November 01, 2018

Bookish. - Issue 17

Bookish by amirisu

SLOW STITCH: Mindful and Contemplative Textile By Claire Wellesley-Smith    

Reviewed by Meri

By Claire Wellesley-Smith

Published in UK in 2015 by Batsford. 

$29.95 £ 22.95

ISBN: 978-1-84994-299-7


This is a book by a UK-based textile artist and educator, Claire Wellesley-Smith, whose work involves extensive stitching over reclaimed and locally-sourced pieces of fabrics.  I came across this book about the same time I was interviewing Lindzeanne (page 66-), and her story and this book together helped me deepen my knowledge in this particular front of textile art.

Along with Claire's own work, this book has sections to get you started with gathering sustainable materials, over-dyeing them with local plants, piecing them together, and diving into mindless stitching.  Work of many international artists are featured in this book, too.  Similar to Lindzeann's work, most of them use the simplest form of stitching, to either fill the canvas with straight stitches, or create geometric patterns on the surface.  All of them are mesmerising and beautiful.  Although they obviously requires hours and hours of work, because they look so simple, it makes me want to give it a try.

The section that introduces traditional art from different cultures was also very interesting.  Japanese Boro was familiar to me already, but the way contemporary artists took Indian Kantha, European mending, and piecework (patchwork) to the next level were inspiring.  If you are looking for some inspirations as to upcycling clothes and textiles that you own, I am sure this book will give you plenty.

Speaking of Boro, while researching for this article, I have come across an article about a museum in Tokyo that has extensive collection of Japanese Boro from Aomori, which is closing at the end of March 2019.  Hope you will get a chance to see their collection before then! (