This sure isn't a dry, intellectually analytical book about design principles it s a wet, organically analytical book about design principles.
Its thoughts are three-dimensional: it s so lush, it s conceptually like a pop-up book of Ann Johnston's extremely fascinating body of work, used seductively to keep us hooked on design. Throughout the book, extreme close-ups of her works give us such intimate and graphic understandings of her surfaces, that we could blush or start eating the book. But don't! Keep reading and using her very accessible and practical exercises with your own fabrics!
We see step-by-step fabric illustrations of her personal inquiries into various ways of dealing with each visual tool: balance, unity, variety, line, shape, value, color, pattern, and texture. Not settling for just blocks to illustrate the tools, she gives us finished art quilts to illustrate the tools. And even better, throughout the book Johnston gives us examples of quilts from various series of her work, so that by the time we come to the end of the book, we pretty much know how her mind ticks in her hungry quest for yet more excellence in her art making, as the series grow and evolve. We see the building of a personal style, and she's been telling us all along how she made decisions to get there.
My favorite aspect of her teaching is that she includes one more design tool: the IDEA, and she plants that at the base of her design elements. She believes, and I second the motion, that good work must have meaning, and that first you settle on your idea, and THEN you get to work with your skills. Oh yeah, and she tells the artist that you gotta practice, since a lot of this stuff is about using your intuition, your taste, instead of picking right vs wrong choices. THAT is where it's at, and you can see that Ann Johnston has made it her business to practice what she preaches with deft intelligence, artistic aplomb, and a genius for meaningful communication.
Johnston has a real gift for making learning one of the driest subjects possible into an engaging and effective adventure. --Susan Shie, artist, Wooster, OH
This is a thorough introduction to the organizational principles that inform not only quilt design, but also flatwork of all kinds. It is wonderfully clear in its layout and in the marriage of text and supporting visuals. This contribution to design literature should be on the bookshelf of anyone who makes quilts or has an interest in two-dimensional design. --David Hornung, Chair, Department of Art, Adelphi University, New York, New York
Quilter's book of Design is written by a quilter for quilters, demystifying the subject of design. Ann uses hundreds of quilts to illustrate in a very practical way how design concepts function and interact. This book will inspire creativity and clarify the artmaking process. --Judy B. Dales, fiber artist, Greensboro, VT
About the Author
Ann Johnston First, Ann learned to sew, then she learned to dye fabric. In between, she earned a B.A. in literature from Stanford University, and an M.A. in geography at the University of Oregon. She taught new math in Lima, Peru, in the Peace Corps and raised two sons in Oregon with her husband Jim. Ann's years of exploration with dye and fabric have led to piles of quilts, numerous exhibitions, worldwide travel, six books, and many wonderful friends. She has been making quilts for 30 years and plans to make them for another 30. Her collectors respect her viewpoint and her students admire her generosity and skill in teaching what she knows.