You may have noticed that in the last couple years, I’ve been stocking embroidery books from publishers outside the US, that aren’t available through the typical book markets, and that have something decidedly special and wonderful about them.
In this first half of 2022, I’m adding one more book to the collection. I’m completed Stoked, as they say, to offer you Where Meadows and Gardens Grow, published by Inspirations Studios and featuring the embroidery of UK embroidery artist Jo Butcher.
For those of us in the doldrums of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, the timing could not be better!
Today, I thought I’d highlight some of the projects in the book and tell you why I love Jo’s work, what I think is unique about it, and give you a little taste of what you can expect from the book, which is available here right now for pre-order. (You can read more about the pre-order at the end of the article.)
Jo’s embroidery captures the beauty of nature in small vignettes of seemingly simple embroidery magically arranged to bring her little landscapes alive.
Whenever I see an image of her embroidery, I almost expect to feel the warmth of sunshine on my face or to see the embroidery suddenly stir with the passing of a soft breeze. I expect to hear the whir of wings and low hum of flying things.
Her embroidery is not only enchanting and charming, but it is somehow alive and very calming. It transports.
I just love it.
Jo uses a combination of materials in her work, and you’ll see this in some of the projects in the book.
While some pieces are worked in regular floss, others might be worked in silk ribbon or a combination of floss and ribbon.
Her layering techniques with the embroidery are what make her landscapes so believable. This is, I think, what makes her work so uniquely hers – you recognize a piece designed by Jo pretty much as soon as you see it.
It’s this combination of layering worked out with what are pretty much the simplest stitches that makes her work so clean and clear.
Is this not so Van Gogh? I love these irises and the choice of background color.
Jo uses a watercolor wash on the ground fabric to establish the background color behind her scenes. This is a technique that opens up a Whole New World when it comes to embroidered landscapes.
Her color palettes are pretty, delicate, bright, calm, splashy – it just depends on the scene.
In any given scene, she really only uses a handful of stitches, none of which are complicated.
In this charming garden scene above, for example, you’ll find back stitch, detached chain, fly stitch, French knots, satin stitch, straight stitch, and whipped back stitch. Very accessible!
In some of the works, you might only find two or three stitches. The hollyhocks in the book, come to think of it, are worked solely in straight stitch and French knots. And wow! They’re gorgeous! It’s all in the combination of colors, layers, and simple stitches!
Perhaps what I admire most in Jo’s work is the way she brings about such a palpable sense of sunshine and shade, all through her layering and choice of colors.
I feel like I can lift my face and … there’s the sun, warming me right up!
Available for Pre-Order
Based on feedback from the previous book launches, I’m making Where Meadows and Gardens Grow available for pre-order. This week, my stock is shipping to my doorstep via UPS, so I have high confidence in a reliable and reasonable arrival time.
I think this book is going to be Hugely Popular, and I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to get it before the print run runs out! With a pre-order, I’ll be able to gauge whether or not I need to order more before there’s a chance of a sell out.
So you can find Where Meadows and Gardens Grow here in my shop. As usual, the book will ship priority mail domestically, and I’ll ship them as soon as they arrive, so that you’ll be among the first in the US to have your copy. If you happen to order more than one item from the shop, I’ll combine orders in the most sensible way, and as always, I will refund any significant excess shipping charges.