Friday, February 12, 2010

more books

This book came in the package with the Maggie Grey Image book--a surfeit of riches!The author was trained at the Japanese Embroidery Center, where I studied (and where my current teacher is affiliated). I have the impression that the book is not approved by them. That's okay with me. It's another set of images and words to learn from. From what I can see, what the author does is exactly as I've been taught. Her photos are quite clear and plentiful. I think perhaps her designs have not been approved by the master. I like them and find them much simpler than the official designs.I've always found that the more ways something is explained, the easier it is to learn. I'm enjoying reading this one in the evenings.I've had this book for ages, bought it used. It's full of good, basic design principles and concepts. I love playing with cut paper and exploded shapes and she does that here. It's a book I wish I had more time to play with--but I want to get on with the stitching and always rush past. So, for now, I'm leaving it out and not putting it on the pile and hoping I'll let myself play more.This is one of the first used books I bought that was hefty. It's a paperback book, not bad, but it came with a deep box of full-sized patterns for the designs in the book.
It covers all forms of fiberwork--including weaving. I find the text to be dated--a lot of this information presented as fact is more fiction and romanticized. When I was younger I wasn't sure what bugged me about it, but now I know. I also found the designs to be gangly but I think that's the nature of the beast, because the pieces used as a basis for the designs are accurately translated to the drawings. A lot were from table and bed coverings and the designs were large.

So, while the text is dumbed down, the designs are not. Which has made me think it may be work picking through the text and seeing what I can glean.
This last book had me in conflict for a long time. I had heard of it at a time when I was doing loads of fine counted work, drawn thread, Hardanger, etc. This book was THE book on the subject. But it was from South Africa and I didn't think it was ethical to buy from S.A. Then I became enamored of a South African musician, Johnny Clegg. His music just blew my socks off in the late 80s--I still love it and listen often and go to concerts when he's in the States (very rare). And I learned by reading his articles and others I learned about through a fan group, that maybe boycotting goods made in South Africa isn't best for the people of S.A. and won't necessarily affect the government one way or another. So I bought the book.

It's very old-fashioned. It's organized like a text book with numbered sections. It's shaped like a text book, too--thick. I don't think there are any color photos. But if you do counted thread embroidery--drawn thread, pulled thread, Hardanger, Hedebo, blackwork.... then this is the book for you. There are full-sized patterns for some of the designs in an envelope at the back of the book.

One big drawback is that I found it very hard to follow, even with all the numbering. The description of a design is often not on the same page as the photo, which is not on the same page as the diagram. So, it can take a bit of perseverance to use the book. It's much easier if you just want to generally read about techniques. But I still think it's worth having.

These are the books I have out of the piles and in my basket right now. For some reason, my husband complains that I always have my nose in a book!

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