I’ve been waiting for this for a while!
I want to show you a new embroidery book that will be on the market very soon. I think I can safely say it’s going to be Huge – not size-wise, but popularity wise.
This is not your typical embroidery book. But oh! How I love it! It is everything I hoped it would be, all bundled up between two hard covers.
The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano is the type of book I’d like to browse through with you, page by page, sitting with our heads together over the book. Together, we would say things like, “Oh wow!” and “Look at that!” and “Awwww” and “Wait, let me read that!”
I’d like to show you every page right here, but I won’t! Instead, I’ll give you a taste of the book and tell you about it, so that you can indulge in the pleasure of turning each page yourself and discovering the delightful style of Chloe Giordano. I’ll tell you what makes Chloe’s book different from most embroidery books – and what makes her embroidery style so very captivating.
The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano is not a typical embroidery book, like the books we’re used to today. It’s not exactly a project book … but it’s not not a project book, either. It’s not exactly an instructional book … but it’s not not an instructional book, either.
How’s that for vague?
What makes Chloe’s book different is pretty much the same thing that makes her embroidered art different – it’s her approach to embroidery, which is not the embroiderer’s approach as much as it is the artist’s approach.
The embroidery of Chloe Giordano is somewhat “organic” in its development. From reading her story, we can see that it came to be, naturally, growing out of what surrounded it: namely, her training and skill as an illustrator coupled with the inspiration of nature.
Her skill as an illustrator brings the subjects of her illustrations to life. Her skill as a self-taught embroiderer – who uses a needle and thread with the same deftness as the artist with a paintbrush and paint – brings her embroidered subjects equally to life in a way that is classic and charming, but at the same time, modern and bold.
Chloe’s embroidered subjects exude personality. They’re not just frozen portraits of the subject – whether it be a dormouse, leaping fox, jittery bunny, or sleeping fawn. They’re lively, leaping, languid, feisty, friendly, inquisitive, sweet – whatever the personality, it all comes across in the “quick” snapshot of the critter embroidered on the fabric. The ungrounded subject often floats in a sea of blossoms, leaves, fruits, or twigs.
Unlike most embroidery books today, Chloe does not teach us step-by-step how to put the needle here, then put the needle there, to bring about a certain outcome with a stitch. She doesn’t give us a line drawing and say, “Fill it in here with this, and there with that.”
Instead, she takes us through her own process, showing us how her art develops. And while she provides us with tips to help us imitate her approach, she also inspires us to break a little bit away from the rigid do-it-this-way (and only this way!) approach to embroidery.
Mixing her Beatrix-Potter-esque subjects with modern florals, stitching them on fabric that she hand-dyes herself, and using sewing thread rather than embroidery floss, Chloe has captivated a massive audience in the social networking world with her realistic, approachable, darling critters of the English countryside.
Her book highlights her collection of embroideries, to provide other artists with inspiration, but it also instructs on how to develop a technique and a style that’s all your own.
At the beginning of the book, you’ll find a small section on supplies, including regular art supplies and the embroidery supplies the author normally uses – hoops, sewing thread, and the like.
She moves quickly into telling us where she finds inspiration and then into composing images for her work.
Now, does this mean you have to be an artist to embroider any of Chloe’s critters in the book? Not absolutely. Most of the designs have a sketch accompanying them, so that you can use her concepts and follow her guidelines for how she interprets the sketch into embroidery, to achieve similar results.
You’ll never achieve the same results – she doesn’t provide thread color lists and tell you what to stitch exactly where – but, with practice, you’ll achieve your own interpretation of the drawing.
The photos in the book are crisp and detailed, so that you can really see how the threads and stitches work together. The close ups are fantastic!
The whole book is full of Chloe’s work – you can read it to learn, sure, but you can also just browse through it when you want inspiration or you just want to gaze.
Besides being a resource for embroiderers, I think it’s a wonderful “coffee table” book – and a great conversation starter for exposing non-stitching folks to the art of embroidery.
And speaking of conversations, the section on methodology reads a lot like a conversation.
This is where we see how Chloe’s embroideries develop – she takes us through some step-by-step instruction, but it is very general. Don’t expect to be taken layer by layer through stitching your own exact imitation of her work.
You can see here an example of how the step-by-step development is presented. You’ll find tips for stitching the subjects, highlighting techniques and providing pointers that make sense and build confidence.
The rest of the book is devoted to Chloe’s embroideries and divided into subject matter.
… to other critters deeper into the forest, you’ll find tips on stitching, photos of subjects developing step-by-step, and insights into the subjects themselves.
At the end of the book, the author closes with some last thoughts, and I wanted to highlight her final paragraph here:
The book is about her journey, her process, her methodology. The book reads very personally, while still being instructive and gently encouraging.
I could not have predicted the role embroidery now plays in my life. It has allowed me to work with unrestrained creativity, without any preconception of how I should be doing things. I hope my story will inspire you to jump straight in and start trying out this medium if you have not already. Mistakes will happen every step of the way, but that is always the best way to learn.
I think one of the main take-aways from Chloe’s story is that you don’t have to follow rigid rules laid down by other people when it comes to embroidery. Do what you want to do, achieve what you want to achieve. Take your vision for your embroidery, try, practice, try again – see what happens!
In a Nutshell
If you’re keen on realistic needlepainting of animals, the book is must-have in that regard.
But for those who love embroidery, who love art and illustration, or who just enjoy a good burst of inspiration now and then – whether or not you want to stitch in this particular style – the book is a delight and worth having on hand!
I am certain it is going to be wildly popular – if you want it before it sells out of the first print run, I’d get it pre-ordered now!
Where to Find It
In the US, you’ll find the book listed here, under Browse My Amazon Recommendations on my Amazon page. They have a Kindle edition available, too, but if you’re after the hard back (I would be! It’s lovely!), double check the listing before placing the order.
Worldwide with free shipping, it’s available here through Book Depository.
This article includes affiliate links to book sources, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for orders placed through those links, without any extra expense to you! Thanks!