Book Review: The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry

Title: The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry

Author: Joan Fisher

Date: 1962

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group

ISBN: 0-600-31750-1

Length: 176 pages including index

Illustrations: charts, photos, diagrams

Quote: “The branch of creative needlecraft with which we are concerned is known…by…different names:  needlepoint, needlework tapestry, tapestry work, canvas work, canvas embroidery…”

Fisher goes on to define, explain, and give examples of several forms of this creative needlecraft, from simple bookmarks through pictures to hang on the wall, cushions, and handbags. Some projects mix embroidery stitches for textured effects; some could be worked in cross stitch or even in knitting, crochet, or weaving, although the final effect of translating a simple geometric motif from one craft to another may be a completely different product.

Historical examples from European museums appear in small black-and-white photos. More detailed pictures and instructions for reproducing some of these pieces have appeared in Piecework magazine, but this book does not attempt to help you copy the embroideries that were preserved in ancient castles and cathedrals.

If and when readers feel ready to embroider bedspreads, carpets, or draperies, however, they will find here several charted patterns that can be repeated or expanded to fill a large piece. Meanwhile, those who don’t want to commit to a big project will find instant gratification in embroidering belts and pincushions.

As books go out of print, the physical construction of the book becomes more important to readers. The difference between cheap and quality paper, pages sewn down to lie flat or glued together to spring back together, and good and poor binding, become obvious as a book ages. Wear and tear accelerate the aging process. When a library book contains charts for needlework, which means by definition that the book will spend a lot of time exposed to the air, it’s painfully easy to see which books become discolored, brittle, or mildewed first. Many books published in 1982 or even in 2002 look “older,” by now, than either of my two library copies of The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry. Checking the date of publication for this book surprised me because, although both copies had library processing, dog ears, and pencil marks, both copies still look, feel, and smell “new.” You might say that this was a well made book.

Some people using the name “Joan Fisher” are active in cyberspace. Some have died. If you order The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry from this web site, using either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, I’ll write to the publisher in an effort to find out the status of the Joan Fisher who wrote this book. The price is $5 per copy + $5 per package, for a total cost of $10 if you buy only one copy of only this book; you could probably fit two copies of this book into one package, for a total price of $15. If the author is still living, $1 out of each $5 per copy will be sent to her or to a charity of her choice.

Book review cat:

blogjob cat