Got a sewing machine? Many people have, and find that it lies dormant for long periods between one project and another. Get more out of it by taking up machine embroidery (which is a lot more free and easy than the hand variety) and discover ways of adorning all sorts of things, including your other stitched projects. There is something very liberating about this type of self-expression that awakens the child in people, and this book does manage to capture some of that essence. This is surely what the term "freestyle" ought to be all about, and a glance at this book will show the artist's personal visions captured in thread on fabric. The first chapter deals with understanding how to get to grips with the basics and how to use your sewing machine in such a way; what you need, how to use it and getting the tension right. That being sorted out, it is time for the adventure to begin and subsequent chapters deal with color, using different materials such as ink jet transfers, dissolvable fabrics and collage, experimenting with different stitching techniques and more. Finally there is a gallery of artists' work to inspire you, and even if you are not one for the abstracts and very "arty" work in this book reading all about the creative process ought to get you going. It worked with me, although just once I would love to see a sewing machine other than a Bernina featured in a book on this topic - -Myshelf.com This is a stunning book, written by a true artist. Carol has perfected the technique of drawing with the needle and through this book will teach you her basic freestyle machining methods and stitches. This is accompanied by step-by-step photographs and many stitched examples of her beautiful work, some of it unbelievable. There is also a gallery of work by other international fibre artists. If you wish to extend your stitching skills on the machine then this is the book for you.-Fabrications How I admire people who can paint with their sewing machine; it truly is an art form. Carol Shinn's work is amazing and the effects she creates are so painterly - but with that extra something that the texture of thread and stitch direction can give. As well as showing some of her own 'paintings', Carol shares her techniques for creating a piece of work. Through a series of exercises she shows how colour can be built up by mixing different shades of threads, including the subtleties of grading from light to dark. The processes used for creating an embroidery, from planning through to stitching, are clearly explained and there are plenty of photographs to clarify every step. A gallery of work by other artists from around the world introduces a welath of other ideas and inspiration. A lovely book to work through, browse through and wonder at.-Stitch This is a wondrous book with many examples of finished pieces that are breathtaking. Yet the actual instructions of how to do this kind of embroidery are limited to just twenty pages of the book. The remaining pages are a gallery with no instructions, a useful colour section on overlaying threads and a few techniques and tips. I would rather have seen more instructions on how to make a face in machine embroidery, how to make a 'landscape'. I do think this book is worthwhile because it is inspiring and shows you what can be achieved, but I am not at all sure that it is the best instructional book on freestyle machine embroidery.-KarenPlatt.co.uk I discovered Carol Shinn's photorealistic freestyle machine stitching at a recent exhibition and was blown away. Carol uses a myriad of colours and shades to create intensely detailed pieces of machine embroidered art, and the effects are amazing. So when I realised that she had written a book on the subject, I knew I needed to read it. This kind of creative artwork seems beyond the reach of mere mortals, but Carol breaks the process down into sections, covered in detailed chapters with terrific photography to illustrate the key points. The initial chapter introduces the process of Freestyle Machine Embroidery ("the process of designing art and embellishment with a sewing machine that does not control the fabric and stitches") and explains the mechanics of getting started. Carol's experience means that the narrative is packed with top tips and good practice, helping you get off on the right foot. The following chapter on colour theory and colour mixing introduces colour graduation and how you can manipulate multiple threads and layers to create terrific effects. From then on, Carol introduces us to her creative process and explains how she creates her pieces. Without wishing to downplay her considerable talent, it is quite surprising how simple the process is, and you come to realise that producing your own version of these works is not as impossible as first thought. The book also features a chapter on other contemporary machine embroidery artists, providing insight and inspiration from across the globe and an appendix full of useful information including workspace layout and other resources. All in all this is a great book for anyone interesting in this particular art form. It is loaded with terrific pictures and you could learn a lot from merely looking at those. However it is Carol's experience and knowledge that is the strength of the book. She does a great job of deconstructing her work and explaining the processes involved, and she does it with warmth and kindness. Finishing the book is akin to ending a one-on-one weekend course with a wonderful teacher - you are grateful for the experience, yet a bit sad that it has come to an end. Carol packs this book with love, wisdom and inspiration and leaves you feeling prepared and enthusiastic to starting stitching your own mini-masterpieces.-Mr Cross Stitch Carol Shinn has produced a beautiful, lavishly illustrated book on techniques and inspiration for Fibre Art. Her explanations about technique and use of the sewing machine are clear and easy to follow, but the outstanding feature for me was the excellence and quality of her own stitching. She blends colour superbly with machine threads and uses this method to produce exquisite, densely stitched masterpieces. She shows the research behind the finished pieces which I found very interesting. There is also an inspirational Gallery of other well known textile artists at the end of the book. This is a superb book for anyone interested in freestyle Machine Embroidery.-Meg-online.info
About the Author
Carol Shinn is a studio artist from Tempe, Arizona, known internationally for photo-realistic machine-stitched images. She holds a BFA from the University of Colorado and a MFA from Arizona State University. She has taught many classes and workshops across the country, including at schools such as Arrowmont, Penland, and Haystack, and her work can be found in numerous public and private collections.