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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
God's Gift Within: The Story of the Joshua Quilt is a nonfiction Christian living/crafts book written by Gail Howard Gibson. Gibson’s interview with Marylee MacDonald forms the framework for this book. Gibson is an artist, homemaker, lifelong quilter and keynote speaker, who also was the primary caregiver for her mother for 14 years. As her husband’s job required frequent relocations, she also became adept at juggling children, mom and moving all in one fell swoop. Gibson learned about quilting from her mother, grandmother and aunts as she was growing up, and she had always been close to God and an avid reader of the Bible. Somehow, amidst the chaos of life, God inspired her to use her creative gifts integrally with her devotions. When she was asked to create a quilt based on The Book of Joshua, she began by thinking about the 12 tribes of Israel and wondered how she could represent them in her work. She came up with a plan to use colors, fabrics and quotes from scripture to have her quilt tell its story. Gibson felt inspired by the Holy Spirit as she worked, and she discovered in her an artistic spirit she had always longed for but never fully realized before.
God's Gift Within: The Story of the Joshua Quilt was of particular interest to me because of Gibson’s work as a creative textile artist. Textile arts are frequently overlooked, and while my own use of those arts involves weaving wire and metal, Gibson’s quilts represented something reverential, exciting and different. While quilts have long enjoyed collector status because of their loveliness and craftsmanship, Gibson’s approach is that of an authentic artist who uses her canvas creatively, in the case of this quilt, to present The Book of Joshua to anyone who beheld her work. I was most inspired by her story, and how she found the time and those spare stolen moments to make this project actually come to life. I especially appreciated how the chance to meet Dr. Mikhael in just a few weeks time actually provided that last bit of impetus needed to put the finishing touches on her work. Her quilt is inspiring indeed; her use of color, fabric and texture all contributes magnificently to the overall effect of the artwork. The additional touches of the stars stitched throughout the work adds dimension and depth, and I’d be surprised if there aren’t any number of quilters and artists lining up to work under Gibson’s mentorship. God's Gift Within: The Story of the Joshua Quilt is most highly recommended.