Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Review: Inspired to Quilt

By Melanie Testa

Here is the review I put on Amazon:

I am an art quilt and fabric book artist that does not come from a quilting background. My background is in mixed media mostly collage and metalworking. I have just recently started dyeing and silkscreening my own fabrics. I have begun to move away from commercially prepared fabrics. The section on dyes was of interest to me since I have just started playing around with it. This section is full of useful tips and hints that I otherwise would not have known. The book is full of large, color pictures. I love the stamps that Melly creates herself. That in itself gives me inspiration to create my own. After reading the section on how to create my own stamps out of foam, cardboard, or glue dots, I found the directions to be short, yet simple. They were not muddled or confusing like someone else had said. I have had experience cutting plexiglas and it is exactly as described in the book. Since I have had experience with plexiglas and with carving my own stamps,I found her instructions quite accurate and straightforward. She also provides a picture of the stamp and a sample of what it can do. I saw the freezer paper technique done at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. I was not one of the participants, so I did not pay close attention to what was being done. I did see the results and they were very, very interesting. This is something that I would definitely try. I think that the soy wax technique is also a must-try. Next, the book goes on in the next chapter to explain how to go from your drawings in your journal to your quilt. Even thought I don't do this (drawing in a journal), the layering sequence is very interesting to me from a quilting perspective. Seasoned quilters may already know how to do this but it is still pretty new to me. I have done it many times on paper but not on fabric. To me, there are still some differences. Since I am a visual learner, the step-by step pictures really does help me to understand how she does it more than the written instructions do. The instructions tell me more what materials were used rather than what was done. I liked the little tips and the various vignettes along the way. I am constantly looking to take my art quilts and fabric books in new and different directions. Depending on my mood, I am always trying something new. This book is just the thing I need to give my creativity a boost and to shove my inspiration forward to create my version of what Melanie offers in her book. This is my kind of mixed media but with fabric instead of paper for the substrate. There have been a flood of art books out there lately that I don't like but I do like this one.

I really do like this book. You can get some good stuff on surface design in this book. I just got it yesterday. Yes, I bought it from

Melly is doing video challenges based on her book on the Quilting Arts website through the forum. She just did the first one. Go to to join in on the fun! They are YouTube vids. I am one of the forum mods. I will see you there!

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