This is such a fun embroidery book. It combines interesting articles about embroidery, interviews with a range of exciting embroidery artists, projects and loads of information and how-to guides. Yes, it is a bit of a mish mash of everything- part embroidery reader, part project book, part art book but it works. A lot of thought has been put into how one piece follows another so the mix of topics isn't jarring. For example an interview with an artist might lead into a project by them.
It is a beautiful book, full of colour. The works featured are fascinating- I love the in depth interviews with the artists. There is everything from beautiful geometric abstract pieces by Takashi Iwasaki to subtle, layered nature studies by Kisten Chursinoff. My favourites are the yarn cross stitch and spray paint robots by Eliot M Henning, I would love to see one of those pieces up close. If you want to see just how versatile a medium embroidery is then this book is for you - if you prefer traditional embroidery styles this might not be your cup of tea!
This is a great book for learning stumpwork stitches. No projects as such but lots of photos for inspiration. Each stitch is explained clearly with step-by-step photos and a photo of the stitch used in an embroidery. Really useful if you want to teach yourself stumpwork.
This book and the other Jane Nicholas books are pure eye candy. She is an outstanding embroiderer. There are instructions on how to embroider the different beetles (you might have to improvise with some of the threads/fabrics as some of those listed are difficult to find). There are also some projects and some really gorgeous 'inspiration' photos of old insect embroideries.
I have made a couple of beetles from this book including one of the goldwork ones- the instructions are fairly easy to follow and well illustrated. I went on to use the basic premise for constructing the beetle to do a stumpwork stag beetle of my own design. I would say this is one for the more experienced embroiderer really- but newbies would find tons of inspiration here as well. I think this is my favourite embroidery book in my collection, it's a pleasure to flick through and even though I probably won't do many of the projects it is a book to treasure.
Let me tell you something- I sort of didn't want to like this book. I say this because I was contacted by the picture researcher and asked to submit some pictures of my stumpwork for inclusion in this book. I was so incredibly excited at first but they didn't get picked which was a disappointment! Nonetheless I still bought this book the moment it came out because this is pretty much an essential embroidery book and it is really, really lovely. It covers many different styles and techniques including counted embroidery, whitework, stumpwork, counted embroidery and various surface embroideries. No projects but excellent illustration stitch guides and beautiful images and artist profiles as inspiration.
I can see why my images never made it- I can't compete against the work in this book, it is all perfectly executed and beautifully photographed. If you want to explore new techniques this book is fantastic.
This book is great for pushing the boundaries of your stitching. It includes ideas for collaging, printing on fabric and introducing textures. If I'm honest the artworks in the book aren't to my taste but I do like the ideas for adding texture and interest to embroidery. The different techniques are laid out as projects but I personally wouldn't complete any of the projects. I see this book more as something to read through when planning an embroidery to get some ideas. It isn't your typical embroidery book and if possible I'd recommend trying to look at a copy before you buy it as I don't think everyone will like this book. It isn't the prettiest book in my collection but when I look at it I feel inspired to be more adventurous in my embroidery. It gets me enthused about the idea of mixing print and paint with stitch.
So any of these books have you intrigued? Or do you already own any of them? I'm happy to answer any questions you have about them- just ask via the comments.