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Quilting Lessons: Notes from the Scrap Bag of a Writer and Quilter Paperback – April 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080326223X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803262232
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,289,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This intriguing and unusual memoir deals with an 18-month period in the mid-1990s when Berlo, a professor of art history and of gender and women's studies at the University of Rochester, was afflicted by writer's block. A successful academic author (The Early Years of Native American Art History), Berlo abandoned a book she had nearly completed and began devoting a major portion of her time to quilt making. This art, practiced most often by women and hence, she says, undervalued, appealed to her sense of play, which had been overshadowed by the need for precision in her professional responsibilities. Berlo was drawn to create what she termed "Serendipity Quilts" that relied on intuitive craftsmanship and a thoughtful use of color rather than precise patterns. With her two sisters, both experienced quilters, she undertook an apprenticeship that not only drew the three of them closer but also tapped into childhood memories. Berlo's vivid account of historical quilting as well as descriptions of her own projects are so compelling, readers may be inspired to try quilting themselves. During her period of creative renewal, Berlo's father passed away, and she made mourning quilts to cope with and memorialize his death and that of a friend. The artistic flame that was sparked by quilting motivated her desire to play in the kitchen, where she concocted mouthwatering delights such as "Delectable Mountain" meringues based on a quilt pattern of the same name the recipes for which she includes in her book. Most of all, Berlo credits the art of quilt making with teaching her to take joy in the process rather than the finished product and to accept messiness and patience as valuable parts of creativity. Illus. not seen by PW.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This intriguing and unusual memoir deals with an 18-month period in the mid-1990s when Berlo, a professor of art history and of gender and women's studies at the University of Rochester, was afflicted by writer's block. A successful academic author ... Berlo abandoned a book she had nearly completed and began devoting a major portion of her time to quilt making... Berlo's vivid account of historical quilting as well as descriptions of her own projects are so compelling, readers may be inspired to try quilting themselves... Most of all, Berlo credits the art of quilt making with teaching her to take joy in the process rather than the finished product and to accept messiness and patience as valuable parts of creativity."--Publishers Weekly. "Berlo relates the conflict and pressures of integrating past and present, career and personal life, life goals and daily chores. Her needle-sharp prose seamlessly integrates quilting history, techniques, bits of poetry, and recipes. Her humor is equally sharp."--Piecework. "Berlo's writing captures the intensity of the physical and emotional dimensions of the creative impulse...Only someone able to step back and observe herself in the midst of confusion could have given us this very personal, often insightful narrative."--Great Plains Quarterly

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ilka Datig on June 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This compelling memoir is composed of a series of essays which center around the author's struggle to find a way through an unexpected onset of writer's block. She describes how she found solace in the creative acts which go into the creation of quilts, and how the creativity she found an outlet for there helped her return to the life of a professor and scholar. The author gives readers a glimpse into the life of an academic--the pressure and the difficulties as well as the accolades and successes. The most interesting sections of the book are those which give valuable insight into the importance of quilting--an extremely undervalued art--in the lives of modern women, including the author and her two lovingly-described sisters. Interspersed within the memoir are yummy recipes, for those readers who are cooking-inclined. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the importance of quilting, the experiences of modern-day female academics, or instructions on how to overcome writer's block. An excellent read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Elliott on December 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am PASSIONATE about this book! It's written as a mix between a journal and an autobiography and lays bare a lot of the feelings that I thought only I had about the importance of quilting. I love the way that the passion for quilting is woven into Janet's love for her sisters and her sometimes difficult relationship with her mother. As you read, you begin to see her working her way out of the depression that imobilised her, and it shows how she re-chanelled her creativity after her writing "avenue" of expression was blocked. This is a book for anyone interested in the stresses of 21st century woman, and even if you don't quilt yourself, you will still enjoy the sharing of emotions. I defy anyone not to say at some point "I have felt exactly like that!", whatever your interests or background!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Wolowik on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Although this is not a long book, I found myself spacing out my reading to enjoy each and every tidbit that Ms. Berlo had to offer. I didn't want it to end and savored each scrap. She is a wonderful writer that captures what it is to be a woman entreanched in family issues, life in general and how crafting can lift you up and out of a "funk". My only regret is that I can't see her beautiful quilts that she describes so poetically. That would complete the circle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sara Beatty on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Berlo describes the way a sudden depression turned her from a highly esteemed, publishing professor to an almost obsessive quilter overnight.
She talks movingly about finding balance, and the way that "playing" with colors, patterns and fabric helped her find that, both in her work, and with friends and family.
In a society that undervalues "women's art" (especially textile arts), Berlo makes an interesting case that it is both therapeutic and historically significant.
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