Sunday, 12 June 2011

Review: From Print to Stitch

From Print to Stitch
Tips and Techniques for Hand Printing and Stitching on Fabric
Janet Edmonds, 2010
Search Press

Reviewed by Sue Bates

This is a beautifully presented colourful book showing how exciting it can be to add stitch to prints that you have done yourself.
From the introduction we are taken through some background history, and then shown what to use, how to use it, and why you would use these things to make prints. There are enormous descriptive bright photographs on each page.
Inks, paints, fabrics and tools lead on to print blocks. These can be bought, but Janet shows a multitude of methods for producing your own, mostly at next to no cost. There is a small section on sewing equipment but much of this comes later in the book.
Developing a theme is one of Janet's strong points, and she covers plenty of ways to find designs, then goes on to create a motif from these to put on her blocks. Pattern design is shown by positioning of motifs and there are five themes shown from source to finished piece. Again the exciting photos will give you a guided tour of these themes.
Colour is another subject that is covered thoroughly. Doing your own testing of primaries, complementary colours and tints is recommended and Janet leads you through it clearly.
Printing whys and wherefores take up about a third of the book, so there will be few questions left to ask by the time you have read it all and seen the stunning examples of block prints, monoprints, collographs, over printing, and so much more.
The next section is about how to apply stitch to enhance the printing. There should be balance between the two forms of decoration and Janet explains how this is achieved. This section also gives the choices of hand and machine stitching, with ample suggestions and again, clear photos of the subject.
This is followed by a Stitch Gallery of her work, with a myriad of choices to visit. She explains that she mostly uses favourites that derive from a straight stitch.
"The joy of stitching for me is in selecting threads with the right texture and colour to complement the print fully and not having to struggle with technique."
The conclusion is short and to the point and the Index is totally inclusive.

This is a book that you can delve into and pick out, or just take it as it comes. There are ideas a plenty and all come from Janet's deep knowledge and appreciation of all aspects of her work. It is a City and Guild student's dream.

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