Fabric Art Workshop by Susan Stein

This book explores techniques and materials in more ways than you could possibly imagine! I like the step-by-step instructions for each technique – they are straight forward and easy to follow with plenty of pictures so you can follow them with no problems. I’m not particularly a fan of the books that tell you how to achieve the projects that the author has made – they leave no room for imagination – so this book is ideal for me. For example, it won’t tell me how to make a mono-print elephant tea cosy; it simply tells me how to do the mono-printing. (Which is good because I don’t really want an elephant tea cosy.)

What I want to do with the fabric afterwards is entirely up to me. Having said that; it does lack the inspiration that the Beryl Taylor book has. It would have been nice if there were some photos of Susan Stein’s work throughout the book. There are a few at the back of her wall hangings, but to be honest, they didn’t make me go ‘Wow – I want to learn how to do that.’

Some of the techniques covered are the sort of thing primary school children would love to do, such as brayer painting with textures, splash and puddle painting and sponge painting, but there are plenty of more unusual ideas such as rust dying and shaving cream marbling. It’s nearly all about how to colour your fabric in an interest way. It doesn’t tell you how to stitch, applique or quilt or anything like that.

I confess, I haven’t actually followed any of the instructions yet – it all looks so messy! I was really after a book with ideas I could bring to my handmade clothes ( www.etsy.com/shop/OshunCreations  ), so this book doesn’t really apply to me. I recycle clothing, so the fabric is already coloured and I’m not sure the paint effects suggested would work for my clothes. However, I will certainly try the rust dying and the silk fusion. It’s a shame there wasn’t a section about using natural products to dye fabric as that is something I’d like to try.

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