The new book retains the essence of WOW with tutorials from leading textile artists, an interview with the Gods of Textiles, Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn (below) and Product reviews, now incarnated as ‘Hero’ Products which give you an in-depth review of specific items (this time water-soluble fabrics). For those people who love to hold a book, it’s a great opportunity to peer closely at Michael Wicks’ stunning photography and there is more of a feature made of the contributing artists, including a page for each to introduce them and their work.
The strength of the book is the focus on tutorials by the artists. It takes a personal approach with them talking about their work and inspiration as well as the process of how they create. The artists demystify their often simple processes which combine to produce wonderfully complex work. Hilary Beattie, always a favourite, is teaching the process of making your own fabric for a hanging. Hilary’s voice is like a warm hug, there to reassure you in your choices and guiding you all the way.
Caroline Bell’s exquisite eco-printing and lamination creates spectacular end results. Laura Edgar talks about her colour palette, inspiration and how she tackles each stage of work to create her atmospheric landscapes.
Maggie Grey’s vessel has a bit of everything – step by steps for more involved techniques and ways of taking the process further. Angie Hughes’ work is compelling and she creates a rich, textured organic piece building on several techniques that are melded together and reveal hidden treasures the closer you look. All wonderful.
The products section focus on water soluble is well chosen as it’s something that most of us are likely to have but may not feel comfortable navigating around the possibilities of the many different brands and varieties. Amo House walks us through all of this and there’s a great selection of different work from her delicate cobweb scarf, Glynda Morrison’s felted waistcoat to Maggie’s crocheted sample for a waistcoat of her own.
I’m slightly biased about the interview with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn as it was one I did myself. Having done interviews for WoW for several years, this was one of the most interesting (and daunting) as there isn’t anyone in the textile world who hasn’t heard of them. They talk about their past, present and future work as well as their work as Joint Presidents of the Embroiderers’ Guild in the UK.
Stalwarts of Workshop on the Web won’t be disappointed by the new look of WoW. The articles are less structured in the book but this suits the approach of the artists to their work and allows a more personal element to join the fray. We hear more about what motivates them to create and how they go about it, which for those always intrigued by the processes and thinking behind creative souls, is a great bonus. There is more content online for those that have bought the book and so it sets to be a very inspirational venture for the WoWbook team.