Metal & Stitch
by Maggie Grey and Jane Wild
Paper, Metal & Stitch: Painting Surfaces with Color and Texture, is a wonderful collaboration by two highly skilled and apparently, fearless artists who use a wide variety of conventional art materials in unconventional ways. They also see the potential in objects that others would consider waste, and create engaging and dramatic works of art out of unlikely materials. The book is divided into two main sections that ultimately converge: Papermaking by Jane and metal by Maggie. Stitching techniques join their two techniques.
The basics of manipulating paper; tearing, wetting, cutting, and burning are just a few of the instructions provided. She then moves on to methods of surface design such as etching, acrylics, puff paint, powders, gilding wax, dyes, transfer foil, stitching, fusible thread and soluble film. The basics of papermaking are explained along with many methods of shaping, embedding, embossing shapes, molds, soft sculpting, latex rubber, the collagraph method and pulp methods of molding and paper mache'. Finally, the reader is encouraged to combine methods, and many striking examples are pictured. Who knew that so much could be done with ordinary brown paper? The materials in the final product illustrated are usually not even recognizable.
Maggie continues the use of unorthodox material in the second half of the book, which is devoted to using metals. Don’t throw away wire of any kind. You know those soft metal tubes used for food and seasoning purees? Save them. Wire screen, copper blanks, wire mesh, metal shim…all can be used to create unique objects. Materials used in all sorts of crafts and technical endeavors are employed by the authors. The surfaces are altered by heat, water, chemicals, paints, waxes, nail polish, glass paints, dyes and machine and hand stitching. There seems to be no limit to what a creative person can do to transform the materials to exciting, one-of-a-kind objects of art.
It takes a special sort of talent to produce a book that is so full of technical instruction and also excites the reader. I found reading and studying the photos to be very evocative. I simply must find a paper crinkler and several other supplies as soon as I can. I challenge anyone, whether a beader, sewer, fiber designer, potter, basket maker—whatever your interest—to read this book and not be able to visualize dozens of ideas for your own work. The authors go beyond inviting you to step outside the box; they show you how to get started. Furthermore, they do it in a way that would be very difficult to resist.
Review by Diana Norris