Sunday, June 16, 2024

Weekend Review: Quilt Out Loud

Quilt Out Loud / Thomas Knauer
Concord, CA: C&T, c2023
144 p.

I read this one via my library, and found it very interesting! The subtitle says it all:  "Activism, Language and the Art of Quilting". It really does live up to that billing, combining all three effectively. 

I read it as part of my investigations of using text on quilts, and this one has some ideas that I really liked. Knauer is a quilter who has exhibited many of his social commentary quilts, and he talks about activism and the quilting world, alongside presenting quilts and techniques to incorporate text (or other forms of semantic meaning) into quilt projects. 

There are only so many ways one can do this, and because I've read so many of these kinds of books, I've seen many of these techniques before. But I appreciated the layout, photos and all the context he gives for the specific quilts here. Not only techniques, but the "why" of his projects is given, and I found that inspiring beyond just the practical. Many of these examples are serious, commenting on gun violence, racism, misogyny and more. But there are also lighter, whimsical quilts, as with the one he made for his wife with their wedding vows in code. 

There are instructional elements to this book featuring applique, quilted text, piecing, even using Morse code and binary code. But there is also a lot to read, not just simple how-to's. There are essays included by other quilters who have been quilting in a combination of text and activism for a long time, like Chawne Kimber or Denyse Schmidt, and these elements add to the book. It's a nice balance of voices, and a deep dig into how domestic arts (here specifically quilting) can be used in activist ways. I really liked this one, and will definitely look at it again in future. 

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