Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950–2000

Roderick Kiracofe. STC Craft/Melanie Falick, $50 (224p) ISBN 978-1-61769-123-2
Kiracofe, quilt collecter and cofounder of The Quilt Digest, makes a strong case that scrap quilts are not merely utilitarian and consequently unimportant. They stand, he declares, as artistic offerings that are “unconventional and unexpected.” To prove his point in this gorgeous coffee-table book, he offers 150 illustrations of quilts from his collection, which are enhanced by his cutlines of information and opinion. His quilts range from messes to masterpieces, from the simple (red cross on blue field; Socony Oil’s Pegasus banner) to the intricate “Grids with Prairie Points.” He often shows backs, including one made from Sears catalogue pages. To support his thesis, Kiracofe includes insightful essays by quilt historians (including Denyse Schmidt on “The Beauty of Making Do”). They often compare scrap quilts to canvases by such modern artists as Picasso and Rothko, but only male artists; would a comparison between women quilters to women artists not elevate their quilts? Kiracofe proves scrap quilts worthy of moving from bed to wall. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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