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REVIEW: Textile Nature

Author Anne Kelly is a Kent-based artist and tutor, and ‘Textile Nature’ is her second book. Plants, flowers, gardens, insects and birds provide a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers and makers everywhere. Here she shows you how to get the most out of your surroundings to create unique and original textile art.

Anne’s own practice has developed alongside her teaching and tutoring; she collects recycled fabric, paper and ephemera and uses collage, stitch, photographic and print processes in her textile work. In this inspirational guide, she features the work of international contemporary artists, makers and collaborative groups, demonstrating how all types of practitioners can draw influence from nature.

The introduction to ‘Textile Nature’ begins with a quote from the French Philosopher, Denis Diderot: “There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge … observation of nature, reflection and experimentation. Observation collects fact; reflection combines them and experimentation verifies the result of that combination”. Drawing on this, Anne explains that, with this book, “The journey will take you from its starting points through to making and exhibiting, looking at inspirational examples from around the world, and help you to ‘grow your own work’ and connect with green spaces”.

The book is split into 5 chapters. The first, ‘Drawing from Nature’, focuses on bringing you closer to the natural world. Generate your creativity with, for example, sketchbooks, mood boards and nature tables, and learn to record information in a way that will enable you to work with a variety of techniques. Chapter 2, ‘Planting in Cloth’, is about using leaves, trees and flowers in your work and includes step-by-step tips for stencilling and collage. The third chapter, ‘Taking Flight’, concentrates on bird and insect motifs, and how you can also employ them in three-dimensional and sculptural work. Chapter 4, ‘Working with Green Spaces’, continues the theme of the local environment and how to utilise available resources, with a focus on artists’ residencies in gardens. The fifth and final chapter, ‘Nature in Context’, demonstrates how subjects from nature can be used symbolically or for the further development of ideas, alongside relevant examples of practitioners’ work and a look at textiles from Goldsmiths College’s collection.

'Textile Nature' is a “stitched celebration of all things petalled, leaved, feathered, scaled and everything in between”. Stuffed with great examples of textile art, this is an informative and inspiring little source book for those who are looking for ideas and creative inspiration, and certainly worthy of a place on the book shelf.

Textile Nature by Anne Kelly, is published by Batsford. RRP £22.50

ISBN-10: 1849943435

ISBN-13: 978-1849943437