Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Art Canadian

No Ordinary Magic

The Art of Laurie Swim

by (author) Carol Bruneau

by (artist) Laurie Swim

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Canadian, Textile & Costume, Women Artists
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Shortlisted, APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

Laurie Swim is an artist of extraordinary range and vision. For more than forty years, she has been among the most capable and passionate practitioners of textile art.

In her chosen art form, Swim captures the essence of the seacoast. For the ocean, she works with silk, pulling stitches until they pucker to create gentle ripples. For vegetation and seaweed, she combines quilting, embroidery, painting, dyeing, and other seemingly opposing techniques.

As award-winning writer Carol Bruneau suggests in No Ordinary Magic, it’s not only Swim’s unconventional use of materials that is distinctive, it’s her gift for narrative that makes her art both resonant and endlessly intriguing. In this retrospective volume, Bruneau explores Swim’s history, her defiance of convention, and her reinvention of quilts as paintings-made-of-fabric. The result is a profound exploration of Swim’s sometimes monumental yet astonishingly intimate work.

About the authors

Carol Bruneau's most recent title from Cormorant Books is Glass Voices. She is also the author of Berth. Her novel Purple For Sky (Cormorant, 2000) won the City of Dartmouth Fiction Prize and the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, Depth Rapture and After the Angel Mill, both published by Cormorant Books. She has taught creative writing in the continuing education departments of Mount St.Vincent University and Nova Scotia Community College; she is now on faculty of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, where she teaches writing. Carol lives in Halifax with her husband and three sons.

Carol Bruneau's profile page

Laurie Swim has worked as an artist for forty years, developing unique and innovative treatments to fashion her imagery in textiles with fabric and thread. She is the author of five books, including The Joy of Quilting (with an introduction by Alex Colville), Quilting, Rags to Riches: The Quilt as Art (with an introduction by Mary Pratt), and a children’s book entitled Hope and Survival on the Halifax Explosion.

Swims's works grace many private and public collections, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Art Bank, Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council, the City of Toronto Art Collection, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

Laurie Swim's profile page


  • Short-listed, APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“Impressively informative and a pure pleasure to simply browse through in full appreciation of a truly gifted textile media artist.”

<i>Midwest Book Review</i>

Related lists