I have been sent this book to review and what a beautiful looking and feeling book this is. It feels like fabric and has a close up of beautiful reverse appliqué and seed stitching. Yummy before the first page is turned.
The book is divided into seasons as well as ways of working and equipment and materials. Each season is also sub divided into ways of looking or starting. What a very different start a book. Also some wonderful photos for inspiration. Choices, choices, to start at the beginning and work my way through or to start at this season which is summer.
I decide to flick through to find out what it was all about. The introduction is a great start. Giving you ideas on how to use the book, and also the landscape. Encouraging you to actually get out there and experience it. To feel it, listen to it and just to be in it.
There are pages on the structure of the book, how to use the book, and ways of working with the seasons.Helen suggests working through the book over the course of the year. One of the key suggestions is getting out into the landscape and walking, taking it all in before you put pen to paper or needle to fabric.
Each chapter starts with a walk in your own locality. Encouraging you to not only look at the larger picture but the smaller details, things growing, their shapes and patterns. Take photos, make notes. Then once back home they can be investigated further using either drawing materials or fabric and thread.
You are always encouraged to take your drawings into thread and keep pushing where they will take you. Keeping samples as you might keep a sketchbook. Examples of you ideas and thinkings
Helen shows you a project within the context of the chapter of her own work and how she took it further
Each chapter is a revelation of the seasons as Helen has found it in her own local, and it can become for you in yours. Written very poetically, really giving you a sense of place that makes you want to get out there immediately.
Towards the end of the book Helen talks about different stitches, encouraging you to use simple stitches in different ways.
Towards the end of the book she also looks at holiday landscapes and history and archives and how you can be inspired by them too.
And finally a chapter on materials if you still need it by this time, followed by a page of useful resources.
What an amazing book. Not your usual guide to stitching and how to achieve it. A new way of looking and thinking. Finding your own voice in your own place in the world we live in. Very timely too as we are or should all be becoming far more interested in our place, our environment and taking more care of it. By becoming more involved with its seasonal changes we will learn to see more deeply it’s beauty and then become more aware of its needs and in that way our own because of it.
I heartily recommend this book if you care about what we are doing to our environment. Once this book has been read you will. I heartily recommend this book if you wish to make textile works that reflect you and your landscape, if you are ready to push yourself further. If you are not ready for any of these things I still heartily recommend this book as a way of connecting to the place you live.