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 of The Textile Artist: Expressive Stitches: A ‘No-Rules’ Guide to Creating Original Textile Art written by Jan Dowson, published by SEARCHPRESS.
The Textile Artist: Expressive Stitches delves into the creative process of collecting and storing natural items, exploring pattern, texture, media and mark-making to cultivate the final design. Dyeing, embellishing and stamping transform fabrics into vibrant, textured artworks using a combination of traditional hand stitching, machine stitching, and other media. A step-by step guide of techniques explores Jan’s stitched landscape, memory cloths and bird sculptures. Each project includes a break down of materials, tools and techniques providing inspiration for your own textile artwork.
About the Author
Jan Dowson is an artist and award-winning textile art tutor with over 20 years of teaching experience in the UK. She won the Beryl Dean National Teaching Award in 2015 and was the 2014/15 winner of the UK’s City and Guild’s Gold Medal of Excellence. She holds workshops and talks around the UK, including the Embroiderers’ Guild’s summer school, and exhibits frequently. You can visit her here Jan Dowson: Award-Winning Textile Art Tutor & Artist | Stitchery Stories | Embroidery & Textile Art Podcast and here (20+) Jan Dowson – Textile Artist/Teacher | Facebook
Who is this book aimed at?
Anyone with an interest in arts and crafts will be impressed by the sheer volume of information on offer – creating collections, developing mark-making, techniques (not just limited to textiles), glorious pattern detail which can be used in the embellishment of clothes and interior design. A window into a lifestyle which is easily attainable with the subject of textile art translated into whatever you want it to be – from furnishing a home with treasures collected at flea markets to keeping the kids entertained through the holidays. Inspirational on many levels.
This book is a treasure of information – materials, tools, mixed media, dyeing fabrics and threads, printing, stamping and stencilling,
Creating collections, recording and making sketchbooks, exploring colour, exploratory mark-making (with the 50 square challenge) and translation into stitch.
Textile techniques include applique, free-motion embroidery, expressive hand stitches with examples of historical and world sewing. Experimental embellishments include feathers, twigs, sea glass, ceramics, driftwood and pebbles.
Jan provides a detailed guide in how to create a stitched landscape…
A memory cloth….
Developing a menagerie of realistic 3D birds…..
With such varied, colourful and detailed images accompanying Jan’s step by step guides throughout, this really is a delight to adorn any coffee table, giving insight into the inner workings of an artists occupation.
What makes this book special?
It is user friendly, easy to dip in and out of with enthusiasm, packed with information to explore old and new skills. Some techniques are more challenging than others (eg. using a sewing machine) but it allows newcomers to experiment without making a ‘mistake’. Exploring is part of the process in developing a love of craft.
Anything wrong with the book?
No! is the simple answer. I adore this book because it is so full of ideas which can be applied to the home and kids as well as creating textile art. It certainly inspired me when I was feeling a bit lost during the pandemic. Texture on a page.
Get your copy from The Textile Artist: Expressive Stitches: A ‘No-Rules’ Guide to Creating Original Textile Art (bookshop.org) and support local bookshops.