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Book review: Journey to Inspired Art Quilting

How do you teach someone to work intuitively with color, create improvisational designs, and find their own personal artistic voice? The answer is to expose them to a master teacher and quilt artist like Jean Wells.  ~ Vivika Hansen DeNegre, Quilting Arts Magazine, 8/1/12

When I read the quote above, I knew that there was no way I could phrase it any better than Ms DeNegre.  Jean Wells is a genius, and her book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting is a work of genius.  The main focus of Jean's book is learning how to translate the design principles and elements into quilting, without losing your way and getting trapped in the details.  Her own specialty is the landscape quilt, and I found that I could easily get lost and trapped in just looking at them, but she has an amazing way of pulling your through the work and out the other side.

Jean is a great colorist, and reading through her explanations of how to get all the parts working in harmony is really an education.  She emphasizes finding "the big idea" and working from that...utilizing color, shape, line, value, etc to reinforce what you want to say.  Even how you choose to frame your work is considered in the quest to put forth the idea.

Since this is a book primarily about design, and only secondarily about techniques, you will not find much discussion of surface design.  The artist works with mostly solid colored fabrics.  One exception is that she introduces adding a bit of imagery through some prints she made and cut apart and also through quilting lines.  It is not a beginner's "teach you how to quilt book," but is an excellent first guide to designing for yourself and stepping away from patterns.  If that's what you're ready for, this is your book.

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