Shibori For Textile Artists

By Janice Gunner published by Batsford. Photographs by Michael Wicks.

Techniques and projects for using Shibori dyeing in textile art.

Shibori is the Japanese term (from the word ‘to squeeze or wring”) for the dye-resist technique of binding, clamping or gathering the cloth so that the dye cannot reach certain parts.


Stitched rings on a single layer of cotton cloth, Procion MX dye.
 

Shibori is one of the world’s richest textile traditions. Commonly associated with Japan, it is in fact a technique also long used in Africa, India and South America. In this practical guide textile artist Janice Gunner shows how to combine the different traditions from each of these countries alongside contemporary techniques to create fabulous textiles that are bursting with rich intricate patterns and bold colour.


Traditional kanoko shibori cloths using tied resist. The two kimono wraps (obi age) are ‘linked dot’ shibori, the brown and blue cloths are ‘square ring dots’; silk, Japan.

Janice Gunner is an award winning textile artist particularly known for her Shibori and quilt art. As she has been teaching stitched textile techniques, including Shibori, patchwork and quilting, for the last thirty years, we know we are in the hands of an expert communicator.



Stitched rings on a single layer of cotton cloth, Procion MX dye.
 

         Various techniques are covered from tied and stitched designs to ideas for wrapping, folding, clamping, pleating and binding. Simple and safe instructions for a range of dyeing techniques are also included.

         Indigo is the dye most widely used to create Shibori. It is not a predictable dye and Janice doesn’t pretend otherwise. She encourages her readers to experiment with colour, dipping in and out of the dye vat.



Ripples II (detail) by Sue Hickman shows the arashi shibori technique with machine and hand quilting using contrast thread.

         Practical information is given throughout accompanied by clear instructions and diagrams, aimed at quilters, embroiderers and textile artists of all abilities.


African Odyssey III shows the pleated and bound indigo and kola nut dyed fabric; and hand machine quilted.
 

         The book is chock full with images of quilts and embroideries that demonstrate the full potential of the techniques along side practical advice on turning Shibori textiles into beautiful quilts, hangings and textile art.

This is a very good source book for textile artists and designers. £14.99  Batsford    www.pavillionbooks.com

The Art of Pressed Flowers and Leaves

By Jennie Ashmore Published by Batsford £16.99 Artworks by Jennie Ashmore, photographs by Euan Adamson.

This is the most unusual and beautiful pressed flower book I have ever seen. It is full of amazing compositions that are reminiscent of traditional American Quilts.

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Early leafwork (1998) using sycamore leaves and fennel seed heads. 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)

As the publisher describes it, this is a contemporary twist on a traditional craft. It is a must-have guide to pressing flowers and leaves packed with exciting ideas and practical information for creating beautiful botanical works of art.



Kirklea Garden (2017). Rich summer colours using iris and poppy petals with small leaves and flowers. 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in)
 

         Jennie Ashmore, flower artist, breathes new life into traditional flower-pressing techniques with a unique and spectacular kaleidoscope of floral and plant designs, using everything from flower petals and leaves to seaweed and lichen.

 Jennie studied painting and printmaking at Exeter College of Art and for many years taught in art schools and worked in environmental education, conservation and gardening. Her work has always concerned the natural world and she has a strong interest in surface texture, pattern and geometry, which are key to her designs. She teaches workshops and sells her work.


Threave Garden Quilt (2016). This intricate design features plants collected in Threave Garden, a National Trust property in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. 40 x 40cm (16 x 16in)

         The leaf works, guide and inspire through every stage of the process, from working seasonally and selecting the right plants for a vibrant colour, to experimenting with interesting texture and pattern. There are also tips for incorporating watercolour, gouache and other exciting materials into beautiful botanical creations.


Simple landscape using variegated balsam poplar leaves (1998).
13 x 18cm (5 x 7in)
 
 

The art of pressed flowers and leaves will inspire readers to celebrate the beauty of their local landscape, a favourite walk or garden, or even capture special memories through eternalizing wedding bouquets or plants collected on a holiday.

Mending Matters Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favourite Denim and More

By Katrina Rodabaugh

Photographed by Karen Pearson

Published by Abrams, New York

Dear reader you may find it strange that I am reviewing a second book on what is ostensibly mending or even another book on blue mending. Okay I admit it, as always it is the blue that draws me in, as do the beautiful worn denims. However this book is about much more than just mending. It comes out of the Slow Fashion movement that is very strong in America and growing in momentum on this side of the pond. 

         Included are the practical elements, you are shown the basic techniques, exterior and interior patches, hand stitches improvised darning and weaving. It is also interwoven with the philosophy and stories behind the Slow Fashion movement.

         It was in 2013 that Katrina, a fibre artist, started an art project called Make Thrift and Mend- where she vowed not to buy any new clothes for an entire year. It grew out of three influences: the first being the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed 1100 workers and injured another 2500. The second an interview with Elizabeth Cline author of Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. The third was a blog written by slow fashion designer Natalie Chanin, in which she advocated slow design.

As Katrina launched her new project she researched everything she could on sustainable fashion and the people who practice it. During that first year Katrina fell in love with mending, which she transformed into an art form as she realized the opportunities to consider patches and stitches as design elements. Katrina approaches mending with the same design considerations she uses in her art work- line, shape, scale, texture and colour. –she fuses embroidery and basic stitches to create strangely beautiful and eco friendly  garments that have been well- worn and are still well-loved.

The book has quotes from artists and designers who work using textiles in an ethical and eco friendly manner.

         “I’m excited for Mending Matters and for Katrina’s work that offers new directions within the sustainable fashion community. It creates solutions, draws on handcraft heritage, and widens opportunities to connect Slow Fashion through simple stitchings “

Foreward by Natalie Chanin founder and creative director of Alabama Chanin.

 What I wear : by Samantha Hoyt Lindgren  from A Gathering of Stitches

“Making my own clothing makes me happy. This is not to say that I am always successful in my makes. But more often than not, and with greater regularity these days, I make items of clothing that I wear and cherish. In a changeable world this gives me great satisfaction and some peace.”

         From Jessica Lewis Stevens from Sugar Workshop On using natural dyes. 

          “When we dye our wool and cotton and linen with plants, we can mark the way the goldenrod covered everything in sight this year or the good health of the tall oaks that dropped basketful of tannin-rich acorns. We can put colour by for winter, wear medicine on our backs. We can harvest the colours around us and in  making them part of our wardrobes they can hold our stories and come back to us.”

         I am writing this during Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and one of the biggest opportunities in Slow Fashion is mindfulness.

As Katrina says ‘Most women are oversaturated by a fashion industry telling us how to look, dress, eat, diet, hide, reveal, boost, or otherwise mute our bodies. By being more mindful, time can be taken out to think what it is you really want. The confidence in your personal style is actually counterculture to fashion trends.

 I try to remind my students that the point is not to have a perfect closet filled with perfect garments, but to cultivate mindfulness- mendfullness –and make deliberate choices, focus on what you can do to make a positive impact, and gain a deeper understanding of your true preference and style.’

         Mendfulness is ultimately about healing. It’s about healing what we intuit to be broken in the fast-fashion industry but also in our individual experiences of clothing. We can learn to create antidotes to the damages of scrutinizing body image, low self-esteem, and general scarcity that comes with the never ending never ending need to ‘fix’ something in ourselves through our wardrobes”

After describing how when she was a child, her family spent Sunday evenings darning, by India Flint prophet of bloom

“ My darning is still from perfect…it’s now loud and proud, big patches that glow happily from leaf prints, as every time I mend , I re-dye the garment. Refreshing in a eucalyptus bath reinforces the cloth with a layer of colour, sanitizes and gives things a lovely fragrance. It’s a practice that connects me firmly to the land where I live and it makes me very happy”

This book is a joy to read and to hold. Buy it.

Mend and Patch

By Kerstin Neumuller

A Handbook to Repairing clothes and Textiles

Kerstin Neumuller is a tailor who loves sewing with tiny stitches. With her partner Douglas Luhanko she runs a shop in Stockholm called Second Sunrise. In it they sell jeans, run craft workshops and have a repair studio.

This, her second book, is a practical handbook, and is perfect for anyone who wants to sharpen their mending skills, and lead a more sustainable life style.

 Packed with advice on how to combat wears and tears, the book shows the basics for mending jeans and button holes, how to repair pockets and seams, how to darn a hole in your best knitted jumper, and how to work with different materials, including denim, cotton and wool.

Techniques for showing mends and making a design statement are given, as are the techniques for making hidden mends.


You are shown how to use a sewing machine to mend, how to add pockets and reinforcing using thick threads. The mends for knits, especially  Swiss Darning are amazing and there is even a section on mending leather.

This is a really useful and lovely book

Published by Pavilion at £12.99  All photographs by Hampus Andersson.

Natural Living Style by Selina Lake

Inspirational Ideas For a Beautiful & Sustainable Home

Anyone who has read any of Selina’s other nine books will know they are in for a visual treat with this one. Originally a Stylist, it was well into her career that Selina became an author and Columnist. She writes a regular column for Modern Gardens magazine and styles for many other homes magazines.

This book couldn’t have come at a more prescient moment, with any right thinking person looking for ways to live a more sustainable life.

Starting with Inspirations, Selina explains her own desire to live a greener life. She looks at the ingredients that go to make a Natural Living Style Look, including recyclables such as glass and metal, eco-friendly materials such as cork and rattan and natural fibres, including cotton and linen. She discusses repurposing and up-cycling and looks at environmentally friendly decorative details, such as flowers and plants.

         The second chapter, Natural Living Spaces, shows how sustainability and style can go hand in hand in different areas of the house, including living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms bedrooms home offices and utility rooms.

In Natural Gardens, Selina discusses green gardening and growing your own fruit, veg and flowers.

At the end of the book, a sources section helps readers to create a natural home of their own. Throughout, eco-friendly tips and hints will inspire anyone who wants to lighten their footprint on the planet.

Published by Rylands Peters and Small at £19.99 By Selina Lake

Want to learn a new craft? Why not try Knooking?

Knooking is a new trend in yarn craft it is in essence a combination of knitting and crotchet. Cico books https://rylandpeters.com/have just published a book by  designer, knit & crotchet author  Laura Strutt called Get Knooking .

Yes it is a strange term, but a clever way to create knitted fabrics with the use of a single, cord strung hook. The author says she came to knooking via both knitting and crotchet but claims that even a complete novice can pick up the technique easily.

Apart from the fact it is slightly easier to transport that knitting, having only one implement, that is a crotchet hook with the eye of a large needle at its end, I was not sure of the benefit of this new craft.

However what it allows the maker to do is to create cloth that looks like it has been knitted rather than crotched. In the book five different fabrics have been created including stocking stitch, garter stitch, double rib, single rib, moss stitch. As well as the knitted fabrics you can also create crotched fabrics.

There are small easy projects to tackle first. These include a zipped purse, a headband and arm warmers. The intermediate projects include a very nice block-colour cushion a nautical rope handled bag and knitted storage boxes. The larger projects are more challenging such as a slouch blanket cardigan and a beautiful infinity scarf.

The book comes with a free knooking hook.

So happy knooking.

Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces

35 Contemporary Projects for Garden Furniture & Accessories

By Hester van Overbeek

Photography by James Gardiner

Stuck for something to make? Little or no money then this is the book for you. Follow the instructions within and you can make a huge variety of items for the garden. These include benches, tables, a covered store for wood, a planter and much more. There are clear instructions throughout and a useful guide to using pallet wood, which includes taking a pallet apart and cleaning it before you start.

There are guidelines on the tools you need and how to use them. As well as larger items such as a pallet sofa and planter bench, there are smaller accessories such as a garden trug, tea light and candle-holders and a very nice white washed lantern. I love the birdhouses too.

I have repurposed a couple of Pallets in my time, adding the odd shelf, wheels and coat of paint or upended to make a vertical flower wall. This book has an element of this too but goes far beyond it as it uses and recycles this free valuable resource and that is wood.

         Hester van Overbeek is a keen multi-crafter who works for many different craft magazines and has written four craft books already. She has a very successful web site that feature her books and video’s and how to projects.

A perfect book to buy now, for making all those outside projects, that will enhance your garden or yard and prove invaluable this summer.

Published by Cico books £12.99