With a bit of simple preparation, an ordinary piece of muslin becomes a canvas for the intriguing art of flower pounding. Taped to the muslin and whacked with a hammer, nearly any type of flower or leaf surrenders its pigment, leaving behind a ghostly image resembling watercolor painting. By outlining these delicate images with permanent marker and stitching over them, Ann Frischkorn and Amy Sandrin turn them into lovely quilts. Some specifically resemble the flowers from which they came: roses, alstroemeria, irises, morning glories, and many other blossoms arranged in a central panel, ringed by a quilted--and sometimes pieced--border. In others the flowers have been pounded through stencils, to lend their translucent hues to shapes of fish, coffee cups, even a skateboarder designed and pounded by Sandrin's son (yes, kids will love this noisy, rewarding activity).
Once they've explained fabric preparation and the specifics of the technique itself, the authors present a gallery of 40 of their quilts, accompanied by commentary about what inspired each design and some of the flowers appearing in it. The project section offers another seven designs, with brief directions about creating them. The actual quilting and piecing instructions are quite cursory; though the designs are relatively basic, at least a nodding acquaintance with quilting methods is presumed. As for the actual pounding, the authors recommend experimenting with various types of flowers, remarking that the color of the bloom is not necessarily the color after pounding and that even flowers from the same plant picked on different days may result in different shades. But a bit more information about what general color ranges they tend to expect would have been helpful. The "flower index" at book's end--composed of 57 color photos representing a selection of flowers used throughout the quilts--seems like an ideal place to have indicated something about this. Still, this is an interesting and different approach to fabric adornment and might be nice on wearables too, although the authors don't mention whether the flower-pounded fabric will stand up to washing. Further experimentation ought to resolve this issue as well. --Amy Handy
About the Author
Amy Sandrin & Ann Frischkorn are identical twins. Despite the 1,000 miles that separate them physically, they still manage to converse almost daily. Amy is a quilter and award-winning romance author who lives in Colorado. Ann is a writer and award-winning quilter who lives in Illinois.