Monday, February 9, 2009

Modern Monday--The Quiltmaker's Gift

The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
Gail de Marcken, illustrator, Pfeifer-Hamilton Inc., 2

In recent years, I've seen a resurgence in quilting as a hobby and so perhaps it makes sense that Brumbeau and de Marcken would release such a timely book. Within the pages of this colorful tale are quilt block images and later a book was released that had the actual patterns displayed in the book. Even a basic quilt can tell a story, but the symbolic images in the quilt patterns in the book suggest even more.

What I loved about The Quiltmaker's Gift is the fairy tale quality. It features a selfish king who has everything a person could want and more, and a gifted woman who makes her quilts only for the poor and downtrodden. Quite simply, the king wants a quilt and she refuses because they are only for the poor. And the king is anything but. The old woman's skill is legendary, and her generosity isn't limited to people. The kindness she shows to a bear and then to the sparrows saves her from the King's retribution because she remains steadfast in her principles. Of course, the king is a man with a conscience and not entirely bad and finally he gives in to her conditions in order to earn one of her fantastic quilts.

The beautiful watercolor pictures are crammed so full of delicious images that another entire story seems to be happening there. At times the page is one colorful, richly detailed image. At others, the pages are full of panel type images that reflect the action of the story, often adding to the words through imagery. It's a book to hear, sure, but also one that requires "soaking in" before one turns the page.

In 2005, Brumbeau and de Marcken released a prequel in which readers can discover HOW the quiltmaker discovered her mission and found her talent. The Quiltmaker's Journey goes back in time to when our famed quiltmaker was a young woman. It's not quite as wonderful as the first story but true fans of the artistic style, quilts, and the story may want to own this one too.

1 comment:

Linda said...

When my oldest was born, a coworker made him a beautiful quilt from the Quiltmakers Gift. I have both the pattern book and the story book to accompany it.

You'll like this--it was an alphabet-themed quilt, with each square a Jan Brett letter of the alphabet. At the time (don't know if still) she had artwork on her website that she allowed to be used by her readers. It's beautiful!

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