Ann Fahl’s new book is out!

As promised, I have a really lovely interview with Ann Fahl
about her new book. This has so much more in it, than a promotion
on a new book. I found many of Ann’s answers touching, a
genuine look into the real Ann Fahl, not just the quilting
celebrity. Quilters are so often very nice people, and
quilting celebrities are no exception, so here’s Ann… Ann, can
you tell us the name of your newest book and a little bit about it?
The title is: A Black and White Tale by Ann Fahl and Jacquie
Scuitto This little book
tells a story about my cat named Oreo. There has been a cat in my
life, every day since I was born! So it was a natural thing, that
this very graphic black and white cat should become a part of my
artwork. I only meant to make one quilt about her, but as you will
see there are now 22 quilts featuring Oreo. I don’t know how it
happened. Each of the 34 quilts pictured in the book are
mine. The accompanying verse was written by Jacquie Scuitto, The
Quilt Muse, from Vermont. This is a fun book designed for quilters
and cat lovers of all ages. When the story line about Oreo
concludes, the remaining pages include interesting facts and
stories about the creation of each of the quilts. When does it come
out? Right now the pages have been printed and are at the bindery.
Any minute now, the books will be delivered. What gave you the idea
to do a book like this? In 2005, I had made several quilts with
Oreo as the star. I created a little 10 page book with a
little story to go along with it. I printed and bound the
book myself and gave them to my friends for Christmas. This was
such a success that I thought I would try to have a larger version
of this book published. After several rejections, I realized
I needed more of the book to present in future submissions. I knew
of Jacquie’s verse from all of her postings on the Quilt/Art list.
She agreed to create a story line using my existing quilts.
It was great; it added a wonderful lyrical component to the
story After many new
submissions and rejections I put the book aside. In the meantime, I
wrote Dancing with Thread about free-motion machine quilting, for
C&T Publishing. Along the way, there were several new
quilts that needed to be added, and Jacquie worked on some
additions to the story line. The project got its biggest boost from
my friend and graphic artist Sally Miller; she asked how my cat
book was doing? Then she said that she would help me design
the book. So the cat book was back on my list of important things
to do. I became a publisher and Sally became a book designer.
In February, the digital files went to the printer and now
nearing the end of March the book will become a reality. What
inspired you initially to start making cat themed quilts? When did
you make your first one? In 2001 I made Broken Teapot. Get your
handkerchiefs ladies, this is a sad tale: When my children
were young I purchased and used an expensive teapot. Due to my own
clumsiness, I broke the teapot in the sink, with the top unharmed.
I saved my money and purchased a new one in the same pattern. By
then Oreo had come to live with us. Being the independent
unmannerly feline that she is, she jumped up on the counter (which
is not allowed,) knocking the new teapot to the floor, breaking it
into pieces, leaving the top unharmed. Now I have 2 lids for
an expensive teapot. Years later, I put this story up on the
web, saying “Anyone needing a Villeroy and Bach teapot lid, please
contact me.” Well a nice man from Canada did. He had
just broken the lid to his wife’s teapot, would mine fit? So I sent
him one lid, and got him “out of the doghouse.” He sent a donation
in Oreo’s name to the Humane Society of America. I still have
one lid left. Anyone need one? How many quilts are featured
in the book? 22 cat quilts and 12 more with various themes.Link to
pic oreo with book cover:

Seems to have
Oreo's approval!

How did
the idea of pairing the quilts with poetry come to you? One of my
favorite authors is Dr. Seuss. As a young girl my favorite story
was Bartholomew and the Oobleck. I have always enjoyed how
Jacquie put her words together in a similar fashion, and it just
was a perfect fit with my vision of the future book. Some of
the days during the design phase were anxious ones for me. Things
like; how to get an ISBN number, a barcode, applying for a
copyright from the Library of Congress, making sure everything was
in the correct format for the printer, and the cost involved with
printing and binding made me crazy. For reassurance, I would
go to my “working copy” of the book, and read through the entire
verse. This would always calm me, because for me, it would
reinforce the fact that this was a great project. I know every
quilter out there will enjoy the book. How different was it from
your other books to create? This is a book to enjoy, rather than a
project book with lengthy instructions. My job was to
coordinate all the different segments of design, quilts, text and
production, so my idea became a reality. There were no lengthy
how-to pages. I understand you are publishing it yourself, how was
that process? Scary yet invigorating; combined with sleepless
nights! Have you noticed how many quilters have pet cats? What is
there about cats and quilters? As a new quilter in the 1980’s I
came to the realization that so many quilters drank tea and liked
cats. This was contrary to the rest of the world, which at
the time drank coffee and liked dogs! As quilters all of us
are tactile people, so whether you like dogs or cats really doesn’t
matter, we love them, laugh at them, play with them and are calmed
by their closeness. What could be better than a cat purring? Oreo
purrs really loud. Link to Summer Sanctuary: Where can we to
purchase it? As publisher, I am working on this issue, but there is
little I can do until I have an actual book to send as samples to
distributors. For the quilters going to Paducah in April,
they will find my book at Artfabrik, Quilting Books Unlimited and
Caryl Bryer Fallert’s studio. Please ask your local quilt
shops and cat emporiums to order this book. Also a signed copy of
the book may be purchased from my website at http://www.annfahl.com click
on “books.” It is priced at $17.95. Anything you want to add: This
is one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on.
It has taken longer to become a reality than any quilt I have
ever worked on. The entire book evolved, in just the same way
that a new quilt emerges, trying ideas, one at a time, to find the
right fit. But this project, my investment in time, energy and
resources is much greater. It seems that everything in the
world is going crazy. Right now, we need something in our lives
that is positive and uplifting. This book is both those
things. The most important question, Does Oreo like it? Oreo seems
unaffected by her current fame, as she is continually pictured in
all my lectures. She spends her time sitting in the sun, licking
her paws, napping and occasionally tearing around the house like a
herd of elephants. At this time, she is not prepared to release a
statement about the book itself!

Summer Sanctuary

Ann Fahl
Quilt Artist Author of Coloring with Thread, DVD, Dancing with
Thread A Black and White Tale Creating Beautiful Bias Binding www.annfahl.com http://annfahl.blogspot.com

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2 replies

  1. A lovely interview with my co-author! As Ann said, this has been a years long project and we are both very happy to have finally been able to produce the book. I hope that it will be enjoyed by quilters and cat lovers of all ages.

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