Monday, March 8, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 2: Inspired to Quilt

I told you last week how much I admired Melanie Testa as an artist and as a friend. This week I want to introduce you to her book, "Inspired To Quilt." The title is appropriate as her book is truly inspiring.

I purchased my copy from her at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last October and spent a lovely and very early morning flight home perusing it. I blogged about that morning here. That page also shows a little sketch copied out of her book.

In the interest of full disclosure, Melanie and I were both contracted to write our books through Quilting Arts at about the same time. Now the gushing - I must say that the books they have put out recently through Interweave Press are beautifully laid out. I love, love, love the layout and the general lush and beautiful look of "Inspired To Quilt."

Now I'm one of those people who will get completely involved in the imagery of a book like this. I "read' my magazines by flipping through from the back and absorbing the pictures. I love good photography and great layouts and graphic design. And I am completely enchanted by Melanie's artwork.

Let me tell you now about some of the more in-depth reasons why I love this book and think you will too. Melanie's gentle and encouraging nature comes shining through in her writing. (Yes, I DID finally read it.) I love that she urges the reader to experiment and play as they try out each of the  processes in this technique oriented book.

There are step by step instructions for working with dye, for printmaking, stamping, stenciling, and dye painting. Melanie walks you through her process one layer and page at a time. She shows you how she begins with sketched ideas, creates layers of cloth and imagery in cottons and sheers and stitching. You are carefully guided through her construction process as images are built and cloth is added and taken away and embellished until the composition is completed. She goes even further to the back of the textile art, explaining finishing techniques and edge finishes.

If you are a project person there is something in "Inspired To Quilt" for you too. I think Melanie's Pretty Purses are absolutely sweet. Other projects include a Sewing Holster, Merit Badges, and Artists Trading Cards.

So, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of this book. Take a look at the Inspired to Quilt FaceBook Fan Page to read an ongoing discussion about the book and to join in reader challenges.  

And finally, remember that both Melaine and I are working on a textile postcard to give away to lucky commenters on our blogs. She is introducing me to her readers on her blog if you want to pop over and say hello there too.  Any comments on my posts that feature Melanie are eligible for the drawingso go back and leave a comment for last week and pop in the next two weeks as well.

Do you want to hear something amazing? We both sent each other dyed and printed fabric - without telling each other what it was and guess what!?! We both sent fabric printed with the SAME thing - ginkgo leaves. Now THAT is serendipity!