Friday, November 25, 2011

Bad Blogger

That's me. I've been gone for so long I'm even beginning to question whether or not I have anything further to say. But, in lieu any new work of my own - all I've been doing is carding mountains of local fleece - I thought I might offer a book review.

Push Stitchery is a new offering from Lark, "curated" by Jamie Chalmers of Mr. X Stitch fame. It is beautifully printed and bound, and features 30 artists who "explore the boundaries of stitched art." I was familiar with many of the artists already, but put down cash for the book because of the few from outside of the USA and UK who were new to me.

I settled down for a nice couple of hours in front of the woodstove, leafing through the pages. It's totally my kind of thing, but I must confess to some disappointment. First of all, I found the range of work quite uneven, with some artists displaying great technical mastery and conceptual innovation, while others appeared to lack professional polish. Chalmers doesn't discuss his "curatorial" concept, other than mentioning the pushing of boundaries. The artists give their own blurbs, apparently in answer to a few stock questions. I would have much preferred a cogent discussion of why the artists were chosen, and in depth comment on some of the trends that are evident (the number of photographers and printmakers that add stitch to their images, the overuse of shocking images to transgress the cliche of female domesticity.)

I was very pleased to be introduced to the work of Lithuanian artist Severija Inciruskate-Kriauneviciene, who cross stitches on drilled metal buckets, shovels and car doors. As well, the rich, earthy and monumental work of Britain's Clyde Olliver, who combines stitch and slate, was an exciting discovery for me. Canada's Anna Torma and The Netherlands' Tilleke Schwartz are favourites of mine, and it was great to see new works of theirs included. The meticulous and refined graphic works of Peter Crawley of the UK, stitching on paper, were a standout for me too.

Although all of the artists included here can be found online, I like books. I can see taking Push Stitchery down from the shelf now and then for inspiration, and it's nice to have examples to show people who aren't familiar with current trends in embroidery and quilting. But I would recommend getting your library to order it and have a look before investing your own money in it.

2 comments:

  1. I was wondering what happened to you, I am glad to hear that all is well.
    I checked online the works of the artists that you mention, it has been an interesting eye opener. Peter Crawley is amazing.

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  2. I'm enjoying your reviews. Perhaps you aren't blogging as frequently but your posts are thoughtful and interesting. Much better than large quantities of fluff.

    I've been having a hard time blogging as well. Sometimes living life is just so much more interesting!

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