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Sunday, November 11, 2007


The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson

The Uncommon Quilter: Small Art Quilts Created with Paper, Plastic, Fiber, and Surface Design

By Jeanne Williamson

New York, Potter Craft, 2007

Paperbound, 160 pages

Suggested retail: $25.00

Seed pods; dryer lint; plastic net bag; colored glass; coins; corrugated cardboard; ticket stubs; bar codes; -- about the only thing that Jeanne Williamson didn’t use in making these provocative small art quilts is barbed wire, and if she had thought of it I’m sure she would have used that, too. The premise of this book is uncommon, as its title implies. It doesn’t look to teach you perfect technique or how to construct the quilt sandwich. What it really wants you to do is forget about all of that stuff and just let yourself go creatively. The intimidating thing about making a large quilt is that it is an extended project to which you will devote a great amount of time and significant money. Because of the investment, you tend to become conservative in your design and color choices. Williamson’s solution is to make small – really small – quilts, about 8” X 10” and make them quickly (and somewhat carelessly). Starting in 1999, she made a quilt a day – ambitious and requiring a good deal of letting go. Later, this idea was picked up by Karey Bresenhan of the International Quilting Association, and became the basis for the Journal Quilt Project. Karey has written the Foreword to The Uncommon Quilter.

This book is the bible of the small, intuitive, super-personal quilt, the quilt that speaks to your mood on a particular day, at a particular moment, and with the use of unusual materials. All of the quilts used as examples are whole cloth quilts, so you’ll learn a huge amount about appliqué techniques, fabric painting, drawing with thread, and specialized surface design. Try it, you just might like it.

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