I am a bit like a big kid when I spot those little cards that inform me that a parcel is waiting to be collected at the parcel counter. I scurry in to post office and wait impatiently in line to see what it is. On Friday it was actually Jerry who checked the box but as he came through the door I spotted the parcel and was a little crest fallen as judging from the wrapping it looked like a magazine. I was to be proven wrong as to my surprise the contents was a book on Tilleke Schwarz
Tilleke Schwarz has to be one of my favourite contemporary textile artists. Tilleke had dropped me an email to say she was sending me a copy of her book but when I opened it I was more than delighted with the book. Tilleke has every reason to be proud of this and the quality of the production reflects her as high calibre textile artist.
The book arrived on Friday and I settled to read it yesterday. I was not in the least disappointed. For anyone expecting a projects based book or an instructional how-to book you will not find it here. This is definitely in the Art book genre and steers right away from any notion of craft.
The introductory essay is written by Dr Jessica Hemmings and the book is bilingual written in both English and Dutch. By far the majority of the 80 pages or so of this paperback are filled with eye candy. Page after page of details of Tilleke’s work with accompanying descriptions delight, surprise and inspire.
In speaking of Tilleke’s samplers Dr Jessica Hemmings observes that:
Tidy rows of stitches are replaced with abstract, layered compositions, “Home Sweet Home’ and similar aphorisms of domestic duty are transformed into a jumble of politically correct phrases, computer codes and malfunctioning technology signals; and a delicate pattern of carefully coordinated threads is exchanged for boldly coloured background cloth and unruly metallic skeins. That said, these textiles have far from severed ties with their historical counterparts. Through a cacophony of text and image each continues to build upon the considerable legacy the sampler commands the story teller. But in place of traditional alphabets or apples are nonlinear post-modern narratives that speak of “modern society and the strange way we deal with mass communication”
What I like about Tilleke’s work is that she captures the mess of daily life. Initially I was attracted to her pieces because she often incorporates computer jargon in her pieces but that was simply my initial surface attraction. As I looked more at her work I realised that in these autobiographical statements and visual representations of the everyday she used her thread and needle to draw. To my delight not only is Tilleke’s work annotated with brief comments about her sources for imagery and text but some of her drawings are featured in the book too.
If you are interested in this publication you have to contact Tilleke Schwarz directly on this page. The book is not available on Amazon.
Other than receiving my copy as a gift from Tilleke I am not affiliated in any way. If you are interested in contemporary embroidery I unhesitatingly say take a look at Tilleke Schwarz’s website and if you like her work don’t stop there, add her book to your personal library as it will prove to be an inspiration for years to come.
I have just recieved an email from Tilleke to say that her book can be ordered from the Twistedthread website too