This guide explores the full potential of needlepoint as an inspirational source. Kaffe’s samples come from the natural world – the patterned markings of frogs, butterflies, flowers, shells and stones – the manmade markings of primitive cultures and the world of 20th-century art. The ideas and designs are grouped into chapters on: fruits and vegetables, fish and fowl, flowers and foliage, faces and fans, and jugs and geometrics. As well as charted patterns, the emboiderer is given many ideas for producing his or her own designs for colourful rugs, shoulder bags, cushions and other items – rooster tea cosy, maroon flower pyramid cushion, shoulder bag carpet, plum, pear and duck cushions.
As with his other books (see my review of his book based on his work with the V&A), the books are full of his trademark use of colour and credit must also go to his photographer Steve Lovi for his work on this book. It starts with a brief but interesting introduction – with photos of him looking rather young! (the hardback was published in the late 1980s) – and then goes into 6 distinct chapters (“Fruits and Vegetables”, “Flowers and Foliage” etc). Again, not all items displayed have a corresponding chart. Like his knitting, it is very much a case of giving practical examples of things he has produced in hope that it will inspire the reader to work on their own individual items. For many of the items he has given his source of inspiration (a picture, vase of flowers, items in someone’s home) and shown how this translates into the final result.
When I started out doing crafting as an adult I did primarily needlepoint before moving into cross stitch as my primary outlet. Looking at this book certainly gets me excited to try more things – the beauty of this is that it is clear that it can be translated from needlepoint over into other disciplines relatively easily.
Like his book on the V&A work, it’s a lovely presented book, full of colour and inspiration that has certainly given me ideas!