I was asked to review this book for the newsletter of the Castlemaine Embroiderers Guild, so I thought that I would post it here too because it is published in France, it is not likely to be well known…..for those who love books or needlework.
Voyages Textiles – A Journey in Textiles by Anne-Marie Bertrand.
Published by quiLtmania, France. 2009.
This beautifully presented book depicts the creative path of the author from early jewellery and doll making in the 1970’s to becoming a talented textile artist, exhibiting and teaching in France and Europe to the present day. Her early textile works were understated naïve landscapes depicting the countryside, villages and houses of France, stitched by hand using simple, clean designs, subtle colours, some recycled fabrics and all brought to life with embroidered elements and embellishment.
Her work is detailed, ordered, precise in construction and results in serene, calm and peaceful images. Travels to such places as Tunisia, India and Africa have also influenced her and this is clearly seen in changes in subject matter and the colour palette used in some pieces. There are many examples of her continued development as an artist throughout the book, such as changes in techniques, the use of painted backgrounds, working in a series, a move towards abstraction in her images, and the benefits and challenges of competitions. The book also includes detailed instructions for a small landscape picture, with a full list of supplies required, recommendations for textile paints, and information about her techniques and the order of work.
Anne-Marie Bertrand had no formal textile training, which she considers as a positive thing, because it made her find her own solutions to problems in her work. She also comments that her work and research helped her with personal worries associated with having a child with special needs. I’m sure we can all relate to the pleasure and relaxation stitching can bring in times of stress.
This is a book which would be a welcome addition to any stitcher’s library as it involves both embroidery and patchwork, is simple to follow and provides inspiration to take one’s own ideas further. It is generously illustrated with photos of the authors work and small line drawings, plus includes some gentle words of wisdom. It also gives one a chance to practice one’s French!