quilt Study Group, and it includes scholarly articles on a huge ranges of topics related to quilts and quilting. They had a sale last year on the issues, and I bought all of them, and have not been sorry. I like to read the articles here and there as I have time. This is definitely more on the academic side of things, and there aren’t all that many pictures, but the information is invaluable.
I’m also still looking forward to reading The Quilter’s Hall of Fame to become more familiar with the great quilters of the Revival (you know, post 1970).
Quilts 1700-2010: Secret Histories and Untold Stories is the book by Sue Prichard which showcases the quilted objects in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It has essays, lots of beautiful photos and visuals, and shows quilting in other forms beyond bedding, including tapestries, clothing, and other items. Really fascinating stuff there!
Pretty much all of these (except for Uncoverings!) make beautiful coffee table books in addition to giving some really interesting information. Do you have any to add to my list? Share them in the comments! I’m always looking for more to read.