Textile is alive!: Book review by Sue Stone
Textile is alive! is a substantial 192 page book showcasing a wide range of textile art forms. It contains 1,500 vibrant images that illustrate all aspects of textile from cute crafts right through to fine art textiles. From innovative machine embroidery textile art to abstract fiber art. The book, which is available in three languages, English, Dutch and German, has been compiled by Ellen Bakker, a Graphic Designer from the Netherlands. Submissions were made by artists to her website www.textieIlink.nl and then with the help of Dorothé Swinkels she selected the artists and makers for the book.
Its cover is eye catching and the 192 pages within are a riot of colour and texture. Fashion accessories, embroidered clothing, and jewellery sit alongside soft furnishings, upholstery and rugs. Toys and puppets, performance and installation, textile landscapes, fabric collages, patchwork and art quilts are all represented.
There are useful objects, and not so useful objects, the purely decorative and the more meaningful.
What’s in the book?
This book profiles 250 practitioners of all kinds of textile technique including embroidery, appliqué, batik. patchwork, knitting, crochet, painting, printing, felting, fusing, tufting, knotting, lacemaking, weaving, quilting, sculpture, mixed media and much more.
Many of the artists profiled are from the Netherlands and Belgium where there is a rich textile tradition. Some, such as Tilleke Schwarz are well known internationally, but it is refreshing to also see the work of many others whose work will be new to some readers. Each profile includes a short outline about the artist alongside several images of their work and their website address making this an invaluable resource for textile students.
There are many artists I could mention and many textile art forms that deserve recognition, but here are a few of my own favourites.
Selected textile artists featured in Textile is Alive!
Jette Clover, uses collected ‘street-memories’ in the form of torn posters, faded advertisements and cryptic graffiti as the inspiration for her art quilts. See Jette’s work on page 98.
Gosia van der Heijden makes exquisite jewellery using cord and semi precious stones.
See Gosia’s work on page 135.
Nicole Ladrak paints with fabric using layers of tulle which are stitched together to create portraits and still life compositions. See Nichole’s work on page 8.
Tilleke Schwarz uses collected images and text to create hand stitched narratives which comment on modern life. See Tilleke’s work on page 114.
Ellen Seegers & Arno Tummers who make recycled woolen blankets into lampshades.
See Ellen and Arno’s work on page 156.
Marjolein Starreveld, works with portraiture and assemblages in hand and machine stitch to produce surreal compositions. See Marjolein’s work on page 97.
Hannah Streefkerk is inspired by nature. She translates her ideas into installations, embroideries, land art and photography using traditional techniques such as sewing, embroidery and crochet. See Hannah’s work on page 124.
If you enjoy exploring the versatility of cloth then this book is for you.
Review by Sue Stone
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