Mayhem and Art Quilt Portfolio

I have a child. He is currently yodeling while simultaneously bouncing a tennis ball, swinging a dog’s squeak toy, slurping, and bouncing on one foot through my work area. Actually, the yodel isn’t so much of a melodic sound as the noise a sore-throated donkey might make while being goosed with a Saguaro. Still, it’s like having a one-man circus come to town. I’ve paid good money for less entertainment.

I was going to do some quiet, contemplative work, but then again, maybe not. There’s the small matter of being unable to think and, well, one shouldn’t miss out on life’s small circuses.

In addition to the child, I have a list. A very long list. Many or most people do, I expect. There’s something optimistic about a list, about laying everything out in written form. It says “I vow to be organized!” and “I haven’t yet given up on getting it all done”.

I never do, though. Each Sunday, I sit down and review The List Which Shall Not Be Conquered, think about priorities, then pull out four or five things that seem the most important. Some of them get done. Some don’t. For example, for three weeks now, I’ve had “repair dining room sheetrock,” “sign up for CPR refresher course” and “post about Martha Sielman’s book” on the list. Not done. I have, however, worked on the current portrait, given myself hives from pulling weeds out of the garden, and sewn up a hideous little rag doll for my kid, so he can cut up old cereal boxes to make props and reenact his own version of Survivor. I’ve also spent a few minutes per day talking to the neighbor’s dog, who gets incredibly lonely when his humans are at work and mashes his eye up against a knothole in the fence to watch me.


This is what passes for high class entertainment at my house.

Well, let’s go ahead and take care of one of the items, Sielman’s book. I don’t think I’m up to the full New York Times-style review it deserves, but I can probably knock out a couple disjoint paragraphs.

I’ve never met Martha Sielman and I don’t know her. I did get to see her speak a couple of years ago at IQF Houston. She struck me as an impressive person, intelligent and energetic and with a very clear vision. She’s one of those people who gets things done – no being bested by lists for her! – and has done an incredible job of chronicling the current state of art quilting in her various books.


You have a sudden, inexplicable desire to purchase this book. Don’t resist.

Her current volume is Art Quilt Portfolio: People & Portraits. It’s exactly as the title implies, a book chock full of fiber-based renderings of people. There are profiles of twenty one artists and galleries of their work, interspersed with around a hundred images from other artists. (I’m one of the “others” and have some work included in the book.)

The works are stylistically diverse, ranging from the frankly realistic to downright surrealistic, with some mid-century inspired and cubist or highly abstract works thrown in for good measure. The subject matter, as well, spans the gamut. As one might expect, the book makes for good eye candy and is an enjoyable browse for art quilters. I’d think it would make a good reference or tickler for portrait artists in any medium, as well.

As of this writing, Amazon has inexplicably priced it at $10.00, which is 60% off list. That’s about the price of one movie ticket, sans popcorn, or perhaps a couple of coffees and a stale scone at Starbucks. Although the price has inched up a bit over the past few weeks, Amazon is still practically giving it away. I suggest that if you’re all interested in the book or portraiture period, you leap on it. Buy copies for everyone in your family, even. I did.

One Response to “Mayhem and Art Quilt Portfolio”

  1. No, I am certainly not someone who is talented enough nor courageous enough to ‘put myself out there’ for others to peek at. You, on the other hand came to earth with a quiver-full of talents it would be hard to list them. I just wanted to say how much I loved looking through your quilts. Do you ever sell them, and could I afford one? You produce emotion and real beauty in thread and fabric and you can also just as easily stop to appreciate the important things in life. A lonely dog who so hungers for his people that he puts his eye to a knothole knowing that YOU will give him a moment of your time. And also knowing you would never just poke him in the eye with a stick! Yes, talents I found and enjoyed knowing about you….a loving heart that can not become impatient with a choice child who brings the circus to your workroom. One day you will hunger for the sound of a long ago circus and be grateful your memories are not blighted by irritation or even anger. Thank you so much for sharing so brilliantly the wonderful small things you have noticed through your day. Yes, Talents all….it must be hard to decide which one to invoke next!
    Thank You,
    Sherry Morrill,
    Springville, Utah