Yes, I know I raved about this book when I first got it — but I didn’t really go into detail about why I like it so much — so I thought a real review is deserved.
I am a sucker for books that not only include the art of a particular artist, but also an insight into why he or she works the way they do — why does she use oils? Why did he choose textiles? What made him think to use that particular subject matter?
Normal “Artist Statements” don’t do this for me – I want real English, not something weirdly pseudo-academic that they were taught to do in art school to sound more “artsy” or “educated.” I’m a technical writer. Give me plain language. Jane Hall doesn’t do this, at least not in this book. Instead she comes across as a lovely lady who sees magic in the natural world around her and translates that vision so the rest of us can enjoy it.
She says at the beginning of the book:
“To Begin With… what is now in my imagination was real to me. Foxgloves were quite simply that, gloves for foxes. Aquilegia flowers (fairies’ bonnets) truly made the prettiest fairy bonnets, and pine needles were obviously meant to sew with.
Every living thing, every scuffling sound, every glinting light meant the world to me. I can remember countless hours exploring my world. People who did not understand, adults mainly, called it ‘playtime’ but it seemed to me far more important than that.”
And, as I said before, enjoy it I do. Bugs embroidered life size (little 1/4 inch beetles!) The care she puts into multiple layers of fabric and stitch, which she describes as lovingly as she does the finished work. This is not a how-to book, but it does provide insight into her working process. And even if you don’t care to read all that in detail, the eye candy was worth the price of the book to me!