Now Touring: Modern Applique Illusions – Casey York

teri • November 17, 2014 • 38 Comments
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 bookModern 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.
River Bend
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.
Baby Blocks
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?!
Still Life
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.
And the Winner is….Linda Schiffer!
Linda I will contact you via email.

11/11: Jenifer Dick/42 Quilts

11/12: Debbie Grifka/Esch House Quilts

11/13: Pink Chalk Studio

11/14: Shannon Brinkley/Bottle Tree

11/15: Pellon

11/16: Kevin Kosbab/Feed Dog Designs

11/17: Generation Q Magazine

11/18: Krista Robbins/Sew What’s Cooking?

11/19:Fat Quarter Shop/Jolly Jabber

11/20: Violet Craft

11/21: Kristy Daum/St. Louis Folk Victorian

11/22: Cindy Lammon/Hyacinth Quilt Designs

11/23: Modern Quilts Unlimited










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  • Yan • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    My favourite artist is Cezanne.

  • Jenn • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    I love Gustav Klimt! What a great idea for a quilt book! Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Patty • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    Rothko, Newman, and Steven Alexander are some of my favorite artists.

  • KimberJ • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    My favorite artists are Van Gogh and Rex Ray. They both make masterful use of color and shape. I also think both their styles apply to appliqué as well.

  • linda schiffer • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    It is pretty hard to choose just _one_ favorite artist out of all the history of beauty! One that I go back to again and again is Vincent Van Gogh – his color contrasts and brushstrokes inspire me every time.

    🙂 Linda

  • Margo • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    Such a hard question! I guess I’ll have to go with Van Gogh, I love his use of color.

  • Karen Thurn • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    I have many favorite artists. One of them is Georgia O’Keefe and her work with flowers. I also like da Vinci and the Mona Lisa (yes I did get to see her this spring and saw the famous smile) and Andy Warhol–love the soup can. Oh yeah, and Picasso (I look at his work and say, “Now I could do that!”)

  • Susan S • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    My favorite artists are Gustav Klimt and Georgia O’Keefe

  • Gill • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    I like the work of mother and daughter Linda and Laura Kemshall

  • Lisa Marie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    I have an aunt who is an amazing painter of nature scenes. Also, I think Ruth McDowell in a wonderful and inspiring quilt artist.

  • Connie Douty • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    Zurifil is the tops andIi prefer using it above other thread.

  • quiltzyx/sue • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    I have to say that my favorite artist is N.W. Sloan – my sister! Since she retired a few years ago, she’s been doing mostly California landscapes & they are marvelous. You can see her work here: (Sorry, I am compelled to give her this shameless plug!)

  • MPaula • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    My favourite artist – not sure what category – is Georgia O’Keefe. I would love flower quilt patterns in her style.

  • Rozsamaria • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    I love Impressionists but I think my favorite artist is Dali. I love the detail he puts into his work, how there’s something new every time I look at it.

  • Debbie H • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    My favorite artist is my brother Dan. He makes some amazing photo collages. Thanks!

  • usairdoll • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    Great post. I love hearing from designers how and why they chose and do the things they do. My artist is an amazing quilter, Angela Waters! WoW! Her quilting is gorgeous!

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  • Ellee • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    The paintings of Claude Monet have intrigued me since I can remember — his colors have often found their way into my quilts.

  • Beezus • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    I’m going to go with Da Vinci. His sketches are amazing and I feel like I learn something new every time I look at them.

  • Susan the farm quilter • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    I am fascinated by Escher and his tessellations!

  • Gina S. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    Right now i’m loving Jenny over at MSQC! She’s making so much quicker for me.

  • patty • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    Rothko, Steven Alexander, and Newman are a few of my favorite artists.

  • patty • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    Oops, it looks like my comment was posted twice.

  • Jackie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    My favorite painter is Monet.

  • Susan • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    Thomas Concaid-
    I would love to recreate something similar to his paintings in a quilted wall hanging!

  • Carolyn • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    My favourite artist is Ansell Adams and I’d love to see how some of his black and white photographs and perspectives could be adapted to quilts using Casey’s techniques.

  • Michelle Harrison • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    Rosa Bonheur is my current favorite.

  • Chris • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    I don’t have a favorite artist or quilter. I am really old and have learned to appreciate all of you for your talents. I am amazed at what you can create. My husband’s grandmother had polio as a child so she learned to paint, couldn’t walk without crutches. She was incredible, painted the walls in their home with flowers, no stencils. Looked like Monet was there. I will love this book I’m sure. So much talent in here.

  • Susan • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    My favorite artist is Allen Shaw. He was at industrial art teacher at Oklahoma State University in Okmulgee, OK. He is my brother-in-law. He did pictures of my now adult children when they were babies. The pictures are on my living room walls. They are very precious to me.

  • Linda Fleming • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    Dale Chihuly is my favorite artist.

  • Kelly wilson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    My favorite artist is Josh Agle aka Shag. One day I want to interpret one of his pieces in a quilt. Thanks for sharing! Notwendy gmail

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