Susan Brubaker Knapp's quilts. Susan has a distinctive, representational style of art quilting that is crisp, bold and graphic. I love the clean, clarity of her work. C&T has just published her new book about quilts that are inspired by photos, which many of hers are. I just got a copy and had a chance to look through it. I am looking forward to reading it in depth, but I wanted to share my first impressions.
Using photos as the design inspirations for artwork is nothing new, and, honestly it is often the recipe for really awful, boring, poorly conceived work. Haven't we all seen those quilts that take a mediocre photo and slavishly reproduce every single detail, including the distracting telephone pole and the badly placed and sad looking tree? Ugh. These are the pieces that give this technique such a bad rep. Susan, on the other hand, shows how a photo can be a starting point for something truly artful. She starts by providing a lot of solid suggestions for taking better photos from the outset. Then she talks about how to analyze the photo, select the most promising elements, improve the composition, if need be, and interpret it with fabric and stitch, using the strongest parts of the original photo and playing them up in the fabric work. Sometimes that involves leaving things out, sometimes adding something to improve the balance or the flow of the design and sometimes focusing in on a small selected part of a larger photo. The focus is on creating good design, not on simply recreating a scene. Just look at that beautiful cover piece and you can see that this is much more than a simple-minded "how to copy a photo" book. I think anyone who ever made a piece inspired by a favorite photo can learn something from this beautiful book. I did. And it is such a treat to see all Susan's beautiful examples.
I was really flattered when Susan asked to use one of my pieces in the "gallery" section of her book.
I am really pleased to be a small part of such beautifully conceived and produced book. I think it will be a really useful and inspiring resource for many quilt artists.