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.
Check out our BookShop affiliate link at the end of this post – buy from BookShop and support independent bookshops!
Embroidering the Everyday: Found Stitch Paint is written by Cas Holmes and published by Batsford.
With its velvet tough hardback cover and poignant content, will we connect?
Pre CO-VID19 this book would have not come into exitance, its content not there to be inspired by in the first place and thus written about. Yet the pandemic happened and Cas Holmes as an experienced and celebrated textile practitioner shows through visual evidence how we can move forward and use what we have, not what we have to travel far and wide to glean. Within this textile art publication, she heads a new way of working, a new way of thinking and living our artistic existence out to the full. This makes for ground breaking content, one which we can all take on board.
About the Author
Knowing Cas Holmes personally and having read all her previous publications, allows us to proclaim her celebrated status as a textile artist / practitioner. She is known not only as an author, rather a tutor and exhibitor. She has also written for many magazines and you will find her at many a textile art show, such as The Knitting and Stitching Show and The Festival Of Quilts.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
Maybe you are a Holmes fan anyway, or maybe she is a new name to you. Whatever the case this book has wide appeal as it discusses textile art, mixed media, dyeing….it covers a range of subjects and nothing is too complex to take on board. There is plenty of relatable content, garden inspiration being just one.
The book has been divided into several sections, as we can see:
Nothing unusual to note, however it is the content inside the chapters which holds the exciting discoveries…..
‘Timely’ is a word most poignant here. It has taken a while for publications to be written and filter through which touch on our new ways of living. For those of us who have adapted to new patterns and ways of working, we can certainly relate to this book. Holmes herself has obviously gone through this same situation, lock-down meaning that home is suddenly the place of interest. Many of us neglect what is literally under our noses. This publication will help us all to think further about what is possible locally, delving into history, walks near by and even the good old kitchen cupboards!
Lets take the example of nature, something we all have around us, just in different ways…
No matter where we live, we all have something we can do locally to see nature, be it a walk or our own garden. Without giving us too much of a prescribed task list, she guides us through processes we can adapt ourselves to our own locality.
Take the example above. A tree, shadows, the ability to draw or create prints….all within our local circumstances.
It is worth noting that Holmes does not simply draw upon her own thoughts and works, she generously introduces us to fellow practitioners and showcases their work. This gives the book a balanced and rounded out feel.
The modern age rears its head right from the beginning, note the QR code to discover more…
This addition may seem like a small thing, but it really does show how Cas is moving with the digital age we live in, bringing this book right into our digital age.
The photography is sublime throughout, again showcasing the rise from the pandemic we have lived through.
The above image showcases the beautiful outcomes possible from recording the nature around us. We are encouraged to look at the seasons and record the changes, celebrating these small but meaningful things. We love the mix of drawing and sketchbook work here, which all ties together to create visual fuel for us. What will be our interpretation of nature?
We particularly liked how some images had been edited to bring forward the content within. White backgrounds really help us to focus on the piece of textile art.
What Makes The Book Special?
As previously touched upon, the book hits a niche market, it provides a hope which maybe only those who are artistically inclined can fully grasp; that no matter where we are and even if we almost feel like me are in our own isolation, we can find joy in the moment, in the light of the day, the small things can and should matter.
Going right back to the beginning on page six of this book we come to the Foreword written by Deena Beverley who also contributes to the book. Her comments endear us and connect us to the book and its author, before we even begin. Cas brings a special quality to her writing and this is highlighted by Beverley’s comments….’An innate acceptance and even celebration of life’s imperfections is apparent throughout Cas’s approach.’ It takes a special artist to see ‘the world…in a grain of sand and heaven found in a wild flower’….we believe that when you grasp your own copy of this book, you will be taking on new values and new pathways of discovery, a new special way of seeing the beautiful.
Anything Wrong With The Book?
We checked the content, we checked the images….nope nothing negative found. No matter who we are, we cannot deny the promotion of finding beautiful things in the everyday.
So, what will start our pathway out of this book….where will we take what we learn? Will it be the view from our window? The kitchen cupboard? The garden? Look inside yourself and begin your own everyday….