Book Review – Textile Folk Art


Mr X Stitch Book Review

Published by Batsford, ‘Textile Folk Art’ has been written by Anne Kelly, who has written / co-authored a couple of books in the past. She is also a well respected teacher and has had exhibitions at The Knitting and Stitching shows in recent years. Lets take an inside view of her latest publication …..
Introduction

Across world history, no matter where we go, we see examples of folk art. We can learn a lot about a country by its traditions and this often includes samplers and traditional crafts. This book has been designed to convey to us how we ourselves can create our own ‘heirlooms’, yet will it inspire us to apply our own narratives to make craft pieces?
Who is the book for?

The inside cover promises to ‘show how practitioners of all kinds can draw from folk art for making and inspiration’. Far from being a ‘how-to’ visual guide, this publication seems to strongly convey through imagery its messages. So if you are looking for a step by step guide alone, this is not for you. The weight has been put on capturing what may be inspirational….


Content

Kelly has divided the book into five main sections, as well as the usual introduction and conclusion.

We enjoyed the connections made between traditional folk art and contemporary interpretations; often to be observed across the page from each other or next to each other on the same page…..

Traditional samples are illustrated……..
…in close proximity to modern depictions

What makes it special?

We loved how the back page area attributes all the other artists involved, as many are mentioned throughout the book. This seemed a nice way to include them as a strong part of this books story and creation:

Artist appreciation

There are many quirky items illustrated throughout, which really opens up our imagination…

Folk art doesn’t have to be flat, it can be whatever we choose…even in a bed form!

Young designers and those who have not long since graduated can find it difficult to get ‘seen’ in the art world. It was nice to see a few chosen to be included within this book…it makes us slightly jealous!

Ellie Macdonald and Laura Marriot have been given a page each.

Photography

The imagery as previously said, is the strongest aspect of this book. Rich and textured, it begs us to create our own.

More sculptural folk art, we didn’t think we would see it in the form of arks, but yes here it is.

Oh…spoilers….look out for the quirky shed (detailed near the back of this publication!).
What is wrong with the book?

As said, this is no step by step crafters companion. So if you buy it thinking it is…you may be disappointed. However this publication goes across age and ability levels, it proves to be the ‘picture book’ for the artist. A tool to feed our creativity, not a coaxing, controlling manual; this is a guide for our brains.

That being said, there are projects scattered through the book, so we don’t lose out in any way. It just doesn’t feel the ‘centre of attention’.

Dotted projects drip feed us…

Conclusion

Our review has only touched on a few aspects of this book, there is much more to explore and discover.

In the literal conclusion to this book, Kelly confides ‘my goal in writing this book is to highlight some of the everyday, simple and folk influences that can inspire textile artists’. In this digitally literate world, we can often get so wrapped up in ‘filtering’ our imagery that the image, or item we are showcasing gets lost. Kelly reminds us that our stitching time is a gift to be ‘treasured’ – a sobering lesson in this airbrushed age; yet maybe reading this book will help us discover the joy in the slow side of creating again. What is our heritage? What is our culture? Will Kelly’s representation drive us to discover our own? We certainly hope so!

Catch your copy of Textile Folk Art via our link here.


xAilish
As a freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor (how do I narrow down that description?!) I have been contracted by numerous arts organizations to provide Talks, Workshops’ and Masterclasses’ in Textiles, Print Making and Fine Art subjects.  These include branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild, Textile Study Groups and The Women’s Institute.  Every year I teach at The Knitting and Stitching shows and exhibit with the Artist in Action stand. I had my first solo exhibition in March 2016 and have been part of numerous group exhibitions.  Currently I am columnist for textile art publication “Be Creative with Workbox”; having also written articles or had work illustrated in Stitch, Inspired, Embroidery, Selvedge, Daphne’s Diary, Prima (online), Cloth Paper Scissors and the Batsford book ‘Be Creative with Textile Art.'
xAilish

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