books and things

The Living Mountain

A beautifully written study of living in and with nature. With a forward by Robert McFarlane. 

Artists in Wales

A major academic reference work, which no lover of the visual arts and the crafts in Wales can be without. The first illustrated book with profiles of nearly 1400 visual and applied artists/makers working in traditional and new media in Wales over the last sixty years. Brief, authoritative biographies with 300 illustrations, in colour and black and white. A scholarly introductory essay by artist and art historian Dr Ivor Davies sets the context.

Natural Processes in Textile ArtA new book by artist Alice Fox that is essential reading if you are interested in using natural materials and processes in your work. I am in there on p53.

This is Alice’s first book for a major publisher, featuring many of the techniques she uses in her work and including the work of other international textile artists. More and more textile artists are using natural processes in their work, from dyeing with rust to working with found and scavenged items, and this book is the first to bring these increasingly popular techniques together. It promotes a way of working creatively with what is close at hand, whether gathered on walks by the seashore or collected in your garden, and working in tune with natural processes, bringing the rhythms and unpredictability of nature into your work. Examples of this type of working include rust dyeing embroidered fabric to give it a natural patina, dyeing with gathered leaves or seaweed, weaving with beachcombed fibre and printing with found objects. In all of this work nature is directly harnessed to make its mark. The book is illustrated with the finest examples of contemporary embroidery and textile-art work using nature, by artists whose practice is tied up with their experience of and respect for the natural environment, often capturing a very strong sense of place and a feeling of calmness and contemplation.

Published by Batsford 6 August 2015.

BOOKMAKING

A beautiful collection to awe and inspire.
Keith A Smith – a comprehensive guide to making books without glue.

The information is well presented and each technique is described step by step, first in full detail, then with a pictorial diagram of the route the thread takes and then a shorter description. However you learn, there is a description to suit you.

TextilesEssential reference books by Shibori master Yoshika Wada, for Shibori techniques and references, including recipes and information for supplies.

Beautiful and easy to use reference book for natural dyeing, by Jenny Dean

InspirationThis book has been very influential to my thinking on more recent art practice:

The Reenchantment of Art describes hope for a new art, born out of a new cultural paradigm embracing a revitalized sense of community, an enlarged ecological perspective, and access to mythic and archetypal sources of spiritual life. In the course of her argument, Gablik introduces the reader to a number of figures for whom this paradigm offers a fresh approach to making art: artists such as Fern Shaffer, who performs empowerment rituals to mark the seasonal equinoxes; David T. Hanson, Andy Goldsworthy and Rachel Rosenthal, whose work attempts to heal our wounded planet; and others such as Tim Rollins, Suzanne Lacy and Mierle Laderman Ukeles who address the gravest social issues.

He first Walked the Line the year I was born. Land art, sculpture, photography, printmaking, books and more, to inspire and rejuvenate.

In the nature of things:
Art about mobility, lightness and freedom.
Simple creative acts of walking and marking
about place, locality, time, distance and measurement.
Works using raw materials and my human scale
in the reality of landscapes.

Drawn to Stitch is a practical guide to the uses of line in embroidery and textile art, presented as a series of exercises designed to help the reader explore line’s potential and develop their creativity. It covers line and mark-making tools, materials and processes – including printing and mixed-media techniques – and then moves into stitch, explaining how to interpret different line qualities from crisp and sharp to soft and diffused, from raised and overlaid to recessed and inlaid. Full of inspiring ideas, the book is illustrated with stunning examples of stitched-textile work.

The Original and the best…

This book has been around since 1978 in one form or another, and it dates from the days when making a garment from scratch was quite usual. Even so, it doesn’t assume you already know the basics, and explains even the simpler things really well, so it is a superb buy for someone looking to go into proper dressmaking or designing their own clothes. Use this book and you can produce properly made, couture-quality clothes at home. Or run up something for the kids using a remnant. It’s your choice. The main part of the text takes you, step by step, through every aspect of making a garment, including cutting and fitting your own patterns, from underlying principles to finishing touches. There is guidance, with excellent diagrams, to all the processes involved. There are garments to make, too, with the patterns shown as diagrams for you to scale up to full size on paper.
Because the clothes are designed from first principles, the book hasn’t dated; in fact, many of the 1970s clothes featured are exactly what is in the shops at the moment, which is amusing! I would recommend this book very highly indeed to anyone interested in learning to design, in taking their sewing skills beyond the basics in most recent books, or especially in following the “new thriftiness” by adapting and altering clothes or making something new from something old.

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