Sunday, June 19, 2022

Weekend Review: The Resilient Stitch


Resilient Stitch / Claire Wellesley-Smith
London: Batsford, c2021.
128 p.

This is another Batsford book; I really do enjoy these. This book focuses on Wellesley-Smith's interests in using resonant textiles and how thoughtful making and community play into the resilience of textiles.

In this book she shares resilience through a number of themes, and shares the way that making in varied communities and settings shapes the dialogue between maker and item. 

The chapters are organized by these themes:

  • Material
  • Community
  • Environment
  • History
  • Conclusion: a resilient textile
As in most Batsford books, the text is full of imagery, large and full colour. This book is particularly interesting because the author focuses on her own work but also that of many other established textile artists, mostly British. I do find that British textiles have a distinctive style, lots of reuse and old tattered cloth. It's not my own style but I still enjoy looking through what others are making.

Other artists featured include Amy Meissner, Lynn Setterington, Ruth Singer, Angela Maddock, Bridget Harvey, Raisa Kabir, Alice Kettle, and Willemien de Villiers. All of their websites are worth checking out! 

There is a timely and fascinating community project included in this book, the Covid Stitch Journal. She had participants responding in stitch to various prompts during lockdowns, and the results are compelling. Wellesley-Smith has examples of the stitch journal on her website so check it out to see the idea behind this project. 

I enjoyed this read, although it's not the kind of textile work I like to do myself. Still fascinating, though: the connections between stitch and well-being are clear in this text. I loved the way she ties making with locating yourself in your own community as well. If you're interested in the way textiles can shape our experiences and create resiliency in ourselves, check this one out!

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