Today, I’m going to review a gorgeous new book that’s just arrived in the studio – Nicola Jarvis’s Life in Stitches, Volume 1: Winter / Spring. It’s our first new book in the shop this year, and I’m excited to share it with you!
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the book. I am familiar with Nicola’s style and approach to embroidery, but I wasn’t sure how it would come across in a printed volume.
If you’re already familiar with Nicola’s work, you know that her “signature look” lately features artistically rendered wildlife and floral combinations. She is an artist, and her embroidery projects are imbued with her exceptional qualities as an artist, foremost.
Life in Seasons is a project and instructional book, but it’s also a very personal book. The author really transports the reader into her world and into her artistic life. And because of this, I find the book exceptionally unique and compelling.
Life in Seasons vol 1: Winter / Spring is the first volume in what appears will be a two-volume set. I’m assuming there will be a volume 2 that covers summer and autumn.
While it is an instructional and project book, it is the type of volume that is worthy of your display bookshelf or your coffee table. It’s a hard cover book with an attractive binding, and it’s quite hefty, weighing in close to three pounds.
There’s more to the book than the projects presented within, making it interesting reading for anyone who is into art, whether it’s needle arts or not.
Life in Stitches is not only beautiful, but it is really engrossing. The author presents a collection of fascinating embroidery projects to re-create, but she also she takes the reader on her artistic journey with each project, showing us to the things that inspired her and her creative process. She develops a complete picture of her process and approach by introducing other artists who help finish her work (like bookbinders and cabinet makers, other embroiderers, and so forth).
All of this broadens the book into something much more than a simple “embroidery project book.”
Just a quick mention: when I opened the book and saw the endpapers (the paper lining the inside of the cover, front and back), I was hooked. I knew at that point that I would read the whole book, cover to cover. I had to find out more about the endpapers, if nothing else! They are remarkably enchanting. I love maps, especially maps that tell a story, so yes, I was charmed right into the book by the endpapers.
My curiosity was rewarded, by the way – there’s an explanation of the endpapers in the book. You must find it and read it.
There are eight projects in the book, and each project features flora and fauna, combined in uncommon ways.
Floral elements are often incorporated into the depictions of the wildlife. So instead of a badger among flowers, it’s more like flowers among a badger…
…or flowers among a fox!
With each project, you’ll find a captivating explanation of what inspired the project. In this way, Nicola invites you into her own life and her own artistic journey.
It’s eminently readable stuff!
You’ll find a full materials and supplies list for every project…
…and a step-by-step explanation of how to stitch the project, accompanied by photos and diagrams and tips along the way.
Throughout the book, you’ll find close-up photos of most projects, too, which can help you see the details you’re striving to achieve.
Plus, close-ups are just fun to look at! You can really see the texture of the stitches, the way the threads interact, the layout of color. I love close ups!
Towards the back of the book, you will find a stitch dictionary with step-by-step instructions for all the stitches and techniques involved in the projects.
And at the end of the book, you’ll find a folder with lift-out sheets of all the embroidery designs.
In a Nutshell
Life in Seasons Volume 1 is a beautiful book!
In it, you’ll find plenty of embroidery projects that are unique and challenging, along with well-written and illustrated instructions to help you successfully re-create the projects. For anyone who loves flora and fauna, you will likely enjoy learning and stretching your stitching horizons with these projects.
But more than the projects, my attraction to the book is the more personal story of Nicola’s work, what inspires her, and the folks who work with her. I found this aspect of the book really fascinating and enjoyable to read!
And of course, the book is a real stunner. Published by Inspirations Studios, it is definitely a beautiful book!
Where to Find It
We’ve got Life in Seasons in stock here and ready to ship now. On the product description page, you’ll find images of the other projects in the book as well.
Should we sell out, we’ll restock as quickly as we can.
A Note on Kits
You can use the lift-out patterns in the back of the book to re-create the embroidery projects, but if you want to work them on the printed fabric panels that Nicola uses for her designs, you can purchase full kits for the projects in the book directly from Nicola on her website (she is located in the UK). The kits include the printed fabric panels, which is helpful if you want to create the entire “ecosystem” of the original. Otherwise, you can interpret the designs solely in embroidery and use the pattern sheet in the book to transfer the designs.