The Source for Contemporary Art Quilts, Exhibitions & Appraisals

 American Quilts: The Democratic Art by Robert Shaw

American Quilts: The Democratic Art is the first truly comprehensive study of the art of American quilts and quiltmaking of quilts made between 1780 and 2013.

Hardcover. 10 x 10 inches. 384 pages, More than 350 stunning images.

Order your copy now!
List price: $29.95
Amazon price: $18.25
Save: $11.70 (39%)

Click here for more information and photos.



"A rich and beautifully crafted introduction to American quilts from the Colonial period to the present, Shaw's American Quilts offers an engaging and sophisticated synthesis for readers who wish to learn about the art of the quilt in its many contexts. Shaw (formerly, Shelburne Museum, VT) offers an introduction that neatly sets the stage for 14 chapters, each focused on an aspect of the quilting arts associated with a given time period. His writing strategy effectively lends contextual clarity to an art form marked by extraordinary diversity. "The Golden Age of Appliqué, 1840-1860," for example, incorporates a discussion of westward expansion, and "The Great Revival, 1970-2000" links quilting to the larger contexts of the US Bicentennial, heritage studies, and shifts in the contemporary art world. Full color illustrations, individual quilt histories, a bibliography, and a guide to collections render American Quilts a book of exceptional utility as a starting point for teaching, design, and research. Ultimately, Shaw's narrative is what makes this book an enduring work. Readers new to the field will discover the quilt as a remarkable art form; readers knowledgeable in histories of the quilt will discover fresh information and insight. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."

—Bernard L. Herman, George B. Tindall Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina
CHOICE, May 2010

"American Quilts: The Democratic Art is a must-have book at a bargain price. There are a good number of thick books, stuffed with photos, purporting to detail the history of quilts in America. Many are pretty, few are complete, and none can match this new book by curator, collector and writer Robert Shaw. This sumptuous masterpiece is a thorough study of the key eras in the flowering of quiltmaking in the U.S., written by someone deeply versed in the major collections. This book represents a culmination of a long career and one of the most thrilling aspects is the inclusion of stunning historically significant quilts that haven't been published widely or at all. Another reason to cheer is that it brings quilting history up to date: the indispensable volume by Roderick Kiracofe, The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort ends in 1950, so it doesn't include the quilting renaissance that began in the 1970s. Given the breadth of the history covered and the high quality of the photographs, I find the price just staggeringly reasonable, meaning there is no excuse for not acquiring this book if you care about quilts. This one's a keeper."

Meg Cox, author of The Quilter's Catalog and President, The Quilt Alliance


The Art Quilt


The definitive work, published in 1997 and now out of print.

"With the appearance of this gorgeous and ambitious book, it seems unlikely that quilts could ever again be dismissively assumed to be staid, quaint, bound by tradition, or strictly utilitarian. The Art Quilt is an art-lover's treasure, a quiltmaker's bible, and a collector's reminder of all the wonderful quilts yet to covet."

Hardcover with dust jacket, 14 x 11 in., 312 pp., more than 300 color photos.


Art Quilts: A Celebration


Every quilter will want to possess this stunning anthology, which features 10 years worth of the most innovative pieces chosen for the Quilt National biennial exhibition--the top showcase for modern quilt artists. Acclaimed author Robert Shaw, a widely recognized expert on American folk art, introduces the volume and provides both a beautifully illustrated history of the art quilt movement and a special section on building, displaying, and caring for collection of quality pieces. The techniques and materials featured in these 400 spectacular quilts are as varied as the people who created them, and through spectacular color photographs and artists' discussions, readers will discover how the boundaries of traditional quilt-making have expanded in the last decade.

Soft cover, 10.9 x 8.5 inches, 512 pages, more than 400 color photographs


Hawaiian Quilt Masterpieces


The definitive book on Hawaiian quilts, first published in 1997 and reissued by Universe/Rizzoli in 2009.

"First brought to the islands by missionaries and traders in the late 19th century, quilting in Hawaii adapted to the physical and cultural environment of the islands to become a distinctive art form. The earliest quilt in this collection of Hawaiian masterworks dates from 1874 and the most recent from 1995. Following the format of his earlier Quilts: A Living Tradition, Shaw includes a detailed color photograph, a historical introduction, and a critique for each of the 48 quilts. Essential for textile history collections."
-Library Journal

Hardcover, 12 x 9 in., 120 pp., 50 full-page color photos.

Contemporary Art Quilts


The John M. Walsh III Collection

Catalog essay by Robert Shaw

Catalog of 2001 exhibition at the University of Kentucky Art Museum. The Walsh Collection is considered the finest private collection of art quilts in the world and features outstanding work by Pauline Burbidge, Nancy Crow, Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade, Michael James, M. Joan Lintault, Terrie Hancock Mangat, Therese May, Jan Myers-Newbury, Joan Schulze, Pamela Studstill, and other masters of the art.

Soft cover, 9.25 x 11.5 in., 48 pp.

Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

HomeAbout NewsArtistsOrderingRecently Sold Exhibitions BooksLecturesServicesContact

Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

Bottom left and right: Toward Barred Island (detail) by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade