Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Leave a comment

Assignment 4 – Books

Books that have supported this section include:

Jefferies J & Quinn B, Monem N (ed) (2008) Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art  (Black Dog Publishing)

Very useful for the Research point at the beginning of Assignment 4

Lee R. (2010) Three Dimensional Textiles, Coils, Loops, Knots and Nets Batsford

Colourful book, lots of photographs of ‘Three Dimensional Textiles, Coils, Loops, Knots and Nets’!

Maslen, Mick & Southern, Jack (2014) Drawing Projects an exploration of the language of drawing (Black Dog Publishing)

A book, reviewed by Rebecca Fairley, which claims to contain ‘a set of aims and objectives within an established framework that collectively assemble into what might be called “a Foundation Course in Drawing”.  I have tried some of the exercises and have found it very interesting so far.

Monaghan, Kathleen & Joyner, Hermon (2000)  You Can Weave  Davis Publications Inc

A book containing ‘Projects for Young Weavers’, well photographed and useful for the beginner.

Sheehan & Tebley S (2003) Ann Sutton Lund Humphries

Walsh P (2006) The YarnBook A&C Black

Lots of information about the history, production, fibre content and construction of yarn 

Wilcox T & Penny C (2011) Tapestry A Woven Narrative, Black Dog Publishing

Big reference book containing a little history and lots of colour pics and profiles of contemporary weaving & artists



TEXTILES: Preparing for Higher Education – Sketchbooks – Additional Reading

Bleiweiss, Sue (2012) The Sketchbook Challenge  Potter Craft

A nicely presented selection of different artists journals sketchbooks and techniques.  Nothing new to me but a very enjoyable read.

Brereton, Richard (2009) Sketchbooks the hidden ART of designers illustrators and creatives Laurence King Publishing Limited

An interesting, eclectic, collection of the working sketchbooks of designers, illustrators and creatives, accompanied by a short narrative from each artist.

Gooding, Mel (1994) Patrick Heron (Phaidon)

A comprehensive, illustrated look at the work of Patrick Heron.

Greenlees, Kay (2005) Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists

This is a more comprehensive book than The Sketchbook Challenge and Artists’ Journals and Sketchbooks.  It focuses on creating ‘Sketchbooks’ rather than journals.  I have revisited this book many times throughout my studies to help improve my confidence and each time, something else clicks into place.

Hornung, David ( 2004) Colour, A Workshop for Artists and Designers

A thorough and complex exploration of colour.  This too I have revisited several times. When I first encountered this book, it was a daunting tome, but the more I learn, the more valuable it becomes.

Perella Lynne (2004) Artists’ Journals & Sketchbooks Quarry Books

Similar to The Sketchbook Challenge above, this has a  selection of ideas and techniques for Journals and sketchbooks and different artists’ work.  My preference is for The Sketchbook Challenge as it’s a little more contemporary.

Piyasene, Sam & Philip, Beverly (2013) Just Draw It  Search Press Ltd.

An excellent book for those of us who just need to draw!  Lots of fabulous, user friendly ideas to get you putting pen/pencil to paper with details of specific Artists’ work to reference on practically every page.  Just do it!

Leave a comment

Book Review: Connecting Art to Stitch – Sandra Meech

This is a comprehensive workshop type book covering Subjects and Design, Draw, Sketch and Stitch, Colour, Painting, Mixed Media.  To work through it would be like an assignment in itself but, if you have time, it includes a wealth of well described and illustrated techniques to improve art skills and unlock creativity.  Would recommend.

Leave a comment

Bibliography – Assignment 3

During this assignment, I have read extensively and made notes from some of the books.  They have all been of interest but, for the practical work, Contemporary Applique by Julia Triston and Rachel Lombard was indispensable and inspirational.  Fusing Fabric by Margaret Beal and Layered Textiles by Kim Thittichai were also very useful as I had no previous knowledge of heat tools.

Beal, M (2007) Fusing Fabric (Batsford) – A comprehensive, easy to follow introduction to working with a soldering iron.

Beaney J and Littlejohn J (2000) Complete Guide to Creative Embroidery (Page 94  Rediscovering Applique) – Interesting samples of textural applique work.

Beaney J (1997) Vanishing Act (Double Trouble Enterprises) – as above

Dodson B ((1985) Keys to Drawing (North Light) – helping me try different approaches to drawing

Campbell-Harding V & Grey M (2006) Stitch Dissolve Distort with Machine Embroidery (Batsford) – lots of useful information in here, of particular interest to me – dragging and experimenting with machine stitch.

Cole, Drusilla (2008) Textiles Now (Laurence King Publishing Ltd) – interesting collection of work and information on some of todays textile designers. 

Edmonds J (2009) three-dimensional Embroidery (Batsford) – Some contemporary examples of manipulating fabric.

Greenlees, Kay ( 2005) Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists – A reminder of what to gather and differing approaches to sketchbooks

Grey M (2006) Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery (Batsford) – not much for this assignment but a bit about bondaweb and heat tools.

Hedley, Gwen (2004) Surfaces for Stitch – a bit about Tyvek and heat tools.

Holmes C (2010) The Found Object in Textile Art (Batsford) – Considering re-cycling theme and good section on sketchbooks

Holmes, Val (2003) The Encyclopaedia of Machine Embroidery (Batsford) – reminding myself of a few techniques

Issett R (2007) Print Pattern & Colour (Batsford) – fantastic book I couldn’t get hold of during last assignment, love her use of colour.

Issett Ruth (2009) Colour on Cloth (Batsford) – as above

Leland, Nita (2011) New Creative Collage Techniques  (North Light Books) – a few ideas, read it on a kindle on a train,

Meech Sandra (2009) Connecting Art to Stitch (Batsford) – Looks interesting, borrowed to look at for ideas for theme book.

Parrott Helen (2013) Mark Making (Batsford) – Loved this book, also one I couldn’t get hold of for last assignment, lots of ideas for exploring with hand stitch.  Will be returning to it to look in more detail.

Perrin M (1999) Magnificent Molas The Arts of the Kuna Indians – lovely examples of reverse applique 

Quinn Bradley (2009) Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge Laurence King – fascinating insight to some of the designer textiles available today. 

Tellier-loumagne, Francoise (2006) The Art of Embroidery (Thames & Hudson) – Adored this book, wish it was in my collection – beautiful examples of embroidery, accompanied by photographs of inspiration. Another I couldn’t get hold of during last assignment.

Thittichai K (2011) Layered Textiles (Batsford) – very helpful information on tyvek, lutrador and evolon and heat tools.

Thittichai, K (2009) Experimental Textiles (Batsford) – useful section on developing design ideas.

Thorne, D (2009) Transparency in Textiles (Batsford) – useful section on shadow applique.

Triston J & Lombard R. (2014) Contemporary Applique (Batsford) – fantastic book, should be on the reading list.

Wolff C (1996) The Art of Manipulating Fabric (Chilton) – very informative but traditional. 

Embroidery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2014, The Photographer’s eye.  Melissa Zexter – embroidered photographs.

Selvedge Issue 62

Crafts Magazine Issue 252

Leave a comment

Part 3 Creating Shapes and Three-dimensional Forms – Project 6 Manipulating fabric – Stage 2 Developing ideas & Stage 3 Applied fabric techniques

After sending off my last assignment and before receiving feedback which suggested that my samples should develop ideas, I experimented with Bondaweb, Soluvlies, Tyvek, Lutrador and Evolon.


Using a technique described in Kim Thittichai’s book, Layering Textiles, the fabric, two pieces of bondaweb (with the backing paper removed) and one piece of soluvlies are layered.  The sandwich is then stitched to hold it all together and to produce the required texture.  The top burgundy (left) and turquoise (right) were stitched in close parallel lines:


The other two were free machined randomly.


The stitched pieces were then steamed by hovering a steam iron just above the fabric.  The results were almost immediate.  I think the turquoise is the most effective.

Below various polyester organza, tulle & synthetic fabrics have been machined onto acrylic felt and then distressed with a heatgun.


This required a light touch so as no to destroy the fabrics completely with the heat gun.

The following (green page) was inspired by a piece by Doreen Woodrow, ‘Delicate Decay’ on page 66 of Layered Textiles by Kim Thittichai. Purchased hand-dyed scrim was sandwiched between two layers of soluvlies and free machined in circles then rinsed and squeezed in water to dissolve the soluvlies.   This was effective, especially like the undyed, individual circles.


Above (lilac page).  Coloured Evolon with disperse dyes, which were painted onto paper with wax resist, allowed to dry and ironed on in layers.


The following shows Tyvek painted with dye-na-flow and procion dye and Lutrador also coloured with dye-na-flow:


Cotton scrim free-machined in parallel lines sandwiched between baking paper and ironed from the the top and reverse to 55gm Tyvek to give different effects:


Covered cord and string couched to Tyvek, sandwiched between two sheets of baking paper, and ironed from the reverse.


Five layers of Tyvek painted both sides with procion dye and dye-na-flow, interleaved with 4 layers of polyester organza and tulle, laid on top of heavy weight sew in interfacing coloured with disperse dyes, free-machined in a leaf design using cotton thread and distressed with a heat gun.


Leave a comment

Understanding the Textile World – Textiles Now by Drusilla Cole

I have, as promised, joined the library at UCA Farnham and have enjoyed Textiles Now by Drusilla Cole.  (Cole D. (2008) Textiles Now Laurence King).

It is comprehensive collection of mostly three-dimensional contemporary textile designs selected by Drusilla Cole.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and made a note of my favourite pieces.

The book is divided into three sections, Contructed being the title of the first section in which I was drawn to some striking examples of Jessica Preston’s work which can also be seen here:

Although I’m not inspired to try and make a sculptural textile piece in this way, I was drawn into her work and fascinated by what she has achieved by pleating and folding cotton.  I love the contrast in the monochrome samples and the detail in all the pieces.

I also really admired Anna Kyyro Quinn‘s cushions in sculpted felt, I like the movement the curves create in the felt, the rhythm, light and shade created by the structure. Examples of smaller interior design pieces can be seen here:

Although she also has an impressive portfolio of acoustic panels here:   and

The delicacy and apparent softness of Jeung-Hwa Park’s work is also very appealing.  She combines knitting and felting to create innovative scarves.

In the Dyed, Printed and Painted section of the book, I enjoyed the work of Isabella Whitworth whose hand painted silk crepe de Chine scarves ‘Stalks’ and ‘Meadow’ attracted me with their use of colour.

I liked a dyed and discharge printed piece of Iseta silk cotton and viscose silk satin bonded together to produced a wall hanging inspired by a chestnut by Lorna Davis but I haven’t been able to find any similar pieces of her work to show you here.

A delicately machine embroidery in a graphic leaf pattern on sheer polyester organza by the Design Team Nya Nordiska caught my attention but there isn’t anything very similar in their current collection.

I also liked a dip-dyed mauve cashmere piece printed and stitched in a line drawing design of tree peonies by Saori Okabe in collaboration with Elena Tsyptakova which I think must have been produced when they were studying together as I can’t find any work or up to date information about them.

The Mixed Media Stitched Textiles section included work by Poppy Treffry who deserves a special mention as it was her simple but effective free-stitched applique that inspired me to get my sewing machine out three years ago and set me on this creative path.

Whilst looking for examples of work by the artists I admired in the book Textiles Now, I came across more fabric manipulations here:


Part 2 Building a visual vocabulary – Project 3 Colour – Stage 6 Combining textures and colour effects

During this stage I have looked at the work of the French Impressionists (after 1870) who painted colours in dots or small brushstrokes with the effect that the eye of the viewer mixes the colours.  We are recommended to look at Seurat’s paintings.  A good example of ‘pointillism’, the name given to using dots of colour to achieve optical effects, is

The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe, 1890 (oil on canvas) Seurat, Georges Pierre (1859-1891)

In Seurat’s paintings, he uses dots of colour whereas Henri-Edmond Cross uses dashes which are more directional and I think give more movement to the painting.

A Pine Grove 1906  Cross, Henri-Edmond (18556-1910)

I love the stillness and moonlight of this painting:-

Camaret, Moonlight and Fishing Boats 1894(oil on canvas) Luce Maximillien (1858-1941)

Colour interaction is also discussed in David Hornung’s book in Part Five: Colour Interaction Optical Mixing (Hornung D (2004) Colour, A Workshop for Artists and Designers).  He states that “When a field of colour is composed of small, particulate colour shapes, your mind fuses the disparate visual phenomena into a comprehensible whole”.  To try and illustrate this I have photographed a mosaic made for me by a friend of mine close up and from a distance.


Hornung says that with mosaics and some woven textiles where the units are big enough to be seen but still merge into a whole picture, the eye can alternate between the two views and that this sensation can make the experience of seeing them ‘almost tactile’.   I think I can relate to this although I would describe the experience of looking at mosaics as almost three-dimensional.

Leave a comment

Books which have supported my coursework to date

I have read the following books from the book list, some several times and have learned something from each one.  I have added a few brief notes regarding each title.

  • Greenlees, K (2005) Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists, London Batsford.  This reminded me that textile workers sketchbooks are to accumulate resource material for textiles and focus on texture, colour & structure and definitely boosted my confidence when I was struggling with ‘drawing’.  At this stage in my learning, I’m not sure I need it in my collection and to have borrowed it from the library would have been sufficient.
  • Hedley G (2010) Draw to Stitch London Batsford – This is a very useful book, it was particularly helpful to me in the early stages as it “is aimed at those who are perhaps reticent when it comes to drawing as a preparation for stitch”.  It clearly illustrates with detailed photographs and narrative, the process from observation to drawing to stitch, with tips on noting the details of colour and textural qualities, equipment, preparation of backgrounds, colour, printing and wonderful photographs of drawings and stitch.  I will refer to this again in future.
  • McElroy.D &Wilson. (2011) Surface Treatment Workshop North Light Books –  I bought this to read on my kindle (a cheaper option), which may have affected by judgement as the book may have had more impact.  It clearly demonstrates in step-by-step form how to create backgrounds using numerous techniques.  If this were my focus at the moment, it would be more useful to me.  Whilst the processes were very well illustrated, I wasn’t keen on the art produced.
  • Beaney J and Littlejohn J,(2000) Complete Guide to Creative Embroidery Batsford I imagine these ladies must have been ahead of their time when this and their other books were first published.  I found the work depicted fascinating.  The title is divided into two books, Design to Embroider by Jean Littlejohn and Stitched images by Jan Beaney. The first half covers mark making, backgrounds, design, learning to look and exploring ideas.  The second half includes information about fabric paints, applique, stitch themes, machine embroidery and selecting a theme. It includes a wealth of detailed, textural stitching and guidance.  A must read if your interest lies in creative embroidery.
  • Beaney J and Littlejohn J, (2011) Stitches, Rhythms and Patterns Double Trouble Enterprises  – This is a lovely book.  I had resisted buying it as I have several of the authors’ older books, but it is a delight and inspiration to me.  It is set out simply, with a photograph and/or collage/sketch of the source of inspiration, techniques, the stitched examples, with each section accompanied by some short, but very informative notes.  The finished work is breathtakingly beautiful.  For me it illustrates how a piece of work can develop from a simple observation.  As above this is particularly informative for the embroiderer.
  • Hedley G (2004) Surfaces for Stitch Batsford – This is another well illustrated and useful book covering different methods of creating and altering surfaces for stitch, well worth a read for the textural stitcher.
  • Holmes V (1991) The Machine Embroiderers Work book BatsfordThis is an old fashioned book which I bought second hand.  I found it very useful when exploring whip, feather and cable stitch and other machine embroidery.  It helped with the technical detail and gave some structure to my explorations. Once I had the basic skills, I was more confident and inventive with my experiments.
  • Hornung, D (2004) Colour A Workshop for Artists and Designers Laurence King.   I enjoyed this book too, having an interest in colour and colour mixing and look forward to exploring the subject more in Project 3.
  • Caprara J (2008) Exploring Colour d 4Daisy – This is inspirational to me and one of  my current favourites.  It includes suggested exercises to explore ‘experimental approaches to colour and stitch’ .  Different weighted, textured yarns and threads are hand stitched in skillfully selected colours to produce vibrant, carpet like examples.

Issett R (2013) A Passion for Colour Search Press Ltd. – Although not on the reading list,  this is also an inspirational, vibrant collection of  colour and stitch, exploring colour ‘through paper print fabric thread and stitch’ .

I have dipped into the following books, borrowed from the library and need to revisit them in future:

Colchester, C (2009) Textiles Today: A Global Survey of Trends and Traditions London Thames and Hudson

Gale C and Kaur J, (2002)  The Textile Book Berg Publishing

Berger J (2008) Ways of Seeing Penguin Classics

I can see a pattern occurring in the above comments and notice that I am strongly influenced by my current passions.   My strengths in stitch and practical work are reflected in the books that inspire me and my weakness in exploring Textiles  in context are highlighted by the fact that I have only dipped into those books.  This needs addressing in future.