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Tools and materials 8
All about layering 14
Hand stitch embellishment 36
Inspiration and Design 44
Finding ideas 46
Textile art 64
Creating with colour 76
Pushing the Boundaries 84
Trapunto carving 92
Book stacks 98
Sculptural book stacks 102
Twisted spirals 110
Twisted blooms and buds 116
Flower puffs 126
Three-dimensional applique 84
Going further 142
Ann lives and works in Hertfordshire, and has exhibited widely in the UK, America and Canada. She trained in Canada, and also at Goldsmith's College, London. She has a Fine Art degree, and with her love of colour and design, she has developed unusual and exciting techniques in her current textile art work. Ann now devotes her time to mentoring and making, developing her work for exhibitions and galleries. She will be a featured artist in the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017.
At first sight the techniques described here seem to target machine and hand sewers. But delve deeper and you may see clear potential for fabric and yarn to be dyed or woven specifically to include in art pieces, interior items or costume using these methods. The layering of colour and pattern, also known as reverse applique, involves stacking cloth, stitching to form a design, then slashing or cutting away to expose cloth beneath. Starting with the basic technique to create a small sample, the author introduces ways of producing more complex effects, then shows how these might be combined and embellished: it is the nuances of how layers are prepared, treated and finished that create the lively effects described here. A section on finding and developing design ideas includes some refreshing tips and widely applicable advice on scaling up and sampling, then finishing and care of work. Not a book for everyone, but if you have come to dye or weave from other textile crafts, this may well inspire you to look again at how your knowledge of a variety of textile skil ls may be combined and explored further.-- Norah Bell (Online Guild) * Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers *
Ann Small's imaginative use of cutting and manipulating techniques and her layering and colouring tricks make this your go-to guide for bringing form and texture to your fabric artwork. This book is a rich resource and reference for textile artists seeking new ideas and who want to experiment with reverse applique and related techniques such as layering, trapunto, stacks, puffs, and fabric manipulation.* Be Creative With Workbox *
This inspiring book forms part of the popular and beautifully photographed series of books under the label of 'The Textile Artist', published by Search Press. The series is aimed at the more creative stitcher and budding textile artists. The book is predominantly a technique guide but it does include a number of interesting projects that you can attempt to try out what you have learnt and consolidate the techniques...The book is an excellent resource for a creative stitcher who is looking for something a bit different to take into their stitching and is a great reference on using these innovative techniques.-- Julie Briggs * Sewing Directory *
Layer stacks of fabric, and then slash and decorate them for a richly textured look. I thought that I had done (or at least seen) most forms of fabric manipulation but this is new to me and looks most impressive. It is a good way of making the most of all sort of leftovers and doing a lot with a little, turning the ordinary into something new and exciting. Most of the tools needed are the same as those required for ordinary sewing, and if you sew you will already own stacks of fabrics. This is a book aimed squarely at the experienced needlecrafter who is up for something fresh and challenging and who already has the basics under their belt.
There are seven step-by-step projects in here, and plenty of preliminary information to get you started. This large format book also has lots of lush good-sized photographs to get the creative juices flowing. All the staged photographs are a decent size too which is essential for such an unfamiliar craft, where the samples have so much detail. After the section on tools and materials there are several chapters showing how to layer the fabric and grids for the slashing part. Each chapter has ample written instructions and enough photographs and diagrams, including some for simple embroidery stitches. After this comes a section on inspiration and design, focussing on ideas, keeping a sketchbook and stylizing the real world into workable drawings. This is very helpful, showing the progression from inspiration (eg a field of lavender) through to a painting, a simplified drawing, a design and finally the finished piece. The next section, entitled Pushing The Boundaries looks at "advanced techniques" and contains four staged projects. The final section on 3D applique has three projects, and each project is designed to get you working on a particular type of layering technique. Fabric puffs, trapunto, booklike stacks, twisted spirals of cloth and more look amazingly complicated until they are explained and you work through the stages. It is all great fun for needlecrafters and something a bit different. As a maker of wearable art I was pleased to see how many projects are for wearable items as opposed to the usual pictures and cushions. One for the keeper shelf.-- Rachel A Hyde * Myshelf.com *
Ann Small has taken the basic layering-and slashing technique to
a new level. With a fabulous eye for colour, clever placement of
fabric layers, and imaginative cutting an manipulation, Ann has
created fantastic visual and textural effects. The reader is guided
through choosing materials and the
basic methods, finding and recording ideas, and interpreting designs into cloth and thread. Through a wide range of beautifully illustrated examples, Ann explains her creative process - an excellent resource for informing your own work. For those who want to take things even further, there's also a chapter on advanced techniques. If this is a method you'd like to explore, this book
would be an invaluable reference.
What a great book! Lovely to see a book which covers in detail a
single subject and shows you several techniques within that sphere
that you can try and master. So many books glaze over a variety of
techniques trying to cover too much thinly, thereby not doing real
justice to each skill set. Here you can move through layering and
cutting to achieve quite different effects.
A super book and well worth buying to see how to achieve some of the effects Id only seen at the wonderful shows ( NEC/Harrogate etc)
I once saw an amazing ammonite configuration and now understand how it can be done!
Project pieces explained clearly and the photographs clarify the construction and methods completely.
A great buy.
This inspirational publication takes you from your first steps to larger projects in clear easy stages. It covers materials needed and suggestions as to where to find inspiration, whilst leaving scope for your own creations. As always with Search Press it ie excellent value for money.-- Diana Balfour * Customer Review *
This book contains lots of hints and tips for those new to textile work, but it is also an inspirational book that will delight all textile artists, including experienced artists. The beautiful photographs aid the clear instructions throughout and will help to develop knowledge and skills. I particularly like the section that shows you how to adapt a working design by using grids and how to scale up your own design ideas.-- Heather Langstaff * Customer Review *
As I was turning pages of the Book Stacks chapter, a technique
developed by Ann Small, I was tingling with excitement. This is
what I was looking for ages. At last, I have found a technique, I
definitely shall use in some of my future work.
Layering with colour chapter opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be achieved with just one simple technique of slashing to reveal the layers of lush colours. Ann Small definitely has a magical relationship with colour. The layering techniques and optical mixing are like pointillist painter's palette.
Ann Small shows her journey through the inspiration to the finish piece, including her tips and 'breaking the rules' notes are like having a chat with an old friend.
If you want a book with a pattern and a 'step by step instructions' of how to recreate someone else's ideas - this book is not for you. This book is more like a standing back and encouraging you to explore 'tutor'. Ann Small included questions and a list of approaches to encourage critical thinking about one's work and ways to move forwards. It is bursting with ideas, lush colours and creativity. It is an absolute 'must have' to any budding textile artist, student or like me, person who just want to play and have fun with textiles.
Get it - You won't regret it. And most of all - get creative and in Ann own words - '..play with fabrics and paint'.
The photography in Layered Cloth: The Art of Fabric Manipulation shows the woven threads of the worked fabric so clearly that it provides extra guidance for the reader. Having never even considered attempting this kind of sewing, I gladly stared at the images and made plans in my mind of what I might try with the stash of fabric I have acquired over the years. And I feel almost confident in my limited abilities because of the tone of Ann's words, which is such a comfort to a sewing novice like me.
The focus is firmly on techniques, rather than complete projects, which I think is a huge plus point. Learning by experimenting is one of the keys to finding your own style, and this book is superb in providing ideas and new avenues of possibilities of fabric and its purpose, structure, and texture.
This wouldn't have been the kind of book that I'd have thought about buying. That I was fortunate enough to receive a copy to review is beyond a delight because, now, I truly believe that I can create unique fabric pieces, with her reassuring words beside me.-- Lucy Palmer * Customer Review *
Love this book! Beautiful pictures to show how the work is achieved with various techniques. Can not wait to give some of the projects ago!-- Pauline Valentine * Customer Review *
Ann Small is an experienced textile artist and tutor and in this new title in 'The Textile Artist' series, she explores the methods used to transform cloth, where coloured fabrics are stacked, sewn and cut to produce an exciting tactile surface. By working through the book, following Ann's comprehensive instructions and suggestions, a personal portfolio of samples and designs can be created. There are seven beautiful step-by-step projects for the reader to work, covering all the techniques used, to add depth and vibrancy. Richly illustrated in colour throughout this is a must-have book for anyone wishing to explore new ways to develop their own work creatively thereby taking it to a higher level. Highly recommended.* East Kent Embroiderers Guild *
Ann Small is one of my favourite textile artists and, judging from the popularity of her articles in Workshop on the Web, she is one of yours as well. You won't be disappointed in this book. As the title suggests, layering fabric and cutting it back to reveal the treasures beneath are at the heart of this book. But there is so much more.
There is a very informative section on the general topic of layering and Ann shows in clear stages the technique for what I call 'faux chenille', where you layer fabrics, stitch straight lines and then cut to the base fabric. Variations of this demonstrate surprisingly different effects and, together with stitching, form a substantial section of the book. Ideas, from inspiration, sketchbook and transfers to fabric, form the next section and there are some great ideas there.
The book sings with colour from beginning to end and there is a chapter on working with colour which extends into its use with stitched pieces. The advanced techniques in the exciting 'Pushing the Boundaries' section include chunky trapunto and carved columns; much of the remainder of the book continues the theme of 'carved from cloth'.
This is a great book; it makes you want to 'have a go', always an excellent sign.* Workshop on the Web *
Astounded by this book. Not sure where to start. From cover to finish it is simply marvellous. I find everything about it sheer joy. It defied my expectations completely. The level of work is amazing and not one page deviates from the high level Ann achieves. The work is rich, sumptuous and unusual. As a colourist, Ann is simply magnificent and like me, you will probably flick through this book just for the colours. The contents page does not conjure up what is in store: Inspiration and Design, Pushing The Boundaries, Three-Dimensional Applique, but the actual work will leave you gasping for breath. It is stunning. Layer, cut, fold back, stitch, insertions, edging, bindings, working with grids and so much more. You'll see the methods, sources of inspiration, how to finish work. There are step-by-step projects so that you can familiarise yourself with the process. The trapunto section is wonderful and the book stacks and puffs work is equally engaging. I cannot recommend this book enough, it gives so much. I wish it were a hardback and I am certain that the publisher will be re-printing this within 6 months because everyone must have it. The Textile Artist series is a good series of books, this is the strongest title yet, it deserves a fanfare, it really is in a class all of its own. For textile and colour lovers everywhere. Recommendation? Absolutely, I'm telling you this is a MUST-HAVE.* Yarnsandfabrics.co.uk *