Celebrating the Stitch: Contemporary Embroidery of North America

Barbara Smith, Author Taunton Press $34.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-942391-39-8
This exceptional volume bears witness to the movement of embroidery out of the parlor and into the artist's studio. Chicago embroiderer Smith, whose own constructions feature spray paint, a variety of threads and machine embroidery, interviews forward-looking needleworkers and introduces their startling productions, explaining not only how the artists compose their pieces but why they choose particular media. Some use traditional forms and subvert them, as in Caroline Dahl's Terror Sampler II , emblazoned ``You've made my life a living burning hell.'' Others incorporate space-age materials, as in Patricia Malarcher's Mylar quilts and prayer rugs. And many benefit from technologies--e.g., color-photocopying and heat-transferring. Most, though not all, are boldly three-dimensional, calling on a heady mix of techniques. A plethora of examples (240 photos, 209 of them in color) is inspiration enough, but Smith also explores creative issues (e.g., generating ideas) and suggestions for new approaches (e.g., for overcoming blocks). A glossary defines basic terms and diagrams various stitches. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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