Stitched textiles: seascapes

Authors: Hislop, Amanda

I have reviewed most of the books in this series and most have inspired me to think outside the box – not that much of that thinking has resulted in actual embroideries!

The author trained in woven textiles at a tertiary college but has since moved on to become a textile artist and tutor with an especial affinity for the sea and coastal environments. Amanda prefers to use natural fibres and materials, including dried plant material, which she stores with silica gel packets – such a good tip. She also utilises found papers and materials to add textural interest to her art. Most embroidery is done with her trusty Berninas. She lists the paints, dyes and other materials needed. Some of these will have to be purchased from an art supplier. They may not be part of our usual embroidery supplies. A dedicated studio may also be useful. For inspiration, the author spends time at the ‘land’s edge’, with her sketchbook, soaking up the sounds and smells as well as sketching her observations; she includes several exercises using different mediums should you need to improve your sketching prowess. Amanda also reads works about the sea for further ideas. There is a section on colour and light, where the author discusses her preferred palette. There is an extended discussion of using and practising stitch, and although most stitching in her striking art is done using her sewing machines, she does also use hand stitching. How to create and practise seascape textures using stitch is explained and illustrated. 

Ready to start your own seascape? Amanda encourages with copious and detailed ideas to overcome any insecurities you may feel. She then explains how to create mood and atmosphere- from a calm sea on a sunny day to stormy seas to a moonlit seascape. She takes the reader through each stage of the processes, building confidence as she works through the different stages logically. Natural forms and other elements are then described and discussed. Amanda is truly an artist and truly a teacher. This book is copiously illustrated with coloured photos, including many close ups of just how to go about the various techniques used. I really like that after each technique described, there is a photo of how your work should look so that you can be confident that you are on the right track to go on to the next stage – or not! Even if you have no particular urge to create embroidered seascapes, do have a look at this book if mixed media embroidery is something you either enjoy or are curious about. It really is a gem. 

The copy I reviewed is from our fantastic Auckland Libraries or you can buy it locally for $40.00 plus postage or from Book Depository for $31 (NZ). 

Amanda’s website is 

Erica Marsden