Sunday, December 18, 2022

Weekend Review: Small Art Quilts


Small Art Quilts: Explorations in Paint & Stitch / Deborah O'Hare
Tunbridge Wells, UK: Search Press, c2018.
144 p. 

I really enjoyed this book on making small art quilts! This one is just the right fit for my style of making and my own art quilt preferences. Deborah O'Hare has the kind of style and technique that appeal to me and so I really loved this book. It's at the right level as well, not quite stark beginner but not expert or full time artist, either. 

I loved the variety of images here; she talks about each one and the different choices she made for each, and then shares many of the techniques she's used, like stenciling and applique (for a gorgeous rabbit and moon piece) or using machine and hand embroidery together. There are also lots of different ways to finish the edges of a project included, and it felt like there was so much I could take away from this one. 

The book starts out with a discussion of basic materials needed, then moves on to a discussion of preparing ground cloth -- a lot of painting, and examples of different ways to paint cloth for different effects. Also some discussion of other surface design ideas like stamping or stencilling. And then a solid look at stitching and the many ways it can be used to add to your design. And she talks about using whole cloth, or strips or patchwork to create the ground, and has examples of each in bright, colourful photos. 

This is a deceptively short book; there is an awful lot in it and a newish beginner might be very inspired by it. But as a, let's say 'advanced beginner' I find it perfect for my needs. Lots of great ideas for every step of an art quilt, in small size so you can try things out quickly and without too much work put in to make you anxious about something working or not. 

The book ends with two projects showing how to incorporate many of the techniques throughout. If you like to follow a pattern then these will be great for you - each step is explained with close details photos as well, and there are templates for the figures in the projects at the end. If you don't want to make the same pattern you will still find the instructions helpful to be able to imagine using these ideas in your own work. This is one of my favourite art quilting books I've picked up through my library this year - it's definitely going on my 'to-buy' list so I can keep it forever ;) 

If this sounds interesting to you, be sure to pop over to the author's blog where she shares more info on what's included inside plus some gorgeous closeups of the interior pictures. I think you'll love it too!


  1. Hi Melanie, What a brilliant little book! And it is in my library. The beauty of being able to make the small quilt is that it gives you opportunities to try lots of things, as you can make multiple small quilts. Once working on a bigger quilt I find I am limited in how many techniques I can use before it looks too bits and pieces. Thank you for this review.
    ... Sara

    1. Wow, so great that it's in your library! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. I agree that smaller quilts really let you experiment and test out a bunch of techniques that you might be interested in. Have fun!


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