Artist Spotlight part 2: Inspired to Quilt

March 9, 2010

I told you last week how much I admired Melanie Testa as an artist and as a friend. This week I want to introduce you to her book, “Inspired To Quilt.” The title is appropriate as her book is truly inspiring.

I purchased my copy from her at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last October and spent a lovely and very early morning flight home perusing it. I blogged about that morning here. That page also shows a little sketch copied out of her book.
In the interest of full disclosure, Melanie and I were both contracted to write our books through Quilting Arts at about the same time. Now the gushing – I must say that the books they have put out recently through Interweave Press are beautifully laid out. I love, love, love the layout and the general lush and beautiful look of “Inspired To Quilt.”
Now I’m one of those people who will get completely involved in the imagery of a book like this. I “read’ my magazines by flipping through from the back and absorbing the pictures. I love good photography and great layouts and graphic design. And I am completely enchanted by Melanie’s artwork.
Let me tell you now about some of the more in-depth reasons why I love this book and think you will too. Melanie’s gentle and encouraging nature comes shining through in her writing. (Yes, I DID finally read it.) I love that she urges the reader to experiment and play as they try out each of the  processes in this technique oriented book.

There are step by step instructions for working with dye, for printmaking, stamping, stenciling, and dye painting. Melanie walks you through her process one layer and page at a time. She shows you how she begins with sketched ideas, creates layers of cloth and imagery in cottons and sheers and stitching. You are carefully guided through her construction process as images are built and cloth is added and taken away and embellished until the composition is completed. She goes even further to the back of the textile art, explaining finishing techniques and edge finishes.
If you are a project person there is something in “Inspired To Quilt” for you too. I think Melanie’s Pretty Purses are absolutely sweet. Other projects include a Sewing Holster, Merit Badges, and Artists Trading Cards.
So, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of this book. Take a look at the Inspired to Quilt FaceBook Fan Page to read an ongoing discussion about the book and to join in reader challenges.  
And finally, remember that both Melaine and I are working on a textile postcard to give away to lucky commenters on our blogs. She is introducing me to her readers on her blog if you want to pop over and say hello there too.  Any comments on my posts that feature Melanie are eligible for the drawingso go back and leave a comment for last week and pop in the next two weeks as well.

Do you want to hear something amazing? We both sent each other dyed and printed fabric – without telling each other what it was and guess what!?! We both sent fabric printed with the SAME thing – ginkgo leaves. Now THAT is serendipity!


  • Reply
    March 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    what a wonderfully informative review. I will put it on my list for my birthday. It will then join yours on the shelf in my studio.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Marvelous review, I am going to find this book! I have been an admirer of Melanie's work for several years since we were members of the same guild in NY before she moved to AZ and back to NY. Thanks, Lyric, and please continue to blog about things that interest artists in general…the business side, exposure, etc. Have been very helpful. Regards, Debbie Bein

  • Reply
    March 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I love that there's so much in this book, can't wait to try it all out!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I DO have her book, and suggest everyone gets the DVD to go with it……..she seems quite delightfull and passionate about het art, I love it

  • Reply
    Diana Trout {}
    March 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks Lyric! What a nice review of Melly's book. I love it as well, tons of great information on using dyes. How funny that you two sent each other such similar items. Sympatico!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Serendipity at it's best! I love that you both chose ginko leaves. I also "read" my new books like you and then I finally settle in to read them front to back with words! Have a fun filled week.

  • Reply
    Jane LaFazio
    March 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    masking tape, tulle, tracing paper, monoprinting with textures, layering with organza..all techniques I use regularly, inspired by Melly.

  • Reply
    Laura Lea
    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I just finished using her tracing paper technique on my quilt Hush Little Baby border for my granddaughter. I also was amazed at her masking (tape and freezer paper) and tulle use. Intriguing and inspirational. I have both of your books out and have been working with them for awhile now. My cousin gave me your book as a gift when I was taking your class! I am looking forward to your collaboration with Melanie. I am so pleased to see two people who are so creative and encouraging of others creativity getting together! Serendipity in the fabrics sent is just a sign that this working together is going to produce wonderful results! You are both such an inspiration to others! Thanks for all of your kind words Lyric, they came at a much needed time!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Hey Friends – if you already have Melly's book – pop over to Amazon and leave a great review. It REALLY helps!

  • Reply
    Carol C
    March 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I think it's wonderful that you two have teamed up. It's nice to have someone to help keep the fire burning. I've been wanting both of your books for awhile. Actually I was hoping to win them but now can't wait any longer. I enjoy following both of your blogs and use you both to keep my fire burning. Keep up the good job.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 3:16 am

    It's an inspiring book, as is your book Lyric. Did you make a "pretty purse"? It's looks like a "real" one in your post. They are so cute looking.

    Can you believe I've never sewn a zipper into anything? I know … Google the how-to and just make one. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Oh wow, I remember seeing those little purses in an article before. I loved the way they look. So good to put 2 and 2 together and realise that Melanie has a whole book out. That's definitely going on my wish list.

    Oh, and if anyone isn't already on the interweave email list, I highly recommend it. They do send heaps of emails, depending on your preferences, but they do send out some great special offers and sales too.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 3:00 am

    I liked the cat and bird theme 'coin bags'. I'm not sure if that's what they were made for, but I sure could use one for my over sized purse!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I love her layered images. Her book sounds definitely worth owning.

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