Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines.
One of the the perks of my job as a library aide is discovering unusual picture books. This one caught my eye because the author-illustrator is a quilter.
Winter, and special lights and holidays which brighten the darkest days of the year, is the theme of this book of poems. The author's subjects range from Hanukkah to the Winter Solstice to the fireworks of the Chinese New Year to the farolitos which light the way for Mary and Joseph during Christmas celebrations in the Southwest.
I must admit that I preferred the illustrations to the text because my taste in poetry is rather hobbitish and traditional. But I love these quilts! They simply glow with light thanks to the author's judicious use dark fabrics, as in the Christmas tree quilt on the cover. (See above.)
And the piecing techniques which she has chosen for each quilt are also well suited to the subject of each poem. For example, the twisted log cabin blocks which Hines uses to illustrate "Fireplace" and "One Little Candle" bring unexpected movement to her representation of flickering, dancing flames. The aurora borealis is appropriately suggested by the bargello quilt illustrating "A Sight to See." And there is a happy marriage of both color and technique in the author's use of hand-dyes in her appliqued quilt, "Protest," which illustrates the glow of the setting sun in the winter sky and the soft snowy hills.
I would love to show you what I mean by by posting pictures of the quilts I've just referred to, but I am scrupulously respecting Hines's copyright. Fortunately, you can see what I mean by visiting her website, here. Click on the link, "For Quilters" and then scroll down and click on the third book, Winter Lights, to see how she designed and made each quilt. (Unfortunately, the design of the website prevents me from giving you a direct link to the quilts.) Now that I know that she has two other quilt-illustrated books, I plan to look them up at my library.
By the way, one poem in particular resonated in my book lover's soul. It dealt with a furtive pleasure with which I am sure all readers can sympathize.
I pull the covers
over my head
and let out a few snores
for good measure . . .
then snap on my flashlight
and open my book.
Now this is
reading for pleasure!
Be sure to look at the accompanying quilt on her website!