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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback Flexibound with flaps
  • Publication: 07 January 2021
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217503
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 128
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $47.99
  • Series: The Textile Artist
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The Textile Artist: Expressive Stitches


A ‘no-rules’ guide to creating original textile art by Jan Dowson

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Book Description

Transform your ideas about creative, fabric embellishment for textile art that's full of meaning and astounding texture, in this inspiring book by award-winning textile art tutor and artist Jan Dowson.

Whether it's a landscape, a garden, an animal or a powerful memory of a place or object, Jan shows you how she develops them all into beautifully stitched representations that exude awe-inspiring detail, colour and expression. 

Jan begins the creative process by collecting and storing natural items and exploring different patterns, texture, media and markings to cultivate her final design. She uses simple yet effective methods for altering fabric prior to stitching, including dyeing, embellishing and stamping, then transforms her fabric into a vibrant, textured artwork using a combination of traditional hand stitching, machine stitching, and other media.

Following a fascinating, illustrated step-by step chapter on Jan's key techniques, join her as she takes you through the stages of three types of work for which she is most renowned: the stitched landscape, the memory cloth and the bird sculpture. Each project also includes a break down of the materials, tools and techniques used, so that you can understand as well as see the development of her astounding, mixed-media creations. 

Throughout the book, a gallery of Jan's work complements her techniques and projects, providing inspiration for your own textile artwork. These are stunning pieces that will open your eyes and turn your own creative concepts into original, personal work.

Table of Contents


Tools & materials
Fabrics, Threads, Stitching tools, Mixed media

Places, Walks, Collections

Ideas, Creating a unique sketchbook, Playing with Colour, Marking making

Developing expressive work
Making a plan, Preparing your fabric

Expressive techniques
Dyeing fabric & threads, Printing, Stamping & stencilling, Embellisher, Appliqué, Free-motion embroidery, Expressive hand stitches, Historical & world sewing techniques, Experimental embellishments

Expressive projects
Stitched Landscape, Stitched Landscape Gallery, Memory Cloth, Memory Cloth Gallery, Bird Sculpture, Bird Sculpture Gallery



About the Author

About Jan Dowson

Award-winning textile art tutor and artist Jan Dowson has over 20 years of teaching experience. She won the prestigious Beryl Dean National Teaching Award in 2015,
and was the 2014/15 winner of the UK’s City & Guilds Gold Medal of Excellence.

She loves to help beginners to start on their own creative journeys, and so regularly delivers absorbing, fun workshops as well as offering talks and taking part in the Embroiderers’ Guild’s summer schools around the UK. Jan exhibits her work frequently and has experienced great success over the years. She loves embroidery and never feels fully satisfied unless the surfaces she works on are completely covered in stitch. Her finished pieces include machine and hand embroidery, appliqué and mixed media.

She works intuitively and strongly believes that there are no rules for creativity, focusing on the freedom of working naturally and organically, with a view to developing ideas that will produce unique and exciting results.

Jan lives in north-east Lincolnshire, UK, with her husband Derek and dog Bertie.

Find Jan on Facebook @Jan Dowson - Textile Artist/Teacher.



Sew Magazine

When a book guarantees awe-inspiring results, it's hard not to be curious and we sure are glad we took a look inside this one. The pages are filled with step-by-step instructions, guiding you through how to create magnificent stitched representations of some of your happiest memories. Author Jan Dowson is an award-winning textile art tutor and artist, so you can be certain you're learning from the best.

An experienced tutor, Jan Dowson has covered a lot of ground with this book, which takes an in-depth look at ways of using stitch to express an idea or portray a mood. Beginning with sections on materials (including basic art supplies for mixed media), inspiration and an excellent section on recording, it also covers colour, markmaking and hand and machine stitch.

The section, Developing expressive work, covers initial design and the colouring of thread and fabrics. The basics of printing, stamping, and using stencils, are touched upon before we move on to the delights of the embellisher and sewing machine. This section also covers stitch techniques such as free machining, appliqué, and hand stitching. It is in the last of these that I feel we come to the heart of Jans work with some delightful finished pieces and small samplers illustrating the stitches shown.

There is a section on Expressive Projects and, while not a fan of projects, I can see the logic in Jans assertion that they can be a great starting point for a more personal piece of work geared to the interests of the reader. I like the way Jan has pulled together the previous sections of the book here, with step-by-steps on landscapes and memory cloths. Its easy to see how your own versions of these could interpret your own expressions of landscape and memory.

The small section on using experimental embellishments such as feathers, twigs and so on, merited more than just a double-page spread. I enjoyed the book for its honest, down to earth approach, relying less on quick fixes and more on feeling and emotion. You are probably familiar with most of the techniques but Jans wise words about your relaxing into your stitching (especially hand stitching) and shutting out the world for a while have special resonance in these troubled times.

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This book is such an inspiration, as Jan shares fascinating information about how she prepares and creates her projects.  There is so much detail in her Expressive techniques, including Dyeing fabric & threads, Printing, Stamping & stencilling, Embellisher, Appliqué, Free-motion embroidery, Expressive hand stitches, Historical & world sewing techniques plus Experimental embellishments.

This is then illustrated through her beautiful Expressive Projects including Stitched Landscape, Stitched Landscape Gallery, Memory Cloth, Memory Cloth Gallery, Bird Sculpture, Bird Sculpture Gallery. A wonderful creative book! Highly Recommended!

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