The story of this book begins with Kelly Biscopink and a single question: “What do you have for me?” At the Modern Quilt Guild meetup at Quilt Market in Kansas City (back in 2012) Kelly simply asked me that question and the rest is history. But perhaps a bit of backstory is due…
The previous Market I had talked to Kelly about a book idea, one I still hope to do some day, but it became evident that it was not really a feasible project. It was going to take a whole lot of money to pay for all the image permissions necessary, among the many other problematic elements. We had a great conversation, and Kelly was absolutely wonderful. I knew from that first talk that she was one of the good ones, a person who really got it.
So, when we bumped into each other in Kansas City I was happy to see her and was excited to catch up. And then she asked the question: “What do you have for me?” It wasn’t asked in a creepy way, it was absolutely genuine and inquisitive; she wanted to know what I was thinking about doing, what ideas I might have for a project. The thing is that at that particular moment I only had one quilting in my head: In Defense of Handmade. I had no book proposal, at least not until that moment…
So, I told her about Martha. Then I told her I wanted to do a book about big ideas, a book with lots of words (well, lots for a quilt book). She didn’t miss a beat and told me to get it to her ASAP and she would guide it through. (To illustrate just how awesome Kelly is and how much she gets it, this was the same Market where I heard an editor utter the phrase “Our readers don’t really like to read.”)
When I got home from Market I got to work, wrote up a proposal and sketched out another half-dozen designs, most of which made are indeed in the book. It was an absolutely frenzied period of time. That conversation with Kelly put the book into my head; it emerged almost fully formed in my crazy little brain. What you see now is almost exactly what I saw in my head back then in May 2012.
Well, when Kelly said she would guide it through she wasn’t kidding. By the end of June I had a deal to write a book, what is now Modern Quilt Perspectives. This book wouldn’t exist without Kelly, and in putting the proposal together she helped shape it more than she knows. She helped me with the fact that I could not answer the question of what other quilt books this one would be like, because in my head I couldn’t think of a single one. I wanted to do something different, something that I thought reflected an underserved audience, a book in which what and how came in as the minor partners to one basic question: Why?
I can never thank Kelly enough for the faith she had in this book from the beginning, the help she gave me in getting it started, and the support she has given me. I couldn’t be prouder to have her as a colleague and a friend. So thank you Kelly for getting this book started, and thank you for being her to see it into the world.