The Latest from that Amazing Quilter, Gwen Marston (+ a Giveaway!)

1-Giveaway IconAt one time or another, I suspect we’ve all had the experience of meeting someone new and feeling that immediate “click” of connection–the perfect description of my first encounter (in 1989!) with legendary and beloved Michigan quilter, Gwen Marston.

Gwen Marston
Gwen Marston

I wrote about Gwen, her then most-recent work, and her wonderful book, 37 Sketches, in a post back in January 2012. It’s a tribute to Gwen’s enduring popularity that this post remains one of our all-time, most-often viewed here at See How We Sew. Now, two years later, I decided it was time to check back with Gwen to find out what’s new. The answer? Lots!

First up: Gwen Marston, Contemporary Quilts, a solo exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI. This exhibit runs through April 27 and includes work that Gwen has created in the past eight years, in which she continues to simplify, to melt the elements down to their most basic forms, allowing the color to speak in a stronger voice. Some of the pieces are the Small Studies from the aforementioned 37 Sketches (2011).D_Jan 27_37 Sketches Cover(1) (2)

"Small Study 4 (9" x 11") made and machine quilted by Gwen Marston; 2010
“Small Study 4 (9″ x 11”) made and machine quilted by Gwen Marston; 2010

Others are from her earlier book, Ideas and Inspirations: Abstract Quilts in Solids (2008).

Ideas and Inspirations cover

Broken Dishes (38" x 37"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Broken Dishes (38″ x 37″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Three Triangles (35" x 36"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2010
Three Triangles (35″ x 36″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2010
Red Square VI (39" x 42"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Red Square VI (39″ x 42″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008

Still others reflect Gwen’s ongoing explorations, in which she pushes even further, working in a decidedly minimal style. This fresh, exciting, stripped-down approach takes center stage in–more news!!!–Gwen’s brand-new book, Minimal Quiltmaking, scheduled for publication by the American Quilter’s Society on March 1!

Gwen's newest, publishing March 1
Gwen’s newest, publishing March 1

Wouldn’t you like to be first among your friends to own Minimal Quiltmaking? Well, it happens that we’ll have a copy to give away to one of our readers as soon as the book hits the shelves. Just leave a comment by noon (PST) Thursday, February 20, telling us whether you consider yourself a “minimalist” or “maximalist” quilter (for example, in style, size or variety of your fabric stash, reliance on notions, degree of advance planning) and I’ll announce a winner in my Friday, February 21 post.

Finally, here’s a special treat! The Dennos Museum Center has placed Gwen’s entire presentation from the exhibit’s January 18 opening reception on YouTube. Watch and enjoy!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!Darra-signature


49 thoughts on “The Latest from that Amazing Quilter, Gwen Marston (+ a Giveaway!)

  1. I’ve known Gwen for 30 years. She is a great artist and a very special friend. I’m not sure I qualify for either category of mini or maxi, but I love Gwen’s style of quilting and living.


  2. I would say I’m developing into a minimalist. I’ve only quilted a couple of years, and my favorite quilts are the simplest. I loved the quilts in this post! Bright colors, easy shapes, great quilting–I’ve got to have this book!


  3. I’m not really a minimalist, but I’m a fan of Gwen Marston and have used her principles in many of my quilts. I’m looking forward to seeing her new book.


  4. Minimalist of maximalist? Minimaxlist when it comes to size of projects. Think 3 inch log cabin with 13 rounds and postcards. But fabric stash, books, patterns and notions – for sure a maximalist. I am on a ‘diet’ of no purchases except replacing needles, thread and batting, at least I can go to quilt shop and pet the fabric, buying batting is exciting because that means I have used up all those strips of batting that were to large to toss. Love Gwen’s books have several. Have actually made a couple of projects from her books. Would love to have Gwen’s newest book as I have been an admirer of her for more years that I care to count.


  5. I find I’m becoming more and more minimalist with the passage of time! I love simple, modern designs, and would love a chance to get this book!


  6. I don’t know! I like to make small scrappy quilts with lots of different fabrics, but I seldom go out and buy fabric specifically for a project. I use what I have, or what someone has given me.


  7. Thanks for reminding the quilt world about Gwen. I am a huge fan of Gwen’s. Her books are the ones I return to over and over for ideas, techniques or just to cuddle up with! I have been counting the months before its release since she announced it in September. Laura’s Quilts, Quilts, Quilts and one of Gwen’s little Dover books were the first quilt books I purchased in my quilting journey. Can’t say I’m a minimalist yet but her work is what I aspire to. When I grow up I want to be able to do as much with so little as she does.


  8. I am a minimalist in style and size – but I aspire to be even more of a minimalist in style and a maximalist in size. Can’t wait to see Gwen’s new book!


  9. Love the turns Gwen has taken during her quilting lifetime which proves anything can happen. We can be both minimalist and maximalist at the same time.


  10. I’m a maximalist for sure. My stash is huge. I love maximum saturation in colors—bright, bold, beautiful. But this year I’m trying to reduce my UFOs from MAX to min!


  11. I am a maximalist when it comes to my stash, and I am trying hard to spend more time sewing than looking for new projects. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com


  12. I am a maximalist when it comes to my stash and to the preplanning. This sometimes slows down the whole creative process so I have been trying to become more of a minimalist. The new book sounds great!


  13. I’m definitely not a minimalist when it comes to fabric as I have a difficult time parting with what I have. In terms of what I like, I guess you would say I’m an “in-between-ist”. While I love the traditional old blocks, I also love the new more modern blocks and quilts. My work is a combination of both. I would like to do more large piece quilts, simply because it’s easier, but I will not do it just for that reason. There has to be a purpose behind my work. I have a quilt that’s been running around in my head lately-its a city skyline quilt and I’m enlisting a friend with design help as I have an idea what I want, but I am “design-challenged,” and he’s just the one who can help me. In addition, I hope involving him will motivate him to learn to quilt. I know he wants to, but right now it’s just a matter of finding the time, as teaching takes a lot out of you. Being a very talented person and art teacher, I can only imagine what he would create.


  14. definitely a Maxinista 🙂 Lots of peces, or large prints. I am trying to pare it down so this book would be an inspiration. Gwen is always an inspiration. I am a fan of her work.


  15. I love both! There is such beauty in both of these types of quilt designs. With STASH and NOTIONS, I’m a “Maximalist”, the more the better!


  16. At times I’m a minimalist. I like .along smaller quilts or wallhangings. But at times I’m the opposite. Can’t be pidgeon holed into one category.


  17. I am loving the minimalist designs. I was first drawn to the quilts of the Amish and they are more minimalist to me. Gwen’s new book looks great.


  18. I am somewhere in between, but definitely lean toward the minimalist. The book looks incredible and I will be ordering it if I don’t win it! Would love to get her 37 sketches book as well. There is an awesome talk of hers on YouTube if you google her museum show. Very interesting.


  19. I would say I am a maximalist. The more the merrier! But I do appreciate the minimalist quilts and I know that my husband would love to see more of my minimalist side!


  20. Oh my word. For Christmas I received Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s “15 Minutes of Play”, which led me to Gwen’s work. For the last month or so I have been poring over her quilts, and seeing the world through her “liberated” eyes. I am not sure if I am a minimalist–the richness of color and fabric make me feel like a maximalist when I’m diving into my stash.

    Thank you so much for letting us know about this new book. If my name is not chosen, this will go to the top of my wish list!


  21. I guess I’d classify as a maximalist since I sew small pieces in many fabrics to make large quilts, but every once in a while my eyes do need a rest and I crave making something more minimal in effect.


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