Textile art books: Learn from the experts

<i>Textile art books:</i> Learn from the experts

We all know how challenging it can be to attend in-person workshops with our favourite textile artists. And sometimes online workshops can be tricky to budget for, or hard to squeeze into our busy schedules.

Get ready to meet some very generous textile artists who are sharing their tips and techniques in book form, that super convenient, tactile and long-lasting format. They’re not holding anything back, and the wealth of information and instruction they provide is guaranteed to inspire.

There’s nothing like being able to sit with a book to study gorgeous images of an artist’s work and read step-by-step instructions to try out their techniques at home. And, as you tackle a book’s tips and projects, you can jot notes in the margins along the way. Most importantly, you can learn at your own pace and revisit ideas over and over again.

This is a long list filled with a variety of textile art genres, from traditional stitching to surface design to sculpture. And all the authors are indeed experts at what they do. We’re confident there’s at least a title or two you’ll want to add to your bookshelf. Enjoy!

Mixed Media Textile Art in 3D
Mixed media textile art in three dimensions by Ann Goddard
Ann Goddard, Ecotype (detail), 2011, 85cm x 50cm x 26cm (33” x 20” x 10”). Tearing, manipulation, assembling, and threading. Sustainable Himalayan papers, printer paper, paper yarn, tea dye, wax, gesso.
Ann Goddard, Ecotype (detail), 2011, 85cm x 50cm x 26cm (33″ x 20″ x 10″). Tearing, manipulation, assembling, and threading. Sustainable Himalayan papers, printer paper, paper yarn, tea dye, wax, gesso.

Mixed media textile art in three dimensions

Ann Goddard draws her inspiration from natural landscapes, organic materials and a concern for the environment. She combines textile and non-textile elements to create intriguing juxtapositions. Linen, loose fibres, paper and yarn are complemented by concrete, wood, lead and bark. 

Readers are introduced to techniques ranging from stitching, wrapping, couching and knotting to sawing, drilling and casting. Instruction is aimed to help artists create eclectic works in which boundaries are crossed and expectations are challenged.

Ann Goddard is part of the prestigious 62 Group. She exhibits globally, particularly in the UK and Europe.

Mixed media textile art in three dimensions by Ann Goddard (2022)
ISBN 9781849946926

Organic embroidery
Organic embroidery by Meredith Woolnough

Organic embroidery

Learn how to use your sewing machine to turn natural forms into exquisite art. Meredith Woolnough offers a behind-the-scenes look into her organic embroidery technique. Readers will learn how to create replicas of nature using a delicate system of tiny stitches. 

Twelve different creativity-prompting activities are included to help master her method, with emphasis on achieving varied shapes and patterns from sources like leaves, shells and coral. Instruction on working with your sewing machine is also included, as well as gorgeous images of Meredith’s works for further inspiration.

Meredith Woolnough, Red Coral Bowl, 2016. 25cm (10”) diameter. Sculptural and freehand machine embroidery. Polyester machine embroidery thread and water soluble fabric.
Meredith Woolnough, Red Coral Bowl, 2016. 25cm (10″) diameter. Sculptural and freehand machine embroidery. Polyester machine embroidery thread and water soluble fabric.

Meredith Woolnough is based in Australia, where she teaches workshops at textile studios and schools. Her work has appeared in Handmade, Fibre Arts Now, Stitches, Embroidery and other magazines.

Organic embroidery by Meredith Woolnough (2018)
ISBN 9780764356131

Contemporary Weaving in Mixed Media
Contemporary weaving in mixed media by Rachna Garodia
Rachna Garodia, Nostalgia, 2022. 64cm x 58cm (25” x 23”). Plain weave. Nylon monofilament warp, weft mainly cotton and wool incorporating old ticket stubs, fragments from envelopes and other mementos. Photo: Yeshen Venema
Rachna Garodia, Nostalgia, 2022. 64cm x 58cm (25″ x 23″). Plain weave. Nylon monofilament warp, weft mainly cotton and wool incorporating old ticket stubs, fragments from envelopes and other mementos.

Contemporary weaving in mixed media

This modern guide to weaving contains a wealth of practical advice and loads of inspiration for every aspect of weaving. From gathering materials to making and exhibiting ambitious woven masterpieces, this book celebrates the meditative and calming effects of the loom. The best part is readers won’t need expensive equipment to create something beautiful. 

Rachna Garodia clearly explains how to choose a loom, take inspiration from the natural world to design and plan, gather varied materials, personalise your work, and explore unusual weaving techniques. The book is also filled with gorgeous images of Rachna and other global weavers’ incredible textile art.

Stitch Club member Louise J. Jones is a big fan of this book, especially its chapter called Walk with a poem in your heart.

“I’m delighted by the way Rachna creates ‘poetry yarn’ by combining poetry with textile art, and it inspired me to make my own version.”

Louise J. Jones, Stitch Club member

The chapter also describes how Rachna created her Ode to Sylvia Plath piece, which incorporates a dried fig leaf to echo Plath’s fig tree metaphor for the heroine’s turmoil in The Bell Jar.

Rachna Garodia runs workshops, works to commission and exhibits widely. She trained at the National Institute of Design in India and The Royal School of Needlework in London.

Contemporary weaving in mixed media by Rachna Garodia (2022)
ISBN 9781849947657

Textile Creativity Through Nature
Textile creativity through nature: Felt, texture and stitch by Jeanette Appleton

Textile creativity through nature

Jeanette Appleton has come up with a guide packed with practical ideas for rewilding your creative practice. Written for new and experienced felters alike, Jeanette shares her philosophy and methods of working with nature as a way of nurturing creativity and sustainability. 

Learn how to create exciting felt surfaces that are both beautiful and versatile. From lines of sea, hedge and grass to cracks in parched earth or frosted puddles, Jeanette reveals her techniques for translating natural phenomena into subtleties of texture and stitch. She also shares a variety of strategies for overcoming artist’s block, including transforming recycled cloth, and studying the routes and patterns of your local environment.

Jeanette Appleton, Changing Currents: Challenging Changes, 2021. 35.5cm x 35.5cm (14” x 14”), Reconfigured felt work with surface stitch, merino wool, silk fabric. Photo: Michael Wicks
Jeanette Appleton, Changing currents: Challenging changes, 2021. 35.5cm x 35.5cm (14″ x 14″). Reconfigured felt work with surface stitch, merino wool, silk fabric.

Jeanette Appleton is a member of the 62 Group, and she exhibits her work in the UK and across the globe. Her work is featured in many magazines and books.

Textile creativity through nature: Felt, texture and stitch by Jeanette Appleton (2023)
ISBN 9781849947732

Fragmentation and repair
Fragmentation and repair for mixed media and textile artists by Shelley Rhodes
Shelley Rhodes, Coastal Fragments, 2020. 5cm x 3cm (2” x 1”) each. Assemblage with stitch and wrapped threads, salvaged frames with mixed media drawings and found beach fragments. Photo: Michael Wicks, Batsford
Shelley Rhodes, Coastal Fragments, 2020. 5cm x 3cm (2″ x 1″) each. Assemblage with stitch and wrapped threads, salvaged frames with mixed media drawings and found beach fragments.

Fragmentation and repair

‘Fragmentation’ and ‘repair’ are buzzwords in textile and mixed media art, and Shelley Rhodes is a master of both. Learn how she reconstructs and reassembles cloth, paper and other materials to create new pieces. 

Shelley also describes how she uses found objects collected over the years to add depth and emotional resonance to her work. From piercing and devoré to patching and darning, the author shares a wealth of favourite techniques, including the Japanese concepts of ‘wabi-sabi’ (finding beauty in imperfection) and ‘mottainai’ (using every last scrap).

Shelley Rhodes teaches workshops covering all aspects of design, stitch, drawing, sketchbooks and mixed media work. She has also written for a variety of publications, including Drawn to Stitch and Somerset Studio.

Fragmentation and repair for mixed media and textile artists by Shelley Rhodes (2021)
ISBN 9781849946100

Embroidering the Everyday
Embroidering the everyday: Found, stitch, paint by Cat Holmes

Embroidering the everyday

Cas Holmes explores the everyday and the domestic to help readers re-examine the world and make use of their geographic limitations or individual circumstances as a rich resource for creating. 

Cas shares her own and other leading practitioners’ works to demonstrate how to be more resourceful, to rediscover a family history, to draw from one’s local landscape and to transform materials. Homemade dyes, mark-making, stitch, image transfer and collage are just a sampling of the book’s many techniques, which readers can use to create mixed media textiles in a more thoughtful way. 

Cas Holmes, Panni Kekkava Pied Wagtail (detail), 2020. Three  panels, each 160cm x 70cm (63" x 28"). Machine and hand stitch. Printed and dyed vintage materials, Japanese and Indian vintage cloth, silk and paper.
Cas Holmes, Panni Kekkava Pied Wagtail (detail), 2020. Three panels, each 160cm x 70cm (63″ x 28″). Machine and hand stitch. Printed and dyed vintage materials, Japanese and Indian vintage cloth, silk and paper.

Cas Holmes exhibits widely and runs courses at West Dean College in West Sussex. Her other books include Textile landscape (2018), Stitch stories (2015), Connected cloth (2013) and The found object in textile art (2010).

Embroidering the everyday: Found, stitch and paint by Cas Holmes (2021)
ISBN 9781849947114

Textile Portraits
Textile portraits: People and places in textile art by Anne Kelly

People and places in textile art

Anne Kelly is known for her evocative and nostalgic work that often incorporates portraits. This book gives readers a look into the variety of techniques she uses to achieve the nuances of facial expressions and personalities, including hand and machine embroidery, quilting and appliqué. 

Topics include self-portraits, cultural expression, abstraction, incorporating narratives and even pet portraits. Anne also features the work of other textile artists from across the globe who specialise in portraiture.

Anne Kelly, Stay at Home, 2021. 90cm x 90 cm (35” x 35”). Collage, hand and machine stitch. Vintage textiles, treated paper.
Anne Kelly, Stay at Home, 2021. 90cm x 90 cm (35″ x 35″). Collage, hand and machine stitch. Vintage textiles, treated paper.

Anne Kelly is a textile artist and tutor. Her work is exhibited globally in solo and group exhibitions, and she is the author of Textile travels (2020), Textile folk art (2018), Textile nature (2016), and Connected cloth (2013).

Textile portraits: People and places in textile art by Anne Kelly (2023)
ISBN 9781849947534

Targeted Truth
Targeted truth: Threading the reality of society by Nneka Jones

Targeted truth

Nneka Jones felt extremely vulnerable when she decided to transition from a painter to a mixed media artist, and Targeted truth documents both her courage and artistic process. 

This isn’t a typical embroidery book highlighting different techniques or types of stitches. Instead, it provides a visual experience emphasising the marriage of art and activism and the physical work it takes to bind the two. 

Nneka’s portraits resonate with colour and feeling, and this sneak peek into her process allows readers to appreciate embroidery through every stage, ultimately leaving us with a greater appreciation for her final artwork.

Book spread from Targeted Truth by Nneka Jones.
Book spread from Targeted truth by Nneka Jones

Nneka Jones graduated with a BFA from the University of Tampa, Florida, US. One of her most notable achievements was a TIME magazine commission to produce the cover artwork for the 31st August 2020 edition. 

Targeted truth by Nneka Jones (2020)

Stitch and Pattern
Stitch and pattern: Design and technique for pattern textile art by Jean Draper

Stitch and pattern

Learn how even basic squares, circles and triangles can create stunning impact in stitch and textiles. Drawing inspiration from across the globe, Jean Draper provides practical and simple instructions for developing and experimenting with patterns using grids, symmetry, rotation and repeats. 

Jean also provides instruction on creating bands and borders, strip patchwork and strip piecing. Even body ornamentation is explored to help interpret the human form in stitch. Inspiration, design methods and stitching techniques fill the pages of this gorgeous book.

Jean Draper, Hand embroidery inspired by the spirals and meandering lines of the natural world.
Jean Draper, Hand embroidery inspired by the spirals and meandering lines of the natural world.

Jean Draper is an exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and the Textile Study Group. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the UK and abroad.

Stitch and pattern by Jean Draper (2018)
ISBN 978184994439

Poetic Cloth
Poetic cloth: Creating meaning in textile art by Hannah Lamb

Poetic cloth

Discover how cloth, stitch and surface can create personal meaning in textile art. This book explores the connection between process and material by focusing on stitch, print, surface manipulation and construction to create seductive textile surfaces.

Hannah Lamb emphasises a sensitivity to material, a quiet attention to detail and thoughtful application of textile technique. Her techniques include hand stitch, shadow work, patching, darning, devoré and cyanotype printing.

Stitch Club member Elizabeth Stephenson especially loves this book because it has a good balance of technical and practical information, along with inspiring images of completed works.

‘I’ve been very focused on process and am at a point where I need to consider meaning and purpose a bit more in my work.

This book is a great prompt for thinking about those aspects.

It also has a lovely textured cover, so it’s nice to handle as well.’

Elizabeth Stephenson, Stitch Club member
Hannah Lamb, Visible Mending (detail), 2013. 119cm x 132cm (47" x 52"). Digital print, appliqué, darning and hand stitch. Linen, silk, wool thread. Photo: Michael Wicks
Hannah Lamb, Visible Mending (detail), 2013. 119cm x 132cm (47″ x 52″). Digital print, appliqué, darning and hand stitch. Linen, silk, wool thread.

Hannah Lamb has lectured in embroidery and design at Bradford School of Art where she is currently Programme Leader for Textiles. Hannah exhibits nationally and internationally and is an exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists.

Poetic cloth: Creating meaning in textile art by Hannah Lamb (2019)
ISBN 9781849945363

The Art of Annemieke Mein
The art of Annemieke Mein: The wildlife artist in textiles by Annemieke Mein

The wildlife artist in textiles

Annemieke Mein is known for extraordinary sculptures borne out of her passionate commitment to the environment.

She uses a variety of materials, such as silk, wool, fur and cotton for their colour, texture, credibility and aesthetic appeal. She then meticulously paints and stitches her subjects using hand and machine embroidery, appliqué, quilting, weaving, trapunto, felting and more. 

While her approach sounds complex, readers are provided with detailed instructions and gorgeous imagery of how to combine Annemieke’s numerous techniques for limitless combinations.

Annemieke Mein, Night Flight (detail), 1986. 91cm x 111cm x 7cm (35” x 44” x 3”), High relief wall sculpture with detachable moths.
Annemieke Mein, Night Flight (detail), 1986. 91cm x 111cm x 7cm (35″ x 44″ x 3″). High relief wall sculpture with detachable moths.

Annemieke Mein was the first textile artist to be accepted as a member of both the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia and the Australian Guild of Realist Artists. She has exhibited at galleries in Australia and her work is included in private collections across the globe.

The art of Annemieke Mein: The wildlife artist in textiles by Annemieke Mein (2019)
ISBN 9781782217657

Sculptural Textile Art
Sculptural textile art: A practical guide to mixed media wire sculpture by Priscilla Edwards

Sculptural textile art

Priscilla Edwards takes stitch to impressive new levels within wire sculpture. Working both two and three-dimensionally, Priscilla layers colour, stitch, shape and texture to transform surfaces into beautiful and whimsical sculptures full of character, curiosity and charm.

Readers can explore a playful mixed media approach to create 3D sculptures using a variety of media to transform plain papers, fabrics and memorabilia.

Priscilla also offers tips for including both hand and free-motion machine stitching. The book wraps up with five separate projects designed to build upon complexity and inspire development of one’s artistic voice.

Priscilla Edwards, Cotton Reel Flower, 2020. 18cm x 8cm (8” x 3”). Hand manipulated wire and hand stitch. Painted paper-covered wire, hand painted and printed paper, stranded cotton embroidery thread and hand dyed silk.
Priscilla Edwards, Cotton Reel Flower, 2020. 18cm x 8cm (8″ x 3″). Hand manipulated wire and hand stitch. Painted paper-covered wire, hand painted and printed paper, stranded cotton embroidery thread and hand dyed silk.

Priscilla Edwards exhibits her work globally and lectures in higher education for the University of Creative Arts (UK). Priscilla also hosts independent workshops and talks in galleries, museums and schools.

Sculptural textile art: A practical guide to mixed media wire sculpture by Priscilla Edwards (2022)
ISBN 9781782219002

Featured books

Stitch and pattern: Design and technique for pattern textile art by Jean Draper (2018)

Poetic cloth: Creating meaning in textile art by Hannah Lamb (2019)

The art of Annemieke Mein: The wildlife artist in textiles by Annemieke Mein (2019)

Sculptural textile art: A practical guide to mixed media wire sculpture by Priscilla Edwards (2022)

Photo credits: Changing currents: Challenging changes, Coastal Fragments, Visible Mending by Michael Wicks, Batsford. Nostalgia by Yeshen Venema.

If you buy books linked to our site, we may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Can’t get enough ‘must read’ booklists? Check out our Stitch Picks for best hand embroidery books.

Monday 22nd, July 2024 / 00:40

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12 comments on “Textile art books: Learn from the experts”

  1. bakare olayinka olumide says:

    they are fantastic,and how do i know there prices

  2. Hello,,i am a Couture Fashion Designer — ladies wear..I go thru lots of books on art,,natures,,Historical monuments, artist works,etc..I get inspired from this book to developed my line of creation to do a collection. I generally go thru embroideries works, textile arts, cuts and patterns for bridal dresses.I like some of your above mention books.I will be thanks if you can send me pictures of couture embroidery tech” and the old century gold embroidery worn by the Queens at that Era…
    Thanks
    Syed Zunaid Haque

  3. Thanks for your articles/newsletters. very informative…Textile news from the UK is always welcome at my studio

  4. Jen Purslow says:

    I’m really enjoying your e mails and have recommended you to a friend.

  5. Karen says:

    A great list. Thank you for the recommendations!

  6. Shabnam Majeed says:

    It is very informative site for all sorts of textile designers and textile artists. Everytime i learn something new from here.
    Lecturer
    Craft and Textile Department

  7. I’m amazed at the diversity of your articles I’m always interested to read them such talented people keep up the good work

  8. Lilly says:

    Thank you for your research in to these artist/authors books. I have found it very helpful and already ordered a few.

  9. Raquel Monteiro de Souza says:

    É realmente muito inspirador receber os boletins semanais da textileartist.org. Sou uma pretendente a artista têxtil e não imaginava ser possível navegar nessa imensidão de possibilidades. Agradeço demais!

  10. Mimiblue says:

    Je suis fidèle parmi les fidèles. Ces temps-ci, opérée gravement, je sors peu de mon lit, juste pour venir vous lire alors que je reviens tout juste de l’hôpital. J’ai hâte d’aller mieux car tout ce que vous nous présentez est tellement inspirant que je sens la fièvre de faire remonter en moi !!!! Merci de ce que vous nous apportez, c’est tellement précieux….

  11. Liz Hunt says:

    I can recommend the Jeanette Appleton book and the Hannah Lamb. Both from experienced textile artists. If you are a felter, Jeanettes book is a source of inspiration. Hannahs is a delight because of her very ‘light’ touch and approach.

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TextileArtist.org is a place for textile artists and art enthusiasts to be inspired, learn from the best, promote their work and communicate with like-minded creatives.

NEWSLETTER FOR TEXTILE & FIBER ARTISTS

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And discover how to create breathtaking art with textiles and stitch.

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