Stitched Textiles: Nature
Published by Search Press
Price £15.99/ US$24.95
I am biased. I love the work of Stephanie Redfern and I think she is a wonderful artist. So despite the tardiness of my review (this book was published in 2018), I wholeheartedly embrace the delight that Stephanie has published a book on her work and approach. I'm thrilled to get the chance to review it.
Stephanie’s work is notable for her use of paper, painted and marked, fabric, stitch and poetry that can be found in her wall hung pieces and art books. These meet to create uniquely beautiful, complex surfaces with a minimalist aesthetic. The book captures the essence of her approach to mixed-media through an exploration of her art practice and process.
Often, the preparation stages described in many textile books are a way in to the projects or tutorials but Stephanie’s introduction to her techniques and processes are a valuable part of the book. Her approach to each piece of work is so artful and this is reflected in the development of ideas that are shown. Each step along the way is a lesson in composition and arrangement but laid out in such a clear way that it is presented as a user-friendly and inspiring way to work. If you are looking for inspiration on how to start a sketchbook or develop your own ideas, then this is perfect (and you haven’t even got to the projects at this point). There are some great tips about how to get yourself started – using a photo library to select images, using images you like, sketching out ideas and leading to design sheets. All these ideas and seeing how Steph approaches and presents them gives you ample inspiration on how to get started. What stands out is that you are encouraged in a practical and straightforward way – start with something you like, choose elements to develop, find a colour palette that works, don’t overcomplicate the design and preparation. All this will help a piece to move forward without you overwhelming yourself.
As you get to the Projects, these are based on the broad theme of Nature but have a great range. Each one chooses a different topic presented in a different way – seahorses in a wallhanging, butterflies in a scroll book, a book of birds and Collections of beetles or fossils. Steph has a unique way of presenting her work and the way she cuts her collage elements make flowers, leaves and trees pop out of the page. My favourite element of design in the book is the sun featured in Light and Shade II. It is a small part of a stunning piece featuring a bird based on a Lady Amherst’s pheasant that has been composed in such a beautiful way (cut, stitched and embellished), that despite not being the focal point of the piece, it catches the eye and nestles in the brain. That is what you get with so much of Steph’s work – the little details that could stand alone as piece of art but sit quietly, waiting to be discovered.
I love Steph’s work and am thrilled that I now have something else to pore over when I’m needing some inspiration.
I have created a gallery in a new blog post with photos of Steph’s work that I have taken in past exhibitions. Please click here to get there or look in my Blog posts.