Monday, October 5, 2009
Stitch Alchemy--An Extra Credit Book Report
Stitch Alchemy by Kelli Perkins is one of my new books. I'm taking part in an online book study of Stitch Alchemy through Mixed Media Art Friends, a yahoo group. Belinda Spiwak is organizing the book study.
I've been waiting for Stitch Alchemy to come out since it was first advertised last spring. And it's not just because Kelli Perkins is My Own Personal Reference Librarian. Kelli has had many articles published in Cloth, Paper, Scissors, and she has appeared on Quilting Arts TV. Her work is accessible, colorful, and imaginative, and her writing is wonderful. So the book was bound to be good.
I've had the book for a couple of weeks now, and I have enjoyed it very much. It shows us how to combine paper and cloth into a textile that can be embellished and used like both paper and cloth. And anyone willing to get her fingers sticky can make paper-cloth!
First, the book is visually beautiful. The samples draw you in at first, but then you look at the rest of the page. This is not a black-text-on-white-page book. Everything is colorful and shows texture. Yet it isn't jarring or overwhelming, and you can easily settle on the text. The entire book is eye candy that won't give you a stomach ache.
Second, it is loaded with techniques to color and pattern paper-cloth. I mean really loaded. A quick count identified more than 80 different techniques, from dripping ink to thread sketching. These techniques may not all be new, and the descriptions are brief. But it's a treat to have them all in one place, making Stitch Alchemy a very useful reference. I found myself thinking about how I could combine a number of the techniques and how I could adapt them to just paper or just cloth. Kelli writes about serendipity, and I found myself anticipating serendipity.
Third, Stitch Alchemy is written for (and by) a lover of language. Kelli's librarian side shows in the way the book is written. And I don't mean the Shhh! kind of librarian. Think purple-streak-in-the-blond-hair kind of librarian. Meander, saturated glory, divine, montage, akin, rustaholic, hand-rendered. Different--simpler--words could have been used, but the book is much more fun to read with these words.
The last part of the book provides a number of projects to make with decorated paper-cloth. I'm not there yet. I'm still looking forward to the decorating. Now all I have to do is control my enthusiasm so I don't work way far ahead of the book study. Huh! I'm after the extra credit, so I'll start playing as fast as I want!