Tuesday 17 January 2017

Book Review... Natural Processes in Textile Art. By Alice Fox

I love Books
I like the moment you open one
and sink into it.
You can escape from the world.

I believe this statement whole heartily and this is the case either with a good reading or stitchery book,
with my fabulous Christmas gift of a book bale I have had some great cookery, reading and stitching books.  I reported on one last week and this is this weeks book review for you.

It is Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox and it is fabulous.  On the front cover is says from rust dyeing to found objects and is such a fabulous read as well as a source of great techniques to use on fabrics if you wish to.

In the words of the Author Alice Fox says: Work creatively with your surroundings to capture the unpredictability of nature and sense of place in your textile work.  
This innovative guide is packed with inspiring ideas, from natural dyeing techniques with plants and leaves to weaving with found or foraged items, and from rust printing and mark making to building up texture with stitch.

Alice talks about Botanical collecting, responsible collecting and guidelines for picking - As you all know I have been doing this for years now, dyeing my vintage linens with hand dyed and natural dyes and I enjoy it but Alice will put a leaf in fabric and let the
natural dye come out as a shape onto fabrics as well.

There is a chapter on rust marking, foraged fibres and combining techniques and page after page there is something wonderful to read and look at as well.

Keeping records/journal about what your foraged and what results is encouraged and well as you know I am a great advocate for that process and agree totally with it.

Layering in stitchery work is beautiful and adds dimension and interest there are no rules anymore and stitchery in art form has become so free that its only imagination that could hold you back from creating beautiful and unique work.  I know there is still a big place for precise stitching, patchwork and quilting for one and of course dress making, but as far as needle work pictures and embellishments for fabrics is concerned - anything goes.

Layering with different fabrics and textures and adding stitches, old papers and applique with some hand embroidery stitched in for good measure can make beautiful pieces for yourself of for a gift.

As I use only very old fabrics in my work I would not leave a piece of fabric outside to rust with a key in it say because I would worry all night about that little piece of fabric and would probably end up getting up at 3am and worrying everyone with a torch in the garden whilst saving my treasures! but with newer fabrics, and to age them , then it would be fabulous try it out on.  I do however like the idea of the leaf idea and it can be done inside and without too much upset for me or my precious fabrics.

I adore learning new ideas and techniques to be able to put my own mark on with designs and ideas and I am enjoying reading this book thoroughly. The picture on the right, taken from the book reminds me of a slice of bruised apple .. its wonderful.  At school when I was taking my exams my theme for my course work and exam in Art was apples and peppers and all pieces had to be completed in pencil, painting, clay and on the exam day applique and I did pass I am glad to say ... I think that is why this piece jumped out to me....

It is a wonderful read and opens your mind to all the possibilities in fabrics and stitchery so I can give this book the thumbs up for you.

Today is a sad day for me as it was 18 years ago this day that my gorgeous Dad died and I am going to his grave to tidy it and put some fresh flowers for him .... cold or not I am taking time out to go visit for a little chat.

Hoping you have enjoyed a little look and read about this book.  Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX


  1. That book sounds really inspiring and inventive. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice chat with your dad darling xxx

    1. Dawn
      It's a fab book! Really a great read, inspirational and informative !

      I had a good chat with my Dad when I took him his roses.. told him how missed he is.

  2. Like you I couldn't do that to fabrics. I cannot tear pages out of a magazines, so I would never do it to a books, so in fact I probably never do that to fabrics

    Julie xxxxxxxx

    1. Julie
      Scraps of fabric maybe but I have to confess I probably wouldn't ...
      Strange but true! Lol
      Sarah xxx

  3. Hi Sarah,
    So glad I found your site, both of them. From the Susan Branch site. Looking forward to going though all your posts, and collections. I too love books, can't stop ordering them or finding them at thrift stores and garage sales. I make samplers and embroider dish towels, etc, so as I said love your sites.
    Nancy Jo

    1. Hi Nancy Jo

      How lovely! With me finding Susan Branch products and then you finding me! Are you from America?

      Thank you for your lovely words about my blog I am so pleased you found me. Well I hope you enjoy reading and I always reply to comments made so I look forward to your thoughts and anything you would like to share Nancy Jo...

      There will be another book review next week from my bale of books I had for Christmas so watch this space.

      You say you make samplers is that cross stitch or do you use appliqué and embroidery or both. I love cross stitching too and do that in my spare time as well.

      So lovely to virtually meet you and I hope to hear from you again.

      Sarah xx

    2. HI Sarah,
      So nice of you to reply. Don't know where you get the time with all you do.
      Yes I'm from NY, A small town near Buffalo NY, I was brought up on farm about 60 miles from here.
      I love cross stitch. I show some of my work on my blog. I have made lots of needlework pillows and samplers and dish towels. I love paper two. Always cutting out things. And of course books. Are their enough hours in a day?
      I will be watching to see what you are up to.
      Nancy Jo

    3. Hi Nancy Jo!
      Ahhh love NY! We have great friends who live in Hoboken and we try to fly out to see most years in October time!
      We met them around 7/8 years ago whilst on Martha's Vineyard and kept in touch. Last year they came to us in England! ... Thom works in NY .. love the high line and of course Central Park... we fly into Boston when we come and rent a suburban... adore Boston too..
      Well would love to see your work ....
      will let you know next time we are there .. maybe meet up for a coffee....

      Enjoy your read .. what's your blog name .then I can join that to read ..

      Sarah xx

  4. Sarah,
    To see my blog, just click on my name and it will go to a spot that says Nancy Jo at home, click on that.
    I guess meeting you in NY CITY, would be a bit of a trick. I have never been there, we are about 8 to 10 hours from there. Except for a few of the bigger cities NY State is pretty rural, lots of farms and green. I noticed that the posts I wrote here have a B by them, that is where you chick on my name.
    Sounds like you have traveled a lot. Since I have followed Susan Branch forever, I feel like I have been to England, SOOOO PRETTY.
    Nancy JO

    1. Nancy Jo
      Sorry I forget how fast your country is! NY .. I think of as well NY ... not how far it is!
      Will click on to join your blog XX