You can Stitch Stories
Personal Places, Spaces and Traces in Textile Art
Published by Batsford
Price £22.50/ $29.95
The book develops an idea that was first raised in Cas’s book The Found Object in Textile Art and looks more closely at how the world around you can be a starting point to develop your creative ideas. By making a connection to people or places, it becomes a way in to building a narrative using stitch. Each chapter that follows looks at aspects of recording information, how inspiration can be seized upon, albeit from the everyday surroundings or from your travels, adding detail to your work and telling a story.
Dealing with ways of recording your travels or observations is addressed early on. We are given a wide view of the benefits of gathering information by journal, sketching, stitching, recording with digital media and mark-making. There are checklists and suggestions of how you could approach making these observations.
The book is all about finding inspiration and translating your experiences into textile art. There are some exercises and mini-workshops to do which provide a wide range of techniques to try out, including wet appliqué, low-water immersion dyeing, monoprinting, transfer paints and printing. All are presented with photos from Cas’s work, which mean there is a huge amount of fabulous surfaces that you will most likely gain a lot of inspiration from.
The exercises and tutorials are cocooned within a much broader exploration of what it is to create textile art that is meaningful to you, your community and the world. The book is infused with the ideas and thoughts of a group of textile artists, all of whom have a connection to people, places or objects and who communicate their feelings through their art. They range from a view of the world the artist sees (Anne Kelly, Noriko Endo), an affinity to the environment that develops into work over a period of time (Holly Story), recycling and upcycling (Peta Lloyd) or social activism (Mary Fisher). These are only a handful of the artists featured, and all the work is beautifully selected. The artists all have something valid and thought-provoking to say about the essence of textile art.
The subject is treated subjectively, giving thoughts and suggestions of how to start a journey of discovery by showing you the motivations and considerations of textile artists around the world in order to create a world of art in which you can find your place. It is a highly absorbing read, and I don’t think you will even break the surface after one read.
This book review can be found in the March 2015 issue of Workshop on the Web.