Batsford £19.99

ISBN: 978-1-906388-23-2 (h/b, 128 pages)

I have long coveted this book after seeing it on an online book website some time ago, but decided I’d wait until it reduced in price. The front cover photo of a colourful tote bag lured me back to this book every time I was online so when I saw it advertised at a lower price, I decided I had to take the opportunity and buy it.

On the first look-through I was a disheartened as it was not the kind of format that I love in craft books, preferring not just photos but good patterns too which enable the reader to re-produce the contents they really like. To me, the book was more of a detailed artist sketchbook with the ideas in photographs and sketches with the thought process behind each project. On a positive note, the book has a comprehensive variety of innovative art techniques such as painting with acrylic paints, transfer paints, use of Lutrador to name a few and explains how to achieve the end result with the use of heat tools, sewing machines, Bondaweb and my favourite, recycled found objects.

The photographs and illustrations of the techniques and projects are influenced by several artists from all over the world but compiled by Ineke Berlyn who herself is an award-winning quilt artist.

I love the ideas and can live without formal patterns in this instance because it is very well explained, with sketches to guide the reader as to measurement suggestions, while giving the opportunity to the reader to take ownership of creating their own works of art. There is something for most quilters or quilt artists to gain knowledge of techniques that like myself, may have avoided previously.

Although I was disillusioned with this book at first, I still felt the draw from it so ventured between the pages again and again until I was captivated by it and inspired to recreate a project using my own recycled found objects. Though my project is very similar to one in the book, I am extremely pleased I stuck with it and allowed this book to open up my imagination to go on to create other projects in the book. 

The following photograph is my first project for which I used old jeans from the 80’s, cast off jeans from my grandchildren and a piece of denim fabric that has been hiding in a drawer for some time. I also used a leather hide for the boats, base and bias binding; and white faux leather in the panels, and for the moons. The more fraying of the denim the better and quilting in waves was easy. The fact that you make it up as you go means anything goes…..

In conclusion, I have changed my thinking about this book and having read it from cover to cover (several times), I now appreciate that this book is a little acorn from which the reader can be inspired to build their own oak tree…. I love this book! And I love my Recycled Jeans Tote Bag!

Marian Turner