Friday, March 30, 2012

Step 2 - Publish Your Quilt or Art Catalog Using Print-on-Demand

Today, we're going to talk about how to publish your quilt catalog. Let's face it, a traditional publishing company is not likely to publish our quilts unless we're as well known as a Nancy Crow, a Ruth B. McDowell, or an Eleanor Burns.

Documenting our quilts and our lives as quilters is important. I'd like for my family generations in the future to know that I stitched a quilt such as Black Barbie. If the actual quilt is no longer available, then having a photograph of it or catalog with the quilt may just be how family in the future knows about the quilt.

Technology, the Internet and online buying have come together in such as way that you can create a book in an affordable way and offer it, if you'd like, online for folks across America and in other countries to purchase.

The technique called "print-on-demand" allows for as few as one copy of a book to be printed once it is purchased online. There are several companies that other quilters have used to publish work using print-on-demand: CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb are just a few. [I am not employed by these.]

Blurb - Great for photo books (fabulous paper quality), expensive because of the quality, but limited sales distribution as books printed by Blurb are available to purchase only from the Blurb website.
Lulu - founded in 2002, easy to publish for novices.
  • Offers Microsoft WORD templates by book size - just start typing!
  • Offers both soft covers (perfect bound, saddle stitch, coil bound) and hardcover books (with and without dust jackets)
  • 10 different book sizes for color interiors, but just 7 allow for as few as 32 page books
  • 2 different paper grades for color: Lulu Standard and Premium
  • Covers can be designed using an online "wizard" so you can select from various cover themes, layouts, colors and fonts
  • Offers two different distribution options - a free one that gets your book on Amazon and a "global" reach one that makes your book available to online and traditional bookstore worldwide.
  • Click here to see some of the quilting books available on Lulu.
CreateSpace - owned by Amazon, easy to publish for novices
  • Offers Microsoft WORD templates by book size
  • Only paperbacks books are available
  • 15 full color book sizes, each allows for as few as 24 pages
  • Just one paper option for color books - white paper
  • An online Cover Generator allows you to select from various cover themes, layouts, colors and fonts
  • Offers two different distribution options - a free one that gets your book on Amazon and an Expanded Distribution Channel choice that makes your book available to online and in traditional bookstores.
  • Here's a link to quilting books published via CreateSpace.
I have personally used Lulu and CreateSpace. For this series, I will focus on CreateSpace as they offer full-color paperback book interiors for as few as 24 pages. Additionally, one has access to have your book sold on major online websites.
Were you aware of these print-on-demand sites? Have you used one before? What was your experience like? Enjoy!

The Art of My Life by David Cassidy

Here is California artist David Cassidy's "The Art of My Life" available on Click on the link here and have a look at the preview. This is an elaborate, 90 page full-color catalog. I love his affirmative declaration to document his own art history! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The French Collection Part I by Faith Ringgold

I have been a fan of Faith Ringgold's quilts for more than 20 years. As a young quilter, I was excited and very impressed to see that Ms. Ringgold had her own "press" - B Mow Press - Being My Own Woman Press.

This is a 40 page, soft cover art catalog titled "The French Collection Part 1". Black and white interior. The components of this catalog are:
  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Dedication - great photos of her mom, Willi Posey
  • Acknowledgements page
  • Essay by Michele Wallace (3.5 pages)
  • Essay by Moria Roth (2.5 pages)
  • Section on the French Collection series of quilts - including 8 full-page photos of quilts from the series - and introductory essay about the series
  • Section on the Change: Faith Ringgold's Over 10o Pound Weight Loss Performance Story Quilt - including full-page photo of the quilt.
This art catalog was published in 1992. I suspect I've wanted to self-publish my own artwork since seeing that Ms. Ringgold demonstrated it was doable! Take time to think about the theme you'd like for your catalog. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Step 1 - Have a Theme for your Quilt or Art Catalog

Step 1 - In this series of blog posts, we'll walk through the steps to help you create a 24-page, full-color quilt catalog!

Think about the different catalogs you've seen in art galleries. Usually, they are 24 or 36 pages. There is usually an essay about the artist or theme of the exhibit. Then, there are several full-page photos of the artwork on display with captions about the work. There might also be an artist resume and listing of those who own the artists work.

You can easily do this! You can create a catalog of just your work or join your best friend and create a book with both your work? A guild might use this series of steps to create a full-color exhibit catalog - and have copies available for sale at the exhibit and year-round from major online bookstores!

What kind of quilt catalog would you like to create?
  • A more formal catalog showing your quilts - professionally photographed
  • A more casual catalog of your quilts covering beds, draped over the living room sofa
  • A statement of you as an artist/quilter .... with a mix of photos of your quilt and photos of you in your studio
  • A catalog dedicated to a series of quilts you've made.... maybe your family-themed quilts or floral quilts or specific story quilts
  • A catalog that features your quilts and poetry
  • A catalog that includes your quilts and quilt block patterns
  • A catalog that includes how you make a quilt - what is your creative process? The photographs could include your inspirations, the various sketches to make your quilt, the finish piece.
  • A catalog featuring your quilts and other needle arts

The photo here is of a museum catalog featuring the work of the late quilter Elizabeth Talford Scott.

Your Assignment (smile): Take time today to play with ideas for potential themes for your own quilt or art catalog! Feel free to share some ideas here by posting a comment here. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Create Your Own Quilt or Art Catalog

You might be shy about taking that step to creating your own art catalog. Well, here are 10 reasons that might convince you otherwise!
  1. Extend your creative juices! Be an author + artist.
  2. Document your work. Creating a catalog is just one way to formally document your quilts or other artwork. It's also a substantial marketing tool that has a cache different from a website or Facebook account.
  3. Earn a bit - Quilters buy quilt-related books - so there might be a market for your catalog! Consider this. There are 21 million quilters in the US, according to the industry study, Quilting in America. We spend $3.58 BILLION a year on quilting-related expenditures, up 9% since 2006. Quilters purchased an average of 4.4 books in the last 12 months, spending on average $21 per book.
  4. Gain new fans. The catalog we'll create can be available on Amazon, one of the largest marketplaces. You might just gain new admirers for your quilts who would not know about your art otherwise.
  5. Enhance the value of your art. It seems the formal documentation of your artwork may help to increase its value - to you and your collectors.
  6. Add a new tool to your workshops or lectures. Many quilters and artists also conduct how-to workshops or lectures. You can turn your workshop into a workbook or your lecture into a chapbook and have the results available for sale or signings.
  7. Promote your guild exhibit. I can't count how many times I've read about an exciting exhibit by a guild in another state that there's no way to see in person. Offering a guild exhibit catalog for sale will increase "attendance" and awareness for the great work of the guild! A series of the guild's catalogs may become a new revenue stream!
  8. Tell a story. Some of us quilters also engage in quilt history research. A catalog or short 24-page booklet is just the right size for publishing a niche historical art story. Others might want to combine their quilts with their poetry passions or other combination.
  9. Pass on a Pattern. If you have a special or innovative quilting technique, you can publish a how to catalog with instructions and a pattern for your technique.
  10. Give as a gift. You don't have to make a catalog of your own work, you could use your talents to create a catalog for another quilter, maybe an older quilter.... or your grandmother quilter. How wonderful would they feel to see their work documented in book form - to have a family party where they sign their books! Edwin Fuller created a catalog for his quilting mother's 92nd birthday. Eldest grandson Craig Biles created a quilt catalog for his 95 year old grandmother, Cora Lee Beeson. Son Abraham Simmons created a quilt catalog for his mother Hilda Simmons.
What's your number 1 reason for creating a catalog of your quilts or other artwork? Post a note here - let's read your comments. Enjoy!

Follow your dream - publish a catalog of your art quilts!


For the last couple of years I've had a ball working on my quilt history research and then self-publishing the results using a method called "print on demand." Print on demand is a technique where a single book is printed affordably once the book is purchased.

As some of you know, I love researching quilters' past. Mostly, I've been hanging out in the 19th century ... reading newspaper microfilm and long out-of-print tomes.... looking up U.S. census, birth records, and other official data.

I wonder, though, what happens to all the great insights on today's quilters? How will researchers or family members 50 or 100 years from now learn about our quilts and motivations? So many fabulous quilts are pictured on Facebook - but what happens 25 years from now? Will those quilts be accessible to see? I'm being a bit selfish. The historian in me would like to do my bit to help preserve more quilt history.

How would you like to publish a catalog of your own quilts ... or artwork .... or quilt history research? How would you like to see your own catalog on a popular website such as - imagine having others potentially made aware of your quilts in ways that a local quilt exhibit can not. Really!

I'd like to share with you how you can publish your own quilt catalog in an affordable, accessible way. Disclaimer - I'm not an expert. I'll share what I've learned from self-publishing. In the next several posts, we'll walk through different steps to publish your quilt catalog using print on demand.

Really! We'll walk through the steps to publish a 24-page art catalog ... you'll need:
  • Microsoft Word
  • photos of your quilts or yourself in your quilt studio (or sewing on the dining room table, like I do!)
  • Internet access
  • and, your excitement!
That's it - for the most part. You are free to follow the posts here. If you'd like, you can purchase the workbook I've developed to provide an affordable way for you to take notes and see the paper and printing quality. In the workbook, I've also added a few bonuses.

Feel free to follow these posts with a quilting friend or your guild. On the right column here, you'll see where you can sign up for free emails to notify you when there is a new blog posts. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Publish Your Quilts posts will start on March 26 - do join!

So excited! I'm looking forward to sharing with you actionable steps to self-publish your own quilt or art catalog. I can't wait to read what you "speak" through your own catalog!

It's countdown time - the blog posts with each of the steps will start on Monday, March 26. You can follow the posts here by Following or adding your email to the list on the right-hand column.

I'm hoping to get at least 30 Followers! Do let others know!

Thank you! Kyra

Update: There is also a workbook that has all the steps we'll cover in the blog + a little more available on Amazon. I used the same method of publishing the workbook that we'll cover for your quilt catalog!

The Studio Quilt series - affordable art catalogs

Are you familiar with the monograph series by Sandra Sider? These full-color, 7 x 10 inches quilt catalogs are 34 pages long. Each focuses on one art quilter and includes info about the artist and more than 20 photos of their work. Each was printed using CreateSpace and retails for an affordable $11. The titles in the series include:

  1. The Studio Quilt, no. 1: Ludmila Aristova
  2. The Studio Quilt, no. 2: Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer
  3. The Studio Quilt, no. 3: Linda Colsh
  4. The Studio Quilt, no. 4: Barbara W. Watler
  5. The Studio Quilt, no. 5: Marianne R. Williamson
  6. The Studio Quilt: The State of the Art .... this one has 56 pages and retails for $15.
What I love about this series is that one gets introduced to quilters who you may not ever meet in person. The artwork is wonderful! Each catalog is quite affordable. Click on one of the books and use the "Look Inside" feature to see how simple the page layout is. You can also incorporate a simple layout in your art catalog!

I can see a guild using print-on-demand to create a catalog of an annual show - or series of guild shows. Or a quilter who also does dollmaking might have one catalog on her quilts and another on her dolls. Can you see yourself creating such a catalog? Do post a comment and share your thoughts. Enjoy!