My Top Ten Art Quilting books


Call me old fashioned, but I still like to hold a book in my hand, look at the pictures time again and, God forbid, underline all the important bits! My collection of books give me a sense of well being. I have taught myself how to do art quilting through books.

The following is my top ten titles that have been the most inspiring and useful to myself. If I had to choose only 10 books to keep, these would be the ones.

These are in no particular order.


Number 1

Finding Your Own Visual Language by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan

How to gets started, move forward and go deeper in producing the ideas you have in your head.

Lots of visual exercises and a wonderful further reading section at the end.







Number 2

Color Play by Joen Wolfrom

I have quite a number of books about colour and I think this is the best. The information is useful for quilters at any level. Joen has also a colour tool which I highly recommend.

I used the tiadic colour scheme of blue, red and yello-green in my quilt ‘I Dream in Colour’ (







Number 3

Design Explorations for the Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust

This book is chock-full of explorations in concepts such as shapes, lines, details, repetition and even blind painting!

Katie has a range of similar titles; it was really hard to choose which one I liked the best.






Number 4

Free-Style Quilts by Susan Carlson

This book revolutionized my art quilting practice.There are no rules and the ‘collage’ technique is fun and easy. Susan’s quilts are truly inspiring. Katie is very fortunate to have done the workshop with Susan recently.

I used this method for the rabbit in ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and ‘Dorothy’s Quinces’ (






Number 5

Contemporary Quilts by Sandra Meech

Inspiration for creativity. How to create a sketchbook and build up a dossier of design ideas. Developing themes and techniques.

Sandra has a number of similar titles.








Number 6

Art Cloth by Jane Dunnewold

This is the ‘bible’ from this guru of surface design. A wonderful reference book for techniques such as dyeing, discharging, screen printing, stamping, stenciling, painting. Supersedes ‘Complex Cloth’.








Number 7

Dancing with Thread by Ann Fahl

This a guide to free-motion quilting. Create designs using your own doodles as patterns. Add movement and personality to your quilts. The best thing about this books is the troubleshooting guides to solve common problems- I go back to this whenever I am having difficulties. Ann also has a book out on thread sketching (Coloring with Thread) which is also very good.






Number 8

 4000 Flower & Plant Motifs by Graham Leslie McCallum

I was so happy the day I found this book. Not many of us have the time to spend drawing from original sources (although I think this is by far the best way for development of your own personal imagery). This has been a very useful resource for looking up designs from different historical and regional perspectives.The designs are copyright free.





Number 9

 Nature’s Studio by Joan Colvin

Joan’s quilts are uniquely elegant and inspiring. She shares some valuable techniques on creating soft and hard edges and colour blending. Again it’s all about developing your own style.








Number 10

Ruth B. McDowell’s Piecing Workshop

Although I rarely use Ruth’s methods for piecing, I felt I had to include this author as her quilts are awesome. It would be worthwhile to learn at least the first couple of techniques. Although these techniques are time-consuming, the end results are truly worth the effort. I used this method in the background of my quilt ‘Cameron’s Drought’.

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