Criss-Crossing Paris by Fiona Sinclair and Sally-Anne Hayes
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. Here’s what we think in a nutshell.
Illustrator and designer Fiona Sinclair is Creative Director of Fiona Sinclair Designs, an online shop that sells a range of illustrated homewares. She is also a graphic designer for Visual Communication Victoria, producing illustration and design resources for teachers.
Sally-Anne Hayes is a regular visitor to Paris. . In 2013 Sally bought and restored an apartment in Ile St Louis, Paris. We are so not jealous – nope.
Who’s it for?
Obviously the Cross Stitch enthusiast, however speaking as someone who has had less of an interest in this art form….I would wager that this book would gather interest from the Watercolourist to the Embroiderer. It would make a non “cross-stitcher” cross stitch!
There is an introduction section, where we discover how to use the book and a little background info on the writers.
Even the contents page is beautiful….
A few pages in, this book opens with the words:
‘Travel takes courage – a willingness to experience, to celebrate the adventure. our cross-stitch illustrations are born of this. They are not typical counted-thread designs; they are cross-stitch interpretations of Parisian moments captured in a photo.’
We learn a little about the authors in this early section, both having their own interpretations of the city and memories of it. One of the writers has an apartment there, thus the material we read about in the book has a fresh ongoing feel.
Patterns and Instructions
Is this a diary? A memoir? A textile instruction book? Or maybe a mix? Whatever you want to classify it as; the instruction section is just as well presented and thoughtfully planned as the rest.
I love how each pattern comes with background information on the source image. This isn’t your tourist map of Paris, made in that everlasting tacky form – each image used is “Instagram worthy”; the type we would all be bragging about – yet seen here in a new fabric format.
Many of the images are personal to the writers – this lends itself to our curious nature our desire to understand more about what we are stitching.
Staging and Stylising
The thought which has gone into the photography puts the artistic barrier high. Parisian style frames and materials have been used within each image to convey to the reader how their cross stitch pieces can be used. A good mix of the vintage thrown in too; portraying that shabby chic look:
Its not just imagery we get instructions to play with – more practical projects are conjectured too, such as this text one. Photographed as a bag, we then get to see it has real use – not just a frame worthy piece.
Final sections – Anything wrong with the book?
Not that we can think of – Nothing is left to chance. Advice on making up the projects is given, along with a stitch glossary.
Overall thoughts – Conclusion
As someone who has family living in Paris, I may be ever so slightly biased – but I have to say I was really drawn to this book.
The average cross stitch book leaves me a tad cold; but this has inspired me – not just to cross stitch, but to get over to Paris and paint! It’s got such an invitingly artsy feel.
There is such a mix of projects; some directly for framing, others suitable for bags, cushions and buttons – so we have plenty excuses to create.
Through this more personal view of Paris, we are invited to share their experiences, stitching them, experiencing them for ourselves.
Start your travel journey
This beauty is available to purchase here
Follow their journey on Instagram.