Book Review — Quilt Art Portfolio: The Natural World by Martha Sielman


Yesterday, I got my third (in a series of three) epideural in my sacroiliac joint at the base of my spine. It was pretty darn painful and, as it is known to do, makes the condition worse for a few days. I had to be off my feet, so it was a great time to catch up on some reading.

“Quilt Art Portfolio: The Natural World” was my first choice. This book is subtitled “Profiles of Major Artists, Galleries of Inspiring Works” which pretty much sums up the 192 page book.  Martha Seilman, who grew up not that far from me on Long Island, is a self-professed nature girl. She began the book with a call for entries and received more than 1,200 images from 450 fiber artists. She is planning the next volume of the book to be “People and Portraits,” with additional books on abstract work and landscapes to follow. This book is divided into subsections of flowers, birds, water, animals, leaves, insects, trees and textures.

My first comment on this book is that the photographs are beautiful. No question that this is major eye candy for quilters.

Two or three quilt artists are profiled in each section. There is substantial information on each artist, including their background, working methods, and goals. Each of these chapters contains several photos of the artist’s work. Following the artist profile, there is a gallery of work from various artists.

There is a huge range of subjects and styles in this book. Some of the artists are scientists. Many (I’d say most) had a significant art background before they started quilting. I found their stories fascinating and it definitely complimented their work.

I had a couple of frustrations/suggestions. First of all, I would have loved to have seen a photo of each profiled artist to accompany their first-person narrative. Secondly, many of the pictures were in the 3″ x 4″ size range. While this let me see the totality of the work, it did not let me see any of the quilting. I realize that this is a space tradeoff, but the quilting is an integral part of each piece and I was hungry for more details. Some of these pieces were very large — for example 52″ x 104″ — and shown on a half-page of the book.

Overall this book is incredible. It delivers exactly what it promises with artist profiles and inspiration. This would be a great addition to anybody’s quilt book library. You can purchase it at

(If you cannot the photos, please check out my blog at


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