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 …..
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….
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…..
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:
There are many quirky items illustrated throughout, which really opens up our imagination…
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!
The imagery as previously said, is the strongest aspect of this book. Rich and textured, it begs us to create our own.
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’.
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.