A while before Christmas (golly, the holidays went by fast, didn’t they?), I made a list of a dozen hand embroidery books that would make great gifts.
On that list were a few books that I haven’t reviewed yet for you, and today, I want to share one of them with you.
You see, it’s a gorgeous book. It’s the kind of book that inspires thoroughly. The kind of book that makes you say, Wow! I want to do that!
And it’s unique in many aspects, which makes it doubly desirable.
The book I’m talking about A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox, published by Search Press.
The cover caught me.
I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
But sometimes – especially with needlework books I’m not familiar with – the cover is what sells the book to me. And this can be a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve bought books with stunning covers that have stellar content and I’ve never regretted the purchase. I’ve bought books with hideous covers with stunning content and I’ve never regretted the purchase (though I have wondered about the cover. Why?).
But you know those books with the gorgeous covers that promise so much but don’t deliver? They just make me sad.
This is not such a book! This book seduces with an eye-catching, vibrant cover, and then goes on to deliver all its promises, and then some.
What I like especially about A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers is that the author goes beyond silk ribbon.
This is a multi-media approach to silk ribbon embroidery. Within, you’ll find explained and illustrated several unique techniques that will take your silk ribbon embroidery well into the realm of art.
And while there are other books in this genre that also take a multi-media approach, A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers makes the approach much more accessible in my mind (through very good instruction), and much more artistic.
What do I mean by more artistic?
Hmmm. How to explain? Ann Cox appeals to the inner artist in all of us, by teaching us how to use paint effectively. She shows us how to mix colors and apply them to backgrounds and to ribbons, to change the whole look of the original medium we started with.
I’m no great whiz of a painter (to say the least), but deep down in the Secret Recesses of My Innermost Heart, I’ve always yearned to be one! So I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated reading the sections on painting, and I learned a lot from them!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about painting whole scenes, complex backgrounds, beautiful gardens in bloom or seascapes and landscapes.
The type of painting in this book is well-placed accent painting – either background elements (like leaves or greenery) or delicate touches to silk ribbons, to give them more depth and to bring them to life.
The book is divided into two sections. The first part of the book is dedicated to the introduction, the materials, and the basic techniques that are used in the projects.
The second part of the book is dedicated to projects – 32 floral pieces, arranged (hence the title) from A-Z. Every letter of the alphabet, save Q, is represented – from Aquilegia and Asters all the way down to Zantedeschia (you thought I’d say zinnia, didn’t you? so did I!)
Here, you can see some of the instructions in the first part of the book. They’re all like this – step by step photos, with clear explanations. This approach makes the techniques in the book accessible even for the beginner.
And this is why I love Search Press’s books. They really do crank out some of the most thorough instructional books for arts and crafts.
You can see that basic techniques are the focus of the first part of the book – everything from preparing your ribbon, to threading ribbon onto a needle, to starting and ending ribbons…
…to stitch instructions accompanied by extra tips and even troubleshooting:
If your stitch looks like this, this is what you’ve done wrong, and this is how to correct it.
After the basics, the flowers!
At the beginning of this section, there’s a lovely visual index – each flower project is pictured a little larger than postage stamp size, so you can flip right to the project that appeals to you most.
Each project is accompanied by many close-up photos, a pattern, materials list, and instruction for completing your own floral masterpiece.
The photos are exquisite – and they show all the details!
The floral projects range from luscious exuberance…
…to serene, understated elegance.
If you love ribbon embroidery, stumpwork, and multi-media techniques, you can’t go wrong with this book.
I think it’s one of those books that you can visit again and again for new ideas, approaches, and inspiration. And with the incredible number of projects included in it, there’s a lot of scope for practicing and perfecting the art of silk ribbon embroidery.
Where to Find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers
You can find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers available through the following book affiliates:
In the US: A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers through Amazon.
And, world-wide, you can find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers through Book Depository, with free shipping.
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If you’re looking for more books on hand embroidery – including stitch dictionaries, books on specific techniques, books on the history of embroidery, embroidery in fashion, embroidery designs – why not browse through my Embroidery Books page, where you’ll find plenty of embroidery-related books to fire up your own muse!