Art Books I Can’t Live Without

I love to read: fiction, non-fiction, romance, instruction–you name it. And I love it when other hardcore readers suggest books they love and think I would enjoy, too.

So today, I thought I'd give you a list of some of my favorite books of the art and craft variety, the ones I have on my studio shelf and a few I don't have yet but plan to get for future enjoyment.

Many of them I'm sure you've heard of, but I'm bringing them to your attention today because I don't want you to miss out on a great opportunity to get these must-have books at a terrific discount during Interweave's annual Hurt Book Sale.

These books are just a little bit injured–a bent cover here, a dusty page there there–but they are deeply discounted, some as much as 75% of the list price.

The Surface Designer's Handbook: Dyeing, Printing, Painting, and Creating Resists on Fabric, by Holly Brackmann.

This is truly is the bible of dyeing and surface design for artists of all levels.Holly tells you everything you need to know about dyes, dyeing, and printing techniques, and how to apply them to different fabrics for unique results.

Creative Quilting: The Journal Quilt Project, edited by Karey Patterson Bresenhan.

Every time I look at these 400 quilts culled from the Journal Quilt Project–and I've looked at them a lot–I see techniques, ideas, and stories I never noticed before.  If you need a new approach to a quilt design or want to see how another art quilter expressed herself through art, this is the go-to book.

Bags With Paper And Stitch: Innovative Surface Techniques for Embellishing Bags by Isobel Hall.

This book really expands the creative mind! Isobel explores so many unusual materials for making stitchable paper, including silk cocoon strippings, linen, flax, merino, and paper clay. Then she embellishes those papers with found objects, embossing enamels, and metals, plus embroidery techniques.

Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs by Beryl Taylor.

I return to Beryl's techniques for turning the mundane into the extraordinary again and again. This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to explore the possibilities of combining quilting, creative embroidery, and paper art.

As I was going through the list of books available during the Hurt Book sale, a couple caught my eye that I would love to have for that date, sometime in the future, when I have time to branch out into the world of yarn. I've been intrigued by the crocheted handiwork of Quilting Arts Assistant Editor Pippa Eccles, so I wouldn't mind having Getting Started Crochet on my shelf. I'm curious to see how I might use my stash of novelty yarns and ribbons to make a crocheted scarf or even an interesting edging.

And, if anything was going to prompt me to learn to knit, it would have to be Dogs in Knits: 17 Projects for Our Best Friends by Judith L. Swartz. My ever-shivering Italian Greyhound, Maggie, would love a wardrobe of sweaters, I'm sure.

What are the art instruction books you can't live without? Leave a comment below.


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Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog

3 thoughts on “Art Books I Can’t Live Without

  1. This is one of my favorites – Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials by Karin Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Bonny Pierce Lhotka . A must have for integrating computer printing and mixed media techniques.


  2. I have a varied libary of art and quilting books old and new. I love Pokey’s book “The Quilting Arts Book”, Inspired to Quilt by Melanie Testa, Art and Quilt Lyric Kinard. Three of my old favorites that really got me started experimenting with art quilting – Raising the Surface by Maggie Grey (It took my years to figure out nappy’s were diaper liners, go figure), Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold, and Quilters Playtime by Diane Hire. I can’t wait for Jane Dunnewolds new book. This is my first posting to any blog, I can feel and addiction coming on.

  3. when I discovered lyric’s book it was like magic. The creative exercises and the comments by other quilt artists helped me see what I was doing as a expressive. I’m also finding Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw interesting and helpful in terms of reflecting on my creativity and faith.