Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Crazy Quilts by Cindy Brick

Voyageur Press asked me to review Cindy Brick's latest book, "Crazy Quilts: History - Techniques - Embroidery Motifs". It is my extreme pleasure to do so. Cindy is a colleague of mine. I met her in Omaha, Nebraska when we both taught for the Crazy Quilt Conference there. Can't remember which year it was! We both have a love for antique crazy quilts and we both lecture extensively on the subject.

Cindy's book on crazy quilts is a delight. The outstanding photography of precious antique crazy quilts is breathtaking. And as to be expected, Cindy's narrative is well researched and well presented. Although there are similarities to Penny McMorris' book on crazy quilt history, Cindy takes us in more detailed and somewhat different directions. And, as an added bonus, there are many pages devoted to constructing a crazy quilt of your own. There are also many modern crazy quilt artists represented in the book to deliver fabulous eye candy.

The artistic and cultural aspects of crazy quilting is addressed in this book - an avenue rarely explored in depth. It's fascinating to read about "The Industry Quilt" - a gorgeous wool crazy quilt completed in 1924 and used as payment for the maker's funeral in 1936. I remember excitedly driving to see this quilt on exhibit in Omaha. It is a monumental effort of artistry and will.

The ties between our Victorian foremothers is not as tenuous as one would think. Women of today are still voicing their opinions, dreams and artistry through needle and thread, just as our ancestors did. Joy, pain, longing, humor and love are evident in antique and modern creations. "Crazy Quilts" is a fascinating read for those who wish to know more about the cult of crazy. It is also a respite from a busy day. Just picking up the book and starting to thumb through, you see a gorgeous quilt, unique in its making, and pause to stare at the chenille embroidery or silk ribbon. Then, reading the blurb under the photo, your interest gets piqued about the maker and her story. An hour goes by and you realize you have become lost between the pages of a very good book.

Buy it today!

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