Art Cloth

Exploring the possibilities of textile art

Jane Dunnewold, textile artist and author of Complex Cloth, takes fiber-artists, art-to-wear designers, and art quilters of all skills on a fabulous journey of techniques for surface design in her newest and beautifully illustrated book, Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric, in which she shares her expansive knowledge of materials and processes to create beautiful fabric art.

Dunnewold provides a practical approach in exploring the endless possibilities of art cloth. The book's first section, Art Cloth Fundamentals, offers the basic tools to bring to life the imagined designs. Dunnewold kicks off with safety and environmental awareness, in which she admonishes, "When it comes to the nuts and bolts of making art cloth, you must make safety a priority." She offers rudimentary and cautionary advice (which she expands further in later chapters) for a safe home environment.

Dunnewold breaks down the basics of organization from properly setting up a workspace; creating the very necessary design wall; making a needed padded surface to work on (a tip she offers to new textile artists is to keep pads a neutral color so as not to complicate seeing paint colors accurately) One of the longer sections in the chapter includes an overview of choosing Prepared for Dying (PFD) fabric, as well as touching upon the different types of fibers and how they react to dyes, as well as the weave structure. Finally, and although she admits she not much of a note taker, Dunnewold recommends keeping a notebook and recording all attempts and experiments that reference what worked or did not.

In the following chapter Dunnewold introduces the essentials of the layering process; dyeing as the first step then she goes into further detail with overdyeing, resist dyeing, using paints textile paints for more color, as well as providing a comprehensive overview of printing and patterning with stamps, stencils, screens, and brushes. She includes a section on metallic foils and leaves that can be added as a final layer to the design process.

The second section, Techniques and Processes, provides all the fun, nitty-gritty work of playing around with color (adding and removing it); making your own stamps and stencils; recipes for water-based resists; screenprinting; and foiling and leafing. For the uninitiated these may come across as intimidating procedures, but Dunnewold writes in an uncomplicated and easy to follow manner. Each "recipe" lists all the supplies needed for that specific process, and Dunnewold offers complete step-by-step directions for each technique accompanied by instructional photographs of the process―a nice component for anyone who wants or needs visual guidance.

But there's more! Chapters include sidebars with tips and exercises along with suggestions to bring the artist's work up to the next level. And if anything goes awry during any of the processes, Dunnewold includes a trouble-shooting guide at the end of each of the chapters to help figure out the problem,

Taken as a whole, Art Cloth is more than just a how-to manual for anyone who has entertained the idea of working with fabric and creating their designs and patterns—it's interesting, instructional, and inspiring. Whether you're an experienced textile artist or simply love fabric, Art Cloth is a definite must-have and a welcomed addition to workrooms and bookshelves.

Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric
Interweave Press
175 pages
$26.95

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