Saturday, May 1, 2010

My View: Fibreart Montage by Judith Baker Montano

As you can see by a recent guest blog by Judith, she's an interesting woman, talented Canadian fiber artist, photographer and dedicated preservationist. She travels the globe spreading good will, and sharing her techniques and talent. Not to mention that she loves her home town, family, students and fabric art community.

That sweet smile and can-do nature has made her a valuable spokesperson for several major companies including the Kanagawa Silk Company of Tokyo, Japan and W.F.R. Ribbons a USA distributor for Mokuba Ribbons also of Tokyo. She designs for Treenway Silks and Robert Kaufman Fabrics Company and has author several other books as well as tutorial videos and DVDs.

Whatever she is working on, crazy quilting seems to creep into the design. She has turned this Victorian technique into a contemporary art form. Now Montano has written a compelling book: Fibreart Montage.

This 266 page book focuses on combining quilting, embroidery and photography with embellishments. It is part memoir, part instruction, part inspiration, and part discussion of products, materials and tools. Published by Dragon Threads of Worthington, Ohio, the title speaks of creative fibre works used in the quilting, needlework or fibre art field. And Montage -- "A picture or other work of art composed by assembling overlaying and overlapping of many different materials or pieces collected from different sources."

It is divided into nine sections that begin with a simple 'Getting Started' section that addresses skills the reader may have learned, supplies and tools including computers that the reader may already have. It progresses to what Judith may be best known for -- crazy quilts.

Building upon the crazy quilt technique, section three addresses the collage and tells more about the cottage quilt she wrote about in her guest blog. Since photography is an important aspect of her collage quilts, section four gives basic rules of photography, editing and choosing photos and storage. Of course included in each section are exceptional four-color photography and examples of her work.

Each section builds on what came before in the book. Thus section five references silk dying, painting silk fabric, ways of dying using plastic bags and the intriguing title "Dyeing with dye blobs." From here Montano moves on to landscapes and seascapes as well as underwater scapes that incorporate some unexpected fabrics and techniques that bring them to life.

Never fear, it wouldn't be complete without a section on patterns and an embroidery stitch guide. Throughout the book you'll be treated to a luscious display of her photography, watercolors, pen and ink illustrations. The book reads like a conversation over tea. Informal and friendly, a joy to read.

When describing constructing an aquarium scene, she doesn't miss any aspect to consider when planning it. For example she writes, "Remember that everything in the far distance is hard to see and therefore you will be working with the finest threads and using very simple stitches...." Materials used in this scene include anything and everything from netting to "Thai silk that has been punctured with the Embellisher machine." Every minute detail is included, no short cuts.

The book construction uses a convenient spiral binding so the book will lay flat for easier use and enjoyment.

You see on every page that this is a book that was written with heart and passion and a tremendous talent and wealth of experience. She's one of the masters and this is a valuable keepsake for anyone who has come to appreciate Judith Baker Montano's contribution to fiber art and the quilting community.

Cost is $36 for this hardcover beautifully illustrated book. Two thumbs up on this one, for sure!


Sandra said...

Thanks for introducing me to someone new. Judith looks like the kind of person one would love to have as a friend and mentor.
Congratulations on the new book, looks to be a treat.

Maggie Szafranski said...

I ordered my copy after reading her blogpost here! I can't wait for it get here!

Rebekah Crown said...

I learned so much from her book on crazy quilting. I look forward to this new book. Thanks for the review.

Lydia Adams said...

This is one of my very favorite books. I am constantly looking through it and just love the underwater scenes towards the end. Thank you for your review and sharing your thoughts on this fabulous must have book.