The Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers

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.

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Introduction

The Kew Book Of Embroidered Flowers: 11 Inspiring Projects with Reusable Iron-on Transfers published by Search Press and written by Trish Burr has been written in collaboration with Kew Gardens. It is a visually stunning book, full of floral embroidery ideas and techniques. It focuses on the recreation of original artworks from the Kew Gardens Collection.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a world-famous scientific organization and home to two elegant gardens in the South East of England – Kew Gardens in South West London and Wakehurst in West Sussex, which also houses Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. The purchase of this book actually goes towards supporting the work done by the staff there.

All the projects are taught via step-by-step images and instructions. All the transfers to replicate the designs are provided. I believe having read through this stunning, yet practical book, that it is a must-have for anyone interested in capturing flowers in thread. Let’s take a closer look.

About the Author

Trish Burr is a self-taught embroiderer who hungrily consumes all aspects of embroidery. Through in depth research and experience from practice, she has developed this individual technique of surface embroidery. She specialises in Needle painting and Whitework Embroidery and her aim is to help others to develop their embroidery skills, provide inspiration and spread the love of this beautiful art, with her first book being published in 2001. Since then nine books have been published. She believes in sustainability and makes all of her work as eco-friendly as possible. She lives in South Africa and uses the natural world around her to be a source of constant inspiration.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - Trish
Trish Burr the author.

Who is this book aimed at?

I would consider that those interested in florally based motifs with a traditional look will enjoy this book. Neat embroidery skills are taught within this publication, thread painting is very much a focal point. However for those who really do not have a clue how to start, there’s plenty of explanation by Burr to help us have direction.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - explanation
What is needle painting? Answered!

Content

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - contents
Contents page which shows how the projects have been divided.

Before the projects begin, Burr takes us through an introduction and gives helpful advice. Notice how the projects are divided into categories, so we can build and develop our skills. If you are less experienced, it is worth trying the Simple Projects first.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - Templates
Templates

The enclosed reusable iron-on transfer papers offer embroiderers a fast and accurate method of transferring the designs – the transfers simply need ironing on to fabric so that the reader can start embroidering straight away. The templates are also included at full size at the back of the book. This works well as a feature for those who are nervous about trying out there designs.

I personally found the hints and tips in this book helpful, as otherwise it might be hard to understand how to get the floral designs looking as they do in the images.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - thread substitutes
Thread substitutes with numbers are provided so we know what to purchase.

The projects are all clearly illustrated, down to the colours of thread used. Step-by-step projects enable all readers to see the development of each design.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - diagrams
Diagrams explaining each stitch step with thread colours included.

Two page spread photography makes for a beautiful view, as well as being a helpful tool.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - two page illustrations
Two page spread illustrations help us to focus on the colours and shading of the designs.

Drawn black and white diagrams set with the embroidery in progress adds to the learning side of this book.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - progress visually
The outline stitches are shown for each floral project.
Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - step by step
Another example of this visual development, to show the step-by-step diagrams.

Shading is what this book is really all about, so it takes centre stage throughout and is often pictured in the projects taught. The images make the projects achievable, if they had not been included it would be easy to look at this book and feel overwhelmed.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - shading
Shading stages save the day.

The book is not simply all about following a step-by-step diagram to create a piece of floral embroidery. Trish also explains how to mount and frame the projects once you have finished them.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - helpful finishing
Helpful finishing techniques are illustrated, so we can finish off the projects.
Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - mounting inside hoop
Mounting inside a hoop shown in action is a helpful addition.

There are of course questions we all may feel are too stupid to ask (I am including myself in this, as this type of embroidery is not my strong point!), yet the author gets there before we can, not allowing details to pass by. For example, in the image above, Burr teaches us how to secure the fabric we are using inside the embroidery hoop.

The tools checklist is captured visually as well as in text.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - tools illustrated
Tools and a explanation of what they are and why they are needed.

Photography

Well photographed designs and finished embroideries make the projects seem more tempting.

The thread to finished idea is captured really well. Coming from a fine art background rather than embroidery, this appealed to me as I could really observe the tiny details in the photographs.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - poppies
Poppies!

What makes this book special?

I loved the quality of this book’s hardback cover and inside separate templates, it just gave it more of a luxury feel, I felt I was getting more than a book.

Kew Embroidery Trish Burr - special cover
Special cover with templates inside, it felt like a special edition, something quite luxurious!

Anything wrong with the book?

Those who prefer modern approaches to textiles may find this one not related to their practice, however the skills you learn can only help any textile artist and prove to be a source of inspiration.

Conclusion

I have to say, I did open this book with a little reticence at first, not that I don’t like flowers, I am obsessed with them, but I took fright as the front cover looks like a really complicated design. How to shade? I can certainly shade with a pencil, but can I shade with thread? After reading this book, I feel that I can have a go. It can do the same for you, or if you are totally experienced and confident in these techniques you will sail through! The book itself really teaches all the techniques required to build up a collection of floral embroideries and how to finish and frame them.

The book is available to purchase through the link below:

The Kew Book Of Embroidered Flowers(Folder edition): 11 Inspiring Projects with Reusable Iron-on Transfers published by Search Press and written by Trish Burr

If you are sold on all things floral, why not read more in this post about the rise of floral embroidery and how you too can have it in your life? Or what about another book in your life? Could Foolproof Flower Embroidery be the one for you? Our columnist Christine Cunningham finds out in her review of the book.

Finally if you would like to read more book reviews, here is your chance!


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