Book Review: Push Stitchery

PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched ArtPUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art by Lark Books

I have to admit that I like pretty, cheerful art. I also like pushing the boundaries, which isn’t always pretty. This book make stitchery (do they call it that anymore??) cool, but not always pretty.

This book arrived on my doorstep from Lark (Hey! Thanks, Lark!) at an interesting time, because I was stitching madly on my Kissy Fish project. Compared to the work in this book, my work is extremely simple.

This book has a lot of intimate imagery. There are images of people in bed together, faces stare out at you imploringly from the pages,nakedness, roadkill and the jostling crowds of people that make up the daily life of those of who take public transportation. there are flaming eye sockets (pg.124), plenty of skulls, and sex. One of the artists says “The things that interest me are shock, sex, violence, love, laughter, absurdity, beauty, and contrasts” (pg.116). This quote describes the book pretty well. These pieces are more like paintings than the kind of embroidery to which I am accustomed.

Vintage linens are used in various pieces. Pieces are also mixed with non-textile elements including china and metal. All different types of stitching are used as well: machine, hand, variety of threads and stitches, etc.
I think of embroidery and stitchery as crafts where women dominate. There are a large number of men represented in this book.

Some of my favorite pieces are the stamps (pg.46-47, the image of the carafe and cup (pg.27), London Calling Paris (pg.104) and Driving (pg.158). The pieces and the imagery are the stars of this book. The text was minimal, both in amount and layout. It was not the star of the show and that allowed me to immerse myself in the images. The photography is really good in this book. I was able to see the detail of the stitching in most of the pieces.

Lark is really putting themselves out there by producing catalogs of different types of crafts. I really appreciate the risk they are taking and suggest that you support their efforts.

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