Most folks define a classic book as a great work of fiction. Think of books by Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Austen, or Balzac. Of course there are some nonfiction classics as well – Anne Frank’s diary, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Plato’s The Republic. It’s rare, though, to find a classic quilting or fiber related book.
I’d like to correct that oversight by nominating Mickey Lawler’s Skydyes, first published in 1999, as a classic for fiber artists. A friend lent me her copy and I’ve been immersed in this inspiring combination of eye candy and technique every since. I keep coming up with excuses to hold onto the book longer.
The book’s chapters take you through the process of painting landscape skies, water, and earth. It begins with supplies you’ll need, and goes on to how to mix different colors, how to apply the paint for different effects, and ways to enhance your painted fabric with sun printing and salt. Of course each step has copious photos to show just what’s being described.
There are lots of techniques books out there. Few combine airy art talk with down to earth instructions the way this one does. Of course there are many photos of how Mickey’s fabrics have been used in quilts, and it’s nice that Mickey talks about how the fabrics convey the artists’ intentions. Lest you think that art quilting is a recent thing, the quilts in this book date from the mid to late 1990s.
Here is a section of Mickey’s fabric. It’s described on her website as light sunset.
And here’s two quilts created by Jo Diggs using Mickey’s fabric for the sky and mountains.
It’s official. I now have yet another way to mess around with fabric. I see another UPS shipment, loaded with more fabric paint, arriving on my doorstep.