|New Book Celebrates Art Quilts of the Midwest
Art Quilts of the Midwest is a book by Linzee Kull McCray, a writer from California and a transplant to the Midwest
herself, an area she defines as 12 states of the Union for the purposes of this book. An important point that she makes in
the introduction is that art quilts often reflect geographical landscapes that often inspire them. A prime example of a quilt of
that type is one that graces the cover of the book. Made by Shin-Hee Chin of Kansas, the quilt “Lake Autumn” is cotton,
wool, whole cloth, hand-embroidered, and hand-quilted. The colors of the quilt, primarily orange and turquoise, make a
strong visual statement.
With 100 quilt entries from which to choose in the jurying process for this book, the author and a few helpers chose
outstanding and varied examples of art quilts that use many different media. McCray states that some quilt artists have roots
in traditional quilt making while others are printmakers, etc., involved in other types of art before coming to the process of
making art quilts.
While all of the full-page color photos of quilts and their close-up photos on the alternate page are intriguing, certain quilts
certainly have more visual appeal. An outstanding quilt by Shelly Burge of Nebraska features a meadowlark. Of interest is
that she took the quilt apart to add off-print fabrics on one edge in remembrance of the sod houses of Nebraska. The edge,
full of meaning to her, is a delightful touch.
Twenty artists in all contributed to this book and gave their thoughts about their work and its process, naming the materials
and techniques used and citing the inspiration behind their choices. As did some other contributors, Marilyn Ampe of St.
Paul, Minnesota mentions the connection between her quilt art work and music and how she strives for serenity ("bliss)) in
her compositions. “Morrison County Wheat Field” is one of her works that provides a good example of her goal.
All in all, the book offers a visual feast for the eyes and is one well worth adding to any quilt library. A surprise waits at
every turn of the page! There could not be more variety in subject matter and in geometric layouts for those quilts that are
pieced. The author, with intuitive skill, has put together a very worthwhile book of contemporary quilt art!
Art Quilts of the Midwest
104 pages * 60 color photographs
University of Iowa Press, * 200 Kuhl House * Iowa City, IA 52242