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Contemporary Quilt Art: An Introduction and Guide Hardcover – April 23, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; First Edition edition (April 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780253351241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253351241
  • ASIN: 0253351243
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In quiltmaker/author Kate Lenkowsky's Contemporary Quilt Art, she educates readers with remarkable verbal and visual dexterity; she alters our perception of quilts, converting us to the religion of quilts as art. It is a revelatory experience.... The accompanying vivid color photographs of the artists' quilts is enough by itself to make you want to own this publication: Each photograph vibrates with crispness and saturated color. Indiana University Press deserves praise for what it has put together." —Deseret News

"This oversized book is full of vibrant colors of a few traditional quilts, but the majority are imaginative designs and creations of contemporary men and women." —Florence Waskelewicz Clowes, Polish American Journal, August 1, 2008

"Like other crafts that have become highly collectible, art quilts are making the transition from being viewed solely as functional objects to being seen as the fine art pieces they are. A very important book for quilters and collectors alike." —Martha Sielman, Executive Director, Studio Quilt Art Associates

"The book exudes a conservative and distinguished spirit, offers impeccable print quality, and is crammed with information for quilters and their cultural community; thus it merits inclusion in any quilt library!" —Textile Forum

"An enormously useful and instructive book for devotees as well as potential collectors of art quilts. I highly recommend this much needed publication." —Ursula Ilse-Neuman, Curator, Museum of Arts & Design, New York

"A well-researched and beautiful book with 142 color photographs, including detail pictures of many of the quilts, Lenkowsky goes a long way towards accomplishing her goal of making the art quilt understandable and accessible to a wide audience." —Museum Anthropology, Vol. 32 no. 2

"Lushly illustrated, this volume is a feast for the eyes that will help to inspire not only quilters but also artists in other media.... Highly recommended." —Choice

Today's quilts are not just family heirlooms stored in a trunk. The concept of quilts as an art medium has created the terms "quilt art," "contemporary quilts," "studio quilts," and "art quilts." Quilts have become fiber or textile arts, part of a larger movement of crafts to fine arts status. Quilters are now artists who make wall hangings, study color and design, and display their work in galleries. Quilts are made with nontraditional materials and can be enhanced with embellishments, paint, photo transfers, or other media. Collectors and museums are acquiring quilts and displaying them as art. In this handsome book, independent scholar Lenkowsky reviews the history of the studio quilt and offers a critical discussion of the work of 19 prominent quilt artists. This very useful volume provides a guide for buyers and collectors, a glossary, a short bibliography, and biographies of the featured artists. Also offered is information on how to learn more about collecting, buying, and commissioning studio quilts, along with material on practical matters such as displaying, storing, and insuring quilts. Lushly illustrated, this volume is a feast for the eyes that will help to inspire not only quilters but also artists in other media. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.N. J. Quinlan, Nova Southeastern University, Choice, November 2008

"This is a well-researched and beautifully illustrated introduction to quilt art, a field that has emerged from its historic origins and flourishes today as a dynamic expression of modern art." —Surface Design, Winter 2009

"Contemporary Quilt Art is a big, erudite, and beautifully produced book in the style done so well by university presses.... [T]his book is a must for any private or guild quilt library." —Quilt Channel, September 3, 2008

"Lenkowsky's well-researched and highly readable text accompanies a photographic gallery of art quilts by some of America's most respected makers. [A] visual feast." —Lloyd E. Herman, founding director, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

"Lenkowsky's survey of the studio-quilt movement makes an important contribution to scholarship on the evolution and current status of the medium." —Fiberarts

"A visually dazzling presentation and comprehensive discussion of contemporary work in a medium with a long history... Most important is the book's much-needed chronicle and analysis of the work of a range of innovative makers." —Janet Koplos, Senior Editor, Art in America magazine

Book Description

"...A big, erudite, and beautifully produced book in the style done so well by university presses..."

More About the Author

In 2004, Indiana University Press made an extraordinary offer to me -- to submit a proposal for a book about quilts. I accepted the challenge, the publisher accepted the proposal, and I set out on a long but fascinating adventure. "Contemporary Quilt Art: An Introduction and Guide" was published in April, 2008. One year and two months later, "ForeWord Magazine," the only literary trade magazine devoted to the work of independent publishers, gave it their Gold Award in the Art Category of the 2008 Book of the Year Awards. My book won over publications submitted by the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Rizzoli, NY. Quite an honor!

Quilts have been around for a long time. Everybody, it seems, has a grannie or aunt who makes them. But contemporary artists make them, too, and these quilts are largely unknown. My book brings this art and many of the best makers to the public's attention.

But there is more. Many of our friends, who live in NY, Washington, as well as the Midwest, love art but never thought of textiles or quilts in the context of art. Face to face with contemporary work, they often love what they see. Buying, however, remains a challenge. Where do you find it? Is it worth the money? "Contemporary Quilt Art" answers these questions head on. As a guide to the art form, it provides a history, profiles of some of the best artists in the field, an overview of educational resources and the market. The observations, ideas, and suggestions of collectors, museum curators, appraisers, gallery directors, art teachers and consultants, who are involved with quilt art on a daily basis, are shared with readers. Issues are discussed forthrightly. This book is a unique source book for lovers and collectors of art and textiles. It is, I hope, a spark that kindles interest. The artists need your support.

In Spring, 2009, Surface Design Journal published my article "Art and Nature: Content in Australian Quilt Art." I am now preparing to teach my first course in the Textile Studies Department at Indiana University and, of course, am contemplating a new book proposal.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Martha Sielman on May 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you've been talking to your friends and family about art quilts and getting a lot of blank looks, you need this book. It's divided into three sections with full color images throughout. The first section gives a history of art quilting, the second section profiles 19 important artists, and the third section gives advice about all aspects of collecting art quilts. Profiled artists' careers are described in detail with at least five images of their work in glorious color. Artists included are: Liz Axford, Susan Brandeis, Rachel Brumer, Pauline Burbidge, Elizabeth Busch, Jean Williams Cacicedo, Dorothy Caldwell, Kyoung Ae Cho, Nancy Crow, Nancy Erickson, Carole Harris, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Marilyn Henrion, Michael James, Jan Myers-Newbury, Rise Nagin, Joy Saville, Joan Schulze and Julie John Upshaw. The third section on buying and collecting is very helpful as this type of information is not readily available. It includes information about some well-known collectors, tips on working with an art consultant or commissioning a piece, as well as advice on where to see and buy art quilts, display and storage issues, and insurance. A beautiful coffee table book that is also an important resource handbook.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Patty KZ on May 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another significant publication regarding the art of the quilt, but much more educational and in depth than the new Lark Masters: Art Quilts publication. An excellent restrospective of the field, including historical references as well as information for the non-quilter regarding collecting fiber. Each artist is profiled, with education, background and working styles, along with photography of their work, including new and old work. I would like to have seen more new work, and in a few cases, the photographs are poor quality. This an inspirational book, certainly not a how to for quiltmakers. The artists selected are certainly the best in the field, and include many personal favorites. Definitely a good addition to any library.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Holland VINE VOICE on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Contemporary Quilt Art is a big, erudite, and beautifully produced book in the style done so well by university presses. In Part I, it provides us the 30,000-foot view of the development of the art quilt, drawing in the social milieu and economic factors, the role of quilting organizations and adventurous museums in promoting the craft, the place that textile art takes for itself in contemporary art, and the hardships the medium has had to overcome to be accepted by the larger art community. We've heard many of these before -- quilting's origins in folk and domestic arts, its long association with women artists, its populist serialization in newspapers and magazines. This recounting of the trials and tribulations of quilting to find its true place in art is no doubt accurate, but it has a curious defensive quality that underscores the inferiority complex that quilters have had for so long with regard to acceptance as a "true" art form.

If anything belies the need for another apologetic for art quilts, it is Part II of this book, "Artists." This section features, with biographies, aesthetic musings, and lush photography, the work of 19 prominent quilt artists from around the world. Well-known names such as Nancy Crow and Michael James are mixed in with lesser-known talents such as Marilyn Henrion of New York, Korean Kyoung Ae Cho, and Britain's Pauline Burbidge. You will want to linger over these brilliantly original works of art and steal ideas and styles shamelessly in the great visual art tradition. The variety of approaches, media, and style are a stunning testament to the power of the individual vision as it melds a profusion of influences into a unique expression of self and the world. It is clear that the art quilt movement has come to a rich maturity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jean M. Judd on June 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for the art collector as well as the art quilter. Indepth surveys of some of the most important art quilters. Wonderful section on collecting art quilts as well. This book will make you wanting to start your own art quilt collection and will have you searching for more quilts and art quilters on the Internet.
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