Sue Dove, Interweave Press, $24.95, ISBN:1-931499-56-X
Needlepoint canvas is a flexible medium and one which is ripe for a Renaissance in popularity. It’s also a medium which can be the basis for incredible creativity and individual expression. This new book by Sue Dove showcases and unusual method of using canvas to create her unique adaptations of her folk paintings.
Her technique is very simple. An outline is drawn onto canvas. The outline is then stitched in dark thread to define the areas. Then the areas are filled in with irregular slanted stitches in a variety of colors of floss.
The method is simple and provides a way to create a embroidery on canvas which is freed from the grid. So why do I have so many problems with this book?
First off, I feel as if it was padded heavily. There are not enough stitched examples of her work to make a 128 page book. More than half the book is taken up with a Gallery, where two full pages are taken up with each design, many of which have been pictured before in earlier sections of the book. While a line drawing is included of the gallery, there is no information about colors and little information about the design itself.
Second, the materials and techniques section takes up only eight pages of the book. In order to apply the technique to my own drawings, more information is needed.
Third, and I know art is subjective, the works just are not appealing. While I think the technique has merit, I doubt if many stitchers will buy this book just because the examples are such a turn off. If you don’t like her style, which is distinctive, why buy the book? There is nothing else there.
There are few enough needlepoint books published. An publishers tell us that they “don’t sell.” However, I know from the experience of talking to stitchers, that many self-published books sell consistently. But here is a big name publisher who HAS published wonderful books on needlework and has had many fine teachers and designers do pieces for their magazine. But instead of looking to them, they publish this.
We should be asking for better. End of rant.