Sunday, August 6, 2023

Weekend Review: Reclaimed Textiles


Reclaimed Textiles / Kim Thittichai
London: Batsford, c2014.
128 p.

I'm always interested in upcycling and using unexpected materials in my textile art. So I thought I'd check out this book for some new ideas! It's broken up into chapters on Inspiration, Textiles, Paper, Packaging, Plastics & Mixed Media. Then there is a follow up on some of the featured artists, links and bibliography, etc at the end. 

It's a Batsford book, so it's really beautifully done. Those fuzzy Batsford covers always get me! And there are many glossy photos of lots of projects and ideas inside. 

Somehow I didn't really click with this one, however. The projects felt too random and junky for my preferred style. I do find that British artists seem to like a looser, rougher, or messier aesthetic overall, which doesn't always mesh with my personal tastes. There were still some really interesting ideas, though, especially in the plastics section, that I could use in a different way than the artists featured here did, and still get that upcycled ethos in. There was one artist in particular, Mary Grey, who used plastics to make a water scene, and it was very effective. 

I was most drawn to the reused textiles; there were vintage embroidered dresser cloths and tablecloths that were stitched into to create new messages and artwork on top of the original stitching, and I thought the juxtaposition worked well to emphasize the concepts. And of course upcycling fabric scraps is familiar and something I feel comfortable doing, so those projects felt more approachable. 

This book was well done, in that it delivered what it set out to do. It's put together with variety and lots of colour and imagery, so if you are interested in this topic you might also want to take a look. There may be something in it that will inspire you. 

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