Martha Sielman’s second volume of the Masters: Art Quilts published by Lark Crafts is definitely 400 pages of eye candy, a colorful, visually stimulating treat to the art of 40 contemporary artists working in textiles. Sielman features work, not only from the United States, but from across the globe, including Switzerland, Australia, Hungary, France, So. Africa, the Netherlands, Canada, Israel, Russia, Japan, Norway, and England. I love this global selection, as well as her exploration of the career and personal backgrounds of each artist and how this contributes to the way they work. This background provides a rich supplement to the amazing art featured in the book. There are ample selections of each artist’s work, with 5 to 10 pages of full page photographs devoted to each. I feel that I have seen a good representation of the artists.
There are many familiar (to me) artists featured: Paula Nadelstern, Laura Wasilowski, Nelda Warkentin, Jane Dunnewold, and Linda MacDonald. Others are totally unknown to me, but their addition to this catalog greatly enrich my visual experience with every page.
Sielman’s choice of artists who work in a broad range of styles and techniques contributes to the appeal of the book. Some are personal histories providing a view into worlds unknown to most, such as Carolyn Crump’s portraitures which feel very much like linocuts because of the black outlines she uses. Dutch quilter Miriam Pet-Jacobs uses commentary with messages both obvious and elusive. I love Netherland’s resident Leslie Gabrielse’s combination of collage and realistic figures. He states that he is “very drawn to commercial fabrics…fascinated by the variety of motifs and textures they have to offer.” Pamela Fitzsimons’ work is based on the Australian landscape, creating lines, colors, and patterns reminiscent of the country. Dirkje van der Horst-Beetsma creates landscapes based on her native province in the Netherlands which are made up of several sections laced together with unusual materials such as zippers or inner tubes. Izabella Baykova’s depictions of Russian cityscapes and fairy tales are renditions of views from her St. Petersburg apartment and folk stories using layers of sheer silk and paint. I find her work to be amazingly intricate. Daniela Dancelli’s abstract work, using a combination of different textiles along with plastic, laminated newsprint, and found objects, incorporates strong colors, bold marks and handwritten letters into her symbolic pieces.
This volume is a must-have addition to any serious textile artist’s library. It will be kept in my home alongside Volume 1 and studied over and over again. Martha Sielman’s curating has provided an invaluable service to the textile art community.
For those interested in supporting the arts, Masters: Art Quilts Vol. 2 can be purchased through SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association). Lark is donating the full $24.95 amount to SAQA.