Book Review: Mark Making

Today I’m reviewing Mark Making by Helen Parrott, a new release from Interweave.

Mark Making

Here is the information from the publisher:

Discover a whole new realm of mark-making with talented artist Helen Parrott. Inside, you’ll discover how marks can be used in textile work and explore the links between stitching and drawing. Art quilter Helen Parrott is well known for her strongly graphic and landscape-inspired textile art, and will show you how to use marks to stunning visual effect.

  • Uncover the types of marks or lines that can be made on fabric, varying in complexity, arrangement and ‘feel’, including single, grouped, massed, regular, irregular, calligraphic, permanent, transient, and more!
  • Better understand both hand and machine stitching, which make very different types of marks and between them offer limitless potential for surface effects
  • Discover the importance of keeping journals, and how to translate sketched ideas or found images into stitched lines on fabric.
  • And so much more!

Let me tell you about this book. I found this much like a textbook, so different from other books I’ve reviewed lately.

The first several chapters are about marks – observing, characteristics, recording, and collecting them.

In Chapter 4 the author covers making marks on paper with exercises (she calls explorations) for the reader to complete. She includes techniques from resists to different types of printing.

She moved on after that chapter into making mark with stitches. This was the part of the book I absolutely loved! She covers choosing needles and threads, and a variety of hand stitches including running stitch, radiant stitch, spiral stitch, knots, loop stitch, reef knots and ties, and several pages on French knots. All of these stitches are explained and many of them include illustrations.

Reef knots and ties
Reef knots and ties
spiral stitch
spiral stitch

 She also included machine stitches.

machine stitching
machine stitching

She ends this book with some inspiration (although to me the whole book was inspirational), using a sketchbook, material and equipment needed, choosing a focus, and finishing. She also includes  resources pages, suppliers, and organizations.

I believe this book lives up to it’s tag line – Fresh inspiration for quilt and fiber artists. However, it’s not the easiest read due to the small sans serif body type. I was going to blame it on my aging eyes, but when I was a graphic designer many years ago I detested sans serif used as body type. It’s just too hard to read, especially when it is small. But Helen includes so much good information, and the illustrations and beautiful pictures make up for that.

If you are looking for inspiration and the opportunity to really look at your marks, this is one book to have. I’m ready to get out my threads and start making some marks.

Mark Making contains 127 pages, retails for $28.95 and can be purchased from Interweave/F+W Media.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation.