At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
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Here’s what we think of Cloth Doll Faces by Ray Slater.
Ray Slater is an internationally known doll maker, and in this book she generously shares all of her secrets about how to create fabulous faces in cloth. It covers a huge selection of advice to bring your home sewn dolls to life with amazing personalities.
About the author
Ray studied Embroidered Textiles, and Theatre Costume before going on to work in film and television. She is now one of the UK’s leading teachers of dollmaking, a skill she teaches all over the globe.
Who is this book aimed at?
This is a very good question with this book. I can’t quite decide – in a good way. On first look at the cover I thought you would probably not pick it up if you are not already a doll maker or if you are not artistic in terms of drawing. But once I began looking through the book I realised I was wrong as you are taught the techniques required in the book.
It is about much more than faces as well, as Ray talks you through the whole doll making process in such a way that I feel I could definitely give it a go myself. So I’d say if you like to make dolls or want to give it a go, no matter what your skill level, this is definitely a great book for you.
This book is absolutely jam packed with creative helpful information. It is 144 pages long and I can’t help thinking that a less generous author would have definitely spread the content over two books to make more money.
The book talks you through the materials, tools and fabrics, then moves into an inspiration section before taking you to design and techniques. And it is so well illustrated the whole way through with pictures of various types of faces, noses, lips, eyes, skin tones, the lot.
And it doesn’t end with faces as Ray has even put chapters in the back which talk you through basic doll making techniques so your creation has something to hold it’s glamorous head high on.
Just beautiful. The completed faces Ray shows us in the book are spectacular and photographed really well. From Papillon who is inspired by the beauty of butterflies, to Sir Arthur McArthur the medieval knight.
The book also includes step by step photos of most of the techniques explained in the book as well as illustrations to talk you through procedures. I think it has captured the face making process fantastically.
What makes this book special?
I think the thing that makes this book special to me is just how generous Ray has been with her knowledge. It is clear that she is holding nothing back as she wants you to become as good at this art as she is. Her passion drips off every page.
Anything wrong with the book?
I can’t really fault this book at all. It is educational and inspirational and that’s exactly what I want from any craft book I pick up.
Well, the main conclusion is that I now need to find the time to make the doll I’ve been inspired to make, but that’s another story.
The word I keep wanting to use about this book is ‘generous’ so I’ll use it again – Ray is just so generous, she has given away countless bits of information that she could so easily have kept to herself.
As a total novice this book makes me feel really inspired to do something that I never thought I could even contemplate, I can only imagine the pure joy it would bring to a seasoned doll maker. Top marks from me.