Today I made the mistake of reading a very unpleasant and I believe unfair review of our book on Amazon. There are 4 AMAZING reviews and one written by 'penpal' (so not even willing to put their real name.) It would appear they were given the book for Xmas and didn't like it. Not very gracious to the person who bought them the present and not nice for me to read.
I can't understand from the review what they expected the book to be. They describe it as a bit basic. It's a handbook. By that definition yes parts are basic. It was our remit to produce something that was for students and for those with a practice other than textiles who wanted to try something new. It wasn't a how to of stitches but an insight into some of the ways designers work. If they looked at any other books in the series of textile handbooks they would see it has a great deal more content than normal. It is described as 'padded' with repetitive Photoshop designs. There are many original drawings and photographs, all of which are new for this book. In many other books there are just the same old photos of practitioners work we could all find on the internet... and indeed everyone of the 300 illustrations is a new image created especially for this book.
We attempted to show process. We used technology to encourage people who may not have, or be very confident if their academic drawing skills to find ways to develop their designs.
Some of the projects ( there are over 20) are designed to be introductory or indeed pretty basic. Something that could be accomplished with and by children. Something you could sit down and do in an afternoon. The reviewer seemed quite offended by cable ties. If you haven't seen the book this is only a few pages ( perhaps the only ones they looked at?) To argue against the reviewers comments I would stress that this was more of a way of working, rather than being sponsored by cable tie manufacturers. We teach how traditional techniques can be interpreted in other material and at other scales. The ones with cable ties especially. The objects do still have a function. My cousin's children wear the clogs and play with the bags. All of these were made for very little money and are meant to be lighthearted for those who want impact without hundreds of hours of labour. Indeed in other projects with kantha quilting the throw took me over 150 hours of hand stitch. Not everyone wants to take on board a project like that. 'Pen pal' may be dismissive of beginners but everyone has to start somewhere. We never expected every reader to like every project. Penal did like the embellisher chapter. Those machines cost 400 plus needles. So maybe not for everyone?
There are many projects like Helen's sequins which only someone very skilled in both design or technique could produce.
Many textile people are asking for more tips on CAD and we do go into digital printing as well as hand and machine stitch.
I bristle most at the suggestion that this book was ill thought out. It took 2 1/2 years, cost me over 3 grand to produce the new work ( and the rejected or developmental pieces that were part of the making if this). Everything in that book was agonised over.
Fair enough the reader didn't get it. Please don't think it was something throw away. The advance from the publishers is tiny. If I had made it with that budget I could take on board 'padding' and 'ill thought out' ... but it does take you from inspiration, design, making a fabric, embellishing a fabric, manipulating a fabric through to distressing a fabric. We have sold over a 1000 copies world wide and this is the first negative review I have seen.
I know it has been useful to many students.
I am disappointed that 'pen pal' was so dismissive. I do feel they flicked through without giving it a fair chance. They recommend The Perspectives books instead. I am a contributor to both of those hand and machine books and would agree they are wonderful books. Please buy them and Read them!
However they are totally different things. They don't talk about 'how to' they talk about 'why'. That simply isn't the remit we were asked to undertake.
If pen pal gets in touch I would give them the very modest 11.55 sterling back, well actually to the kind person who bought it for the ungrateful 'pen pal' to try and get them a better present!