Review: Stitch Alchemy

14 Sep 2009

Now, here's a super fun book. I don't do much mixed media work, but I do loves me some crafty hybridizing. And Stitch Alchemy is a deep, deep exploration of paper cloth.

What's paper cloth? It's a blend of woven fabric and assorted papers. It's a fairly simple process with endless variations. And the resulting material can be used like cloth or like paper.

The whole book is styled with lots of color, texture, and fun props. it's all very collage-y.

Kelli Perkins has done a wonderful job of representing just how much creative possibility there is in paper cloth. There are pages and pages like these, showcasing all kinds of paints, inks, stamping techniques, markers, glues, masking techniques, and on and on.

This book has given me the seeds of at least ten new projects.

There's also a section of purely crafty techniques, like sewing, embroidery, quilting, and this cool reverse applique.

Did I mention, at least ten new projects? I'm totally wondering how much of this stuff I'd need to make in order to have covers for our Christmas zine this year. You should totally stop me from attempting that.

There are some projects, too, with full instructions, but overall I like that these take somewhat of a backseat to technique. I think I came away from this book much more inspired than I sometimes am from all-project books.

This pieced, appliqued pillow is really fun, isn't it? Imagine the soft toys you could make!

Paper cloth is also crying out to be made into book and journal covers. And, these paper dolls have loads of possibility. I'm thinking holiday cards, and bunting, and mobiles.

...And here's a paper quilt. Imagine this kind of thing as a table runner, or a set of placemats. Imagine turning it into a permanent shade for a window you want to cover up. Oh - and, postcards! And coasters.

I'm also thinking you could do the coolest little books for kids - maybe even with them helping to make the paper cloth, collaging in their favorite images.

Before I go too insane on my flights of fancy here, I should also point out that there's a gallery section of other artist' work. And it's fun to see this variety of styles. This piece, by Judy Coates Perez, uses wool batting, machine quilting, and hand-painted images. How wonderful!

Definitely, whether you consider yourself a mixed-media artist or not, take a look through this one next time you're at the book store. Then, come back here and tell me what ideas you came up with!

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Comments

Thank you so much for exposing me to this great technique! I didn't even realize that most of my artwork was paper cloth based, but just not given that name :) I too faced the same dilemma when combining stitching and paper - not stable enough. Canvas and glue was my solution. It's so fun to see all the amazing ways those three things can be combined! Thank you for sharing!


Looks awesome and yes, you should attempt to do this for all of your Christmas Zines.


Ack. I am so compelled by this idea, but have visions of wet paper
cloth sheets covering every inch of table and floor in this apartment,
and Pushkin tracking his little feet through them...


Ack. I am so compelled by this idea, but have visions of wet paper
cloth sheets covering every inch of table and floor in this apartment,
and Pushkin tracking his little feet through them...


Ah--I hang them from a clotheslines strung across the basement while they dry--altho I do put down newspaper to catch drips :)


Judy's work is amazing as well as all the others...wow, they take my breathe away!


This technique of paper cloth is new to me and very interesting. Textures and colors are what keeps me in love with quilting and other crafts and from looking at the colors and textures it excites me to know more!

Thanks for sharing,
Katie

www.quiltblocktour.blogspot.com


How beautiful!


Oooooi, that looks like a book I need to own, read and put to good use! Great review Diane, thanks. I'm putting it on my wish list for now, maybe I'll splurge soon. :-)


oh geez! I've GOT to get this book! I've recently been doing mixed-media work, combining my painted illustrations with fabric scraps & beading & hand-stitching it all onto canvas. But this "paper cloth" technique definitely seems like the way to take them to the next level for a more unified look. I'm so intrigued! Thanks for sharing this, Diane!


Yaaaaay! I think it's ALL about the paper cloth these days...


Thank you so much for exposing me to this great technique! I didn't even realize that most of my artwork was paper cloth based, but just not given that name :) I too faced the same dilemma when combining stitching and paper - not stable enough. Canvas and glue was my solution. It's so fun to see all the amazing ways those three things can be combined! Thank you for sharing!


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