Today in the Thread Reviews, I am reviewing the fabulous new book Indie Craft edited by Jo Waterhouse.

The American cover featuring work by Jenny Hart.

As one of the featured artists, I will admit this is a bit self promotion and a bit review as I am honored and excited to be a part of this little book.   In compiling this book Jo wanted to create a book that celebrated the subversive and unexpected creations that are being done in the craft medium as well as feature some fine artists that are using the craft medium to create high-end works of art which push the boundaries of the craft further.  I was delighted to be selected amongst a handful of other artists to represent the artistic movement of using craft as medium.

one of my pages.

I admit that it is difficult to merge the debate of art vs. craft and I myself do not consider myself a crafter at all, initially I was concerned about how this book would manage the discrepancy in that Jo feature’s crafters making plushies right along side artists that create large scale gallery works. In essence Jo deals with it by simply not giving it credence, she acknowledges the difference in some of the artists and makers she has chosen to feature and leaves it at that.

work by the artist known as Severija, who cross stitches in metal.

She states:

The ‘art vs. craft’ debate is old and multi-faceted. I prefer to leave that discussion up to the individual. Art by its nature is wholly subjective and I believe that all of the pieces in the book can be viewed as art or craft, or both. The decision should be determined in part by the intention of the creator, and is partly up to the viewer and how they naturally respond to and interpret it.

Through the book I was reminded of a few old favorites and introduced to some new work that I really enjoy. Such as the incredibly lovely work of Marloes Dukyer, above, whom combines hand and machine stitched work to create very seductive and textural work. Plus it is cool to know that she is building a career out of this work by working on commissions from magazines, books, and design houses for them to use on covers, ads, and such.

I also found the stump work of Jacinta Lodge, above, really intriguing. I myself have never attempted stump work and it totally intimidates me but also seems like a wonderful and inspiring technique.

One of my favorite surprises in the book was from the knit the city, the british version of knitta, their Oranges and Lemons Odyssey is so cheerful and clever. I would love to come across a vine of knitted lemons in my neighborhood.

one of the token men represented, embroiderer William Schaff.

The intro was written by crafter and maker of Handmade Nation, Faith Levine, and after reading her brief intro I reconsidered my somewhat strong critique of her film. The impression I got from her intro is that she simply enjoys and celebrates the “hand-made” movement and her film was about that celebration.  The academic artist in me wants everything to have so much meaning and concept behind it that the film left me wanting more, a lot more. But now I recognize her goals in the film were just very different then what mine would be if I made a film about the movement of handmade in our world, personally I am very interested in the psychology behind it and the depth it affects us and would love to see that explored.

Being me, I was of course most drawn to the “artists” in the book over the “makers” what ever all that means, but a few of the more craft based artists that I really enjoyed were the dolls of Eva Monleon.  Eva’s dolls are crafted from found vintage materials and have a ton of charm and whimsy.

And then I got reminded of the fabulous creations of Sarah Neuburger. I especially love her custom-made clothespin wedding toppers. She takes images of the bride and groom, or groom and groom, or bride and bride to make wonderfully unique and special toppers. I have always wanted to re-new my vows with C on our 10th wedding anniversary, which is not all that far away, and I am FOR SURE going to get these little figures for our cake.

All of the above artists are worth checking out more and the book is full of plenty of incredibly delightful work and discoveries and one of the best parts about the book is that it is SUPER affordable. Jo wanted the book to be a book for everyone not just a large coffee table book but a book we all could enjoy and be inspired by so pick yours up today.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

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