Textile Landscape

Textile Art Book Reviews

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.

Introduction

Textile Landscape:  Painting with Cloth in Mixed Media by Cas Holmes.

This is the latest insight into her exceptional world, where mixed media meet fabric and embroidery. Having already written and co-written books, does this one live up to the high standard she has previously showcased?

About The Author

Cas Holmes is interested in connecting land, place and environment. Trained in fine art, her work combines mixed media with found materials and stitch and is best described as ‘painting with cloth’.

She has a website and an instagram account as well as a facebook presence.

She teaches through many organisations, including West Dean College and has been featured by websites such as Textile Artist.

Check out her website for exhibition news and more detail of her work.

Who Is This Book Aimed At?

Anyone with an interest in Mixed Media, Textiles, Print Making or even the bored Fine Artist, wanting a new idea for their skill toolbox. I feel it has a good all round appeal as a creative guide for students and experianced artists alike. Due to this books theme, which is very much nature driven, it will attract those who truly love being inspired by the world around us, including its beautiful scenery.

Content

The title gives the content theme away, however this is one publication which cannot be judged by it’s name.  Holmes manages to defy our traditional views on landscapes and present a whole new approach with exciting results.

Lets have a look at a few examples as evidence…

A glimpse into the contents.  There are seven main sections, each with sub-sections.
A glimpse into the contents.  There are seven main sections, each with sub-sections.

There is a mix of the informative and the practical.  Some pages deal more with the history surrounding this subject, while others are more skill related, for example, the areas dealt with in the sections ‘Cloth, Colour and Mark’.

I like how Homes uses the word ‘cloth’ throughout. Yes its an obvious material to use in Textile Art. However in her hands, it has a real extra special quality, as through this book we will see cloth being dyed, ripped, incorporated with other mixed media, used to print on, stitch on, embellish.

She generously reveals so many ideas for us to try ourselves and none feel too hard or complicated to trial. This brings me to another highlight, her voice as a tutor through this book. We can observe how experienced she is by the way she has written the book; a natural teacher. This isn’t always easy to put across in a book, but she has nailed it.

She explains everything, things which are not Textile related but are required for the painting and dyeing side of things which she explores through this book.

Practical, even down to the basics of colour mixing.
Practical, even down to the basics of colour mixing.

We loved how Holmes doesn’t just give us examples of how she herself has tackled the subject of Landscapes, she uses a variety of other artists too, using a mix of quotes and examples of their work. I see this as a strong point of this book, this ties in well with her own work examples, which she has explored in her own personal way.  Yes, she can talk from personal experience, as observed on page 62 where we learn about the Edges of Australia; but she doesn’t ‘talk at’ us, she guides us, so that we really learn – a clear sign of a good tutor!

Mixed media techniques, such as printing with blocks and other methods are taught:

Making tutorials. We learn how to Screen Print and even how to create 'Stitch-Print Plates'.
In the section ‘Painting with Cloth’ Holmes guides us through a few Mixed Media and Print Making tutorials. We learn how to Screen Print and even how to create ‘Stitch-Print Plates’.

Because Holmes works in both Textiles and Print Making / Mixed Media, we are getting so much more than a book relating to simply fabric based Textiles.  We love how she doesn’t create a skill ‘divide’ as it were, categorising Painting and Textiles as separate worlds – she shows in practice how they can naturally be married together.

What Makes This Book Special?

Holmes encourages us to get out and discover the Landscape for ourselves.  The examples she gives us are great templates to follow, but it is up to us to take this inspiration and interoperate it in our personal way.

Photography

Generously, she has included many other artists within this volume.  This is helpful, as it means that there is a wider scope to be inspired by (a list of the ones included is printed at the back, so we can easily access the artists websites for further viewing).  Imagery of the artists work is dotted right through the book……..

Imagery whether the artists own or another artists is first class quality. This example is by Jane Fairweather.
Imagery whether the artists own or another artists is first class quality. This example is by Jane Fairweather.
'Scripts' which have been wrapped around syringes are detailed beautifully .  One of Cas Holmes' own pieces.
‘Scripts’ which have been wrapped around syringes are detailed beautifully .  One of Cas Holmes’ own pieces.

What is wrong with the book?

Nothing. We found it very difficult to choose which bits were the highlights to include in this review.  It is impossible to decide on the priorities, the content is all so valuable!  Holmes covers so much – yet this can only be a positive – Cas you cause us problems!

Conclusion 

In the actual conclusion of this book, Holmes recalls a personal example of a time when someone viewed her work and questioned how a Textile artist could ‘do’ Landscape.

Does this book give us evidence of how this is possible?

Absolutely, in Holmes own words ‘Yes, Textile artists do ‘do Landscape’ and many other things besides’.

Maybe this will be the book to open up your views and challenge your own approach…give it a go!

Textile Landscape by Cas Holmes is available to purchase right here!


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