Design Sources for Embroidery

by Muriel Best and Vicky Lugg
B. T. Batsford Limited, 1988
Hardback, 160 pages
Reviewed by Candy Cady
Originally Published Summer 2000

The authors of Design Sources for Embroidery remind each reader to take time each day to discover the world around them and observe the beautiful colors of nature and the endless design opportunities it offers. While reading this book I found myself grabbing my camera to explore the endless colors, shapes, and textures surrounding me.

Chapter One, “Design,” gives the reader a concise lesson in design beginning with an explanation of its formal elements: shape; form; outlines and space; line; color; and texture.

In chapters two through nine, the authors discuss the many sources of design: grids, facades, silhouettes, coastlines, reflections, figures, words, and music, to name just a few. Beautiful photographs offer examples of each and even more exciting, are the authors’ embroidered interpretations of many of them.

Each chapter in this book discusses the particular design source named above, includes a section on design development, and a few exercises to reinforce these concepts. My favorite chapter is titled “Reflections” and is a study on the various ways to portray this element in one’s designs. The chapter contains very powerful photographs displaying reflections such as: surface ripples in the water; a glass bowl filled with flowers; water lily leaves floating on a pond; and a reflection of one building in the large glass window of another. The authors’ embroidery interpretations are made from a collage of threads; marbling on fine silks; simple canvas work stitches that form straight and irregular lines; and various appliqué techniques. All of these interesting techniques explore the elements of contrast of scale, texture, color, and light.

Design Sources for Embroidery would be a fabulous addition to the library of every stitch lover.