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Reclaimed Textiles: Techniques for Paper, Stitch, Plastic and Mixed Media Hardcover – August 5, 2014
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Materials include Solufleece, Bondaweb, Jones Tones heat transfer foils, mineral flakes, foil glue, Xandaprint paste, and various interfacings (Decovil 1 Light, S133). Techniques are fairly familiar and basic, including free-motion stitching (quilting and embroidery), bonding, painting, ironing/fusing, distressing, painting, and sealing. There's even a theoretical element of danger: burns from melting plastics and toxic fumes from heating foil food packaging. Unfortunately, and perhaps for liability purposes, there are no actual projects involving risk of such injuries.
There is a chapter each for textiles, paper, packaging, plastic, and mixed media. The approach is primarily gallery style, with brief descriptions of 25 featured artists, including the author, whose interesting work appears in each of the 5 chapters.
How-to projects with step-by-step instructions round out most chapters as follows: Textiles (a log cabin pillow cover, a pillow-cover made from a sweater), Paper (a chenille newspaper "pocket bag", a "pretty" - a strip-y sheet of paper built up from torn and layered surfaces - used to make a card, a canvas, and a brooch,), Packaging (a sampler wall piece made from shredded paper and painted Bondaweb), Plastic (none), Mixed Media (a book cover, a bangle bracelet, a box, a canvas wall piece). Some projects are more enticing than others. But I thought many - like those 2 been-done pillows - were pedestrian, even dreary. Of course, this can all be corrected by liberal application of your own ideas and talents.
The real visual splendor seems to reside in the gallery items. Among the most stunning is Clair Muir's ethereal tangerine-colored corsage made from foil food wrappers set upon a base of free-motion embroidery bound by wrapped wire. Also noteworthy are Isobel Moore's Flotsam and Jetsam fish, looking for all the world like stained glass creatures with tails made from melted freezer bags. (The book's cover features snippets of these.) Artsy yet almost practical are Laura Manning's masks, made rigid from layers of textiles ironed in with melted plastic bags and bubble wrap. I'm also enchanted by Val Griffith-Jones' slightly wacky hand-embroidered linens.
Instructions are often cryptic and not always linked to explanatory photographs. I've made hundreds of log cabin quilt blocks, yet I was disarmed and confused by the steps for that pillow cover. The index is quite terse, but the short glossary is helpful in explaining materials that might be unfamiliar to some readers. All the photographs are clear, colorful, and well-sized with a slightly satin finish.
Despite including 10 projects, the focus of Reclaimed Textiles seems to be on specific artists, a myriad of materials and products, and a "look what you can do if you only knew how" presentation meant to inspire. As such, this is not an intensive how-to book and might not be instructive for budding artists - especially given the molten ingredients that could be potentially involved.
Still, lovely to look at and tantalize your own imagination.