Embroidery from Sketch to Stitch by Pat Langford is a great book to read if you are interested in crossing over from drawing and painting to fabric art.
This hardcover book is largely a series of illustrations showing embroidered work that relies on varying levels of painting as well. Generally, there isn’t much instructional material with the art; you’ll be reading this for inspiration, not instruction.
It is rich with full-color illustrations and wonderful ideas. If you’ve been staring at your sewing supplies, wondering what to do next, this book might be exactly what you need.
The author has provided examples of the sketches that she used to create some of this work. The photography also captures important elements in the art, including the dimensional embroidery.
I think that this is an excellent companion volume to the book Stitch Magic.
Since this book is out of print as I’m writing this in 2008, you’ll probably be buying a used copy. If the price is low enough, this is a book that is worth owning.
Otherwise, see if your public library has a copy, or if they can get it on inter-library loan.
Stitch Magic by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn is a glorious book about rich, dimensional embroidery techniques. It also addresses several other kinds of surface treatments for fabric, mostly related to embroidery.
The book begins with several historical references for a better understanding of the kinds of dimensional embroidery that have been used in the past.
From there, you’re shown several samples to practice on at home. This not only gives you an opportunity to build confidence, it also helps you understand your personal style of embroidery.
Chapter 2 talks about backgrounds. The first illustration in this chapter really excites me. The artist used a photo transfer from acrylic painting on cotton, and then embellished it with a variety of threads and copper wire. Without any further work, this piece could be displayed as fine art or used as a cover on an artist’s journal.
In Chapter 3, you’ll learn how to use a variety of stitches to add strength, describe atmospheric images, and create bold as well as subtle effects. The examples of innovative couching techniques make this book a must-own for anyone interested in embroidery as an extraordinary art form.
This book continues for many more chapters covering both hand and machine stitching.
Whether you are embellishing a quilt, a wall hanging, or wearable art, you’ll be inspired by this book.
As of 2008, this book is out of print. If you are attracted to surface design and embroidery, it is worth finding an affordable copy of this book and buying it. You’ll re-read it often.