Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: "Art Quilting Studio" Winter 2015

Art Quilting Studio is a quarterly publication produced by Stampington & Company.  They have quite a few magazines under the omnibus - all quality publications, which I really consider soft bound books, as opposed to the less-impressive sounding 'magazine.' Their Somerset Studio series is one of my favorite things to find in my mailbox throughout the year.

Art Quilting Studio is no exception to the benchmark they have set for themselves. It is gorgeously illustrated with fine photography accompanied by literate and knowledgeable text and all printed on really good weight paper which feels as substantial in your hands as the articles you are reading.

I had to admit, when my copy arrived and opened it up, I knew I was in for a treat. The front page had an ad from a company that produces special-design storage systems for artists and craftsmen of which I own three different pieces. I knew this was going to be right up my alley!

With the plethora of traditional quilting magazines on the market, I really appreciate the focus on new and innovative work Art Quilting Studio takes. The very first article, which was lavishly accompanied by photos of the work, was sheer collage quilting by Terri Stegmiller. These delicate, ephemeral - yet substantial in design - really spoke to me. As the vernacular goes, they knocked my socks off! There are many other intriguing and fascinating techniques explored and exhibited in such articles as "Free Motion Faces" by Liz Alessi, a marvelous quilt made of the outer covers of hardbound books by Suzanna Scott (article written by Amber Damien), that expands the boundaries of what constitutes a "quilt."

Another not-to-miss article is "One Hot Mama," in which Asya Lesly shares her quiltmaking inspirations and intimate details of her personal life that have affected her design work. I found myself reading as if hearing her speak, her words affecting me.

Two different articles could not have been more different in style, design, effect and vision. Yet both spoke to me on very different levels. "Altering Vintage Photos & Papers for Fiber Art" by Janice Paine Dawes was exciting in that it took vintage materials and turned them into striking, contemporary works that made you want to fall into them. She shared much of her technique and materials, so that you can play and experiment! The other was "Pretty Little Rectangles" by Debbie Feist - and it was another world from the quilts of Ms. Paine Dawes. These are delicate, fragile-appearing, vintage inspired works that speak of romance, spirituality, and brings visions of a world gone by. Ms. Feist also shares her materials, tools and techniques so that you can create your own world of the past with fabric, fiber, ribbons and embellishments.

The article I spent the most time with was a feature which appears in every issue, "The Artist Portfolio." This issue, the featured artist is Sue Benner, who was interviewed by Ricë Freeman-Zachery (who also wrote the article). As Ms. Freeman-Zachery states: With luscious hand-dyed and painted silks and cottons and - believe it or not - scraps of carefully salvaged vintage polyester, Sue tells us stories about the things we can't see with our eyes.  The multiple page article includes a plethora of photographs which shows both the beauty and the versatility of Ms. Benner's work. You are sure to enjoy this one!

There are many other articles - I think I counted 16 - as well as regular monthly features, including book and product reviews. Certainly one of the most extensive periodicals available. I spent almost three hours (I read magazines cover to cover, as you know!), and poured over the photos, keeping my magnifying glass close by so I could use it when I wanted to get a closer look at the quilting in a specific piece.

One of the things I truly appreciate about this magazine is that its goal is to inform, inspire and invigorate the reader. I do tire of quilt magazines that simply have pattern after pattern after pattern repeated every month. Art Quilting Studio keeps things fresh and alive - and even when the artists share their techniques, they aren't really patterns or tutorials. They are artists sharing their work secrets. And it makes you feel privileged.

So, I highly recommend this issue of Art Quilting Studio Winter 2015, now at your better quilt shops and book stores or by mail here.

And now, for some good news! Stampington & Company has generously offered to send a lucky commenter a copy of the Winter 2015 issue. Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered into the contest. If you re-post this blog post on YOUR facebook page or on YOUR blog, leave an extra comment for each entry and you'll get extra chances! We'll run the contest until the end of the month.
Good luck!

And now that you're inspired ... go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)

(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Tristan! COUNT ME IN! I love Stampington, and the art and articles are always an inspiration. What would we do without this wonderful outlet of self-expression, whether it's quilting, painting, poetry or music...FABULOUS! Have a great weekend, Anita

Jan said...

I love this magazine although I agree, it is more like a book than a magazine and while I don't have this issue, I have kept every issue I have purchased in the past. They ought to hire you to write reviews for them, you did such a superb job on this one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll have to look for it next time I'm in town.

susan leslie lumsden said...

They consistently create a publication that inspires and is worthy of the nice paper they use. I keep these for long periods and often refer back to them for inspiration and technical know how.

Linda Harkins said...

What an excellent review! One can't subscribe to every inspiring publication, but you've convinced me that this is an issue I must have. Enter me in the contest and wish me good luck!

Unknown said...

What a beautifully written review. I know that you are a talented quilter, but your writing is amazing. I agree everything that Stampington does is so far above the magazines out there. They aren't really a magazine, they are books. You are right, so many other quilting magazines do not have the content I am looking for. Although I failed bobbins, I use this magazine to be informed of the latest trends to help me design fabric for quilters.

As always, your blog is a delight. When I was reading your post, I loved that snow white was peeking in the window into your blog.

You are such a delight Tristan!


A Magical Whimsy said...

It seems I am in good company here with Anita, of Castles, Crowns, and Cottages! And...Of COURSE your very self too!
You have inspired me to go get my own copy of Art Quilting Studio.
Thanks so much for the inspiration!

New Year's wishes to you!
Teresa in California

Therese said...

I am a neophyte in this medium but really enjoy the processes that are described in the publication. I have two copies that I have gone over several times and use as inspiration for my own projects.

Thanks for sharing!


creativelenna said...

wow, Tristan - awesome review!! I think I am going to try to win it by also posting on FB (I just re-joined). If I don't win I think I will have to purchase it. You really did a great job writing the review. xo

creativelenna said...

I just posted in on facebook :0)

Julia @ Vintage with Laces said...

Thank you for the great review, Tristan. It's a wonderful magazine and I'd love to win this issue if I'm allowed to play from overseas.

Frieda Oxenham said...

You won't be surprised to hear I love this publication too, and this issue is the best yet!

Janice PaineDawes said...

Tristan! I don't know how I missed your review of this issue with my article AND cover. Thank you for your kind words, it is never too late to offer thanks. I am so sorry I missed this when you wrote it!