Embroidery Atelier- Visions and Passions by Sue Rangeley
Published by Textile Atelier Books www.textie-atelier.com
Sue Rangeley is a master embroiderer whose career dates back to the 1970s when she created embroidered pieces for fashion designer Bill Gibb (her first choker was created for his winter collection in 1977). Her signature style is of delicate machine-embroidered florals produced to couture standards.
Sue previously published her book Embroidered Originals (d4daisy books) in 2010 and has now followed it up with Embroidery Atelier. It expands on the work previously showcased and introduces new work on a series of themes.
This book is divided into 4 sections – the 1960s, the past, nature and Places. Sue then explores each theme using ephemera, music, sketches and memories to develop and execute her finished pieces. They incorporate flowers, tendrils, leaves and lichen, heavily embroidered in dazzling colour palettes. Part of the development of the work is to share her Studio Techniques, which are summarized in their own chapter with photographs to illustrate. The joy of having a book like this is to look more closely at how the work is created and this is a great addition. Throughout the book, we see further glimpses of her studio practice, through her own floral artwork and fashion designs and works in progress. There is a plethora of threads in a range of colours and she refers to ‘A gorgeous spectrum of purple in over thirty spools of fine embroidery threads awaits’ which shows how complex and layered the stitching is.
Along the way, we are given an insight into how Sue works. She works in a romantic world which is reflected in her prose and sits perfectly with the softness and fragility of her embroidery. She muses on why times past, people and places interest her and we see that Sue has a wealth of artistic and historical knowledge which all come together in her work.
The work is exquisitely photographed by Michael Wicks and some of the larger couture garments are laid across a double-page spread so you can see more detail. Detail shots from all angles allow you see the pieces in 3D and appreciate how they are constructed in fine detail.
When I first read Embroidered Originals when it was published in 2010, it was like stepping into a fairytale world of ethereal beauty. I remember poring over the flowers in frosted tones and marvelling at the stitching and beading. It was enchanting. As a companion piece, this book takes the wonder and runs with it, providing ample opportunity for close inspection. The themes will resonate with many readers as universally appealing, but my particular favourite was Sue’s interpretation of the Swinging Sixties. That period of time was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau and Modernism which I find fascinating and for Sue to refer to people and times that are of particular interest drew me in. There have been several exhibitions celebrating this period of time (Mary Quant at the V&A; Beautiful People: the Boutique in 1960s Counterculture, Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution, both at the Fashion & Textile Museum) that I have enjoyed and so to see this period of time interpreted by Sue was joyful.
For those of you who have Embroidered Originals, both books together will make a great pair. If you buy into William Morris’s adage about having nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful, then this book will fit right in.
wwwTo buy Embroidery Atelier from Sue Rangeley's website, please click here
All work is by Sue Rangeley and all photos are by Michael Wicks unless otherwise stated
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