Quilt Market has many wonderful aspects, but one of our faves is SchoolHouse. Held the day before Market officially opens, SchoolHouse is a day of 15- and 30-minute presentations, hosted by different companies, to promote new products and teach new trends.
In the case of publishers, new authors come and present their books, talking about what went into them and how they can translate into sales for quilt shops and inspiration for quilters.
Enter Casey York, rookie author with C&T Publishing. Casey’s book
, Modern Appliqué Illusions,
was a no-brainer to learn about, partly because Casey is one of our beloved designers and partly because appliqué rocks! Her enthusiasm for quilting is equally matched with her knowledge and understanding of art. Her presentation of quilts and the art technique behind them kept the attendees in rapt attention, leaving us not only with art concepts we can use, but a need to own this book. She gets Modern, and how Modern can incorporate art principle and applique techniques into quilt making.
We took a moment to check in with Casey and ask a few questions:
With a background in art history how did you get started quilting?
I had always sewn as a child (in high school, I even convinced my art teacher to let me turn in some of my projects for a grade), but I didn’t really get started quilting until I had my first child and wanted to make him a baby blanket. Of course I was hooked from the get-go. But, while I am fascinated by the history of quilts and quilting, my developing an interest in actually making quilts was actually pretty independent from my academic training. On second thought, that might not be entirely true. One of the things that I experienced as an art history student was a constant flow of inspiration and a constant desire to channel that into some type of creative expression. Quilts just happen to be perfect for that.
How does the art history inform the quilting?
I’m a firm believer that inspiration is to be found everywhere, and perhaps nowhere more than in the study of great art works of the past. In art history, you learn to appreciate different artists’ choices as solutions to various thematic and compositional problems–artistic expression is really a form of puzzle-solving. When you start to understand why artists made the particular choices that they did, you start to see ways of applying those choices to your own work. So, for instance, with this book I was given the challenge of creating a diverse set of quilts that all incorporated the illusion of three dimensionality. It was natural for me to look at the methods that past artists had solved this problem, from one-point geometric perspective to the use of shadows. One of my favorite quilts in the book, Grand Canal, references 17th century garden design. I love it because it takes a system of perspective that was developed for use on two dimensional surfaces, then adopted by garden designers to manipulate viewers’ experience of three dimensional spaces, and translates it back to a two dimensional surface (the quilt top) that is part of a three-dimensional object (the quilt).
Keep Things in Perspective
The quilts in the book are stunning, was there one quilt that turned out to be more of a challenge than expected and how did you work that out?
Some of the quilts that have very large appliques were challenging, because I had not necessarily worked on that scale before. Concrete Jungle
, for instance, has a 5-foot long applique on it, as well as appliques that are only 1/2 inch wide. Cutting the fusible web and fabrics accurately at those scales was a challenge, but not an insurmountable one if I just slowed down and took my time.
(emphasis added) What I was more surprised about was how many of the designs (which I had sketched on my computer and then had to translate to fabric) turned out to be easier to complete than I expected. Ed. Note: Casey is featuring Concrete Jungle on her blog today.
I know we’re not supposed to have favorite quilts but do you have a favorite?
I have to say that I really love the Ripples quilt. Drop shadows are so abundant that we don’t even really notice them anymore, but when put into the context of appliques on a quilt, they make such a huge impact so simply.
Modern Applique Illusions is one of those must have books for any quilter ready to add some basic art technique to their quilting. Casey gives great directions tips along the way including seam placement for piecing the top and an interesting tip on threading needles (and it doesn’t involve using a needle threader). With each of the quilts Casey takes an alternate approach to the writing the directions taking the time to explain the quilting on each quilt, how cool is that?!
Are you ready to add Casey’s book to your collection? We’ll here’s your chance to win an e-book! Let us know your favorite artist – old master, outsider artist, quilter, fiber artist and we’ll select a winner on Tuesday November 25.