Poking around Leanne Prain’s website, I happened upon a blog post titled Embroidered Covers. How gorgeous is this? (and it’s only one of many…)
Now that I have your attention (or did I just distract you entirely?), take a look at the website for Hoopla, or the author’s website. On the former you can find links to the work of several of the artists included in Hoopla. Prain is also the co-author of Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti (Arsenal Pulp, 2009), which sounds like another natural for teens.
Adult/High School–Hoopla covers everything anyone would want to know about embroidery and more. The history of embroidery is briefly introduced, followed by well-organized chapters that discuss tools and materials, basic stitches, finishing techniques and include a helpful range of resources. The bulk of the book is filled with interviews and full-color photos of more than 25 unconventional contemporary artists who have taken embroidery to a whole new dimension. These artists specialize in freeform designs that very often have profound political or social messages. The hours and detail involved in each piece are astounding, yet many of the artists speak of the calming and meditative nature of embroidery. Also included are more than 25 projects with many photos and detailed instructions. PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art (Lark, 2011) features many additional artists passionate about needlework. While a few designs encompassing war scenes, gun, and-body part imagery might be unsettling for some, teens who are interested in starting a new art form or those who already embroider will find much inspiration here.–Jane Ritter, Mill Valley School District, CA