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Machine Embroidered Seascapes
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Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Materials & equipment 8
Inspiration 12
Composition 20
Planning an embroidery 24
Starting to stitch 30
Elements of seascapes 34
Skies 50
Project: Sunset 52
Paper & Stitch 56
Project: Relentless Waves 58
Project: Pebble Beach 62
Project: Crashing Wave 74
Project: Splash! 88
Index 96

About the Author

Alison Holt studied Fine Art, Textiles and Embroidery at Goldsmiths College, London where she experimented with many textile techniques before choosing machine embroidery as a medium. She started to explore her love of gardens and the countryside through embroidery, finding it the perfect vehicle to express the various textures and forms she finds so fascinating. She now teaches machine embroidery, silk painting and surface decoration and runs courses at her studio. She also works to commission, and exhibits her embroideries in Britain and America. Her work is sold to private collectors all over the world.

Here are two videos featuring Alison Holt and the techniques she uses. You will find lots more on You Tube.

Reviews

Issue 24

To review a book by Alison Holt is always a pleasure. Machine Embroidered Seascapes is another truly inspirational work, filled with beautiful illustrations of what can be achieved with a sewing machine, threads and just two simple stitches. Stunningly realistic pictures, full of mood and atmosphere, are created by using threads as an artist would use paint, ranging from waves crashing onto a rocky, windswept shore to sunlight dancing on a bright blue Mediterranean Sea. The book clearly lists all the materials and equipment you will need and moves smoothly into sources of inspiration and how to capture them with sketch and camera, composition and planning. Five stunning projects allow you to create beautiful seascapes of your own, and there are numerous examples of Alison's original and exquisite work to delight and inspire.

* Flair *

October 2014

Synopsis: A richly illustrated book that is both instructional and inspirational, showcasing the author's exquisite machine embroidered seascapes and explaining, step by step, how they can be achieved. Building on the success of her previous books, Alison Holt shows you how to produce incredible seascapes using various combinations of just two simple machine stitches. The techniques are broken down into clear, step-by-step instructions, and there are five stunning projects as well as many examples of Alison's original and exquisite work to delight and inspire you.

Alison 'paints' her threads on to hand-coloured backgrounds, blending her stitches and achieving stunning results. The raised effects of the embroidery produce a beautiful three-dimensional look and her clever use of perspective is effective and easily achieved.

This book covers everything, including the materials required; how to compose a picture from photographs that have inspired you; painting backgrounds; and all the basic stitch techniques you need to know. This is an inspirational book for artists, embroiderers and textile artists alike, and a ` must-have' instructional book for anyone interested in learning about free-motion machine embroidery.

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

In Machine Embroidered Seascapes Alison Holt provides detailed descriptions of how she works and what inspires her, as well as practical guidance on the basic techniques, stitches, materials and equipment.

Detailed instructions explain how to create realistic scenes, from the sunlit glow of the Mediterranean to the drama of a stormy, windswept beach in winter. Alison also introduces a new technique that combines paper, fabric and stitch to produce embroideries with a more abstract feel.

This book is both instructive and inspirational. There are numerous examples of Alison's exquisite work to excite and inspire you plus five step-by-step projects to enable you to put your skills into practice and produce beautiful machine embroidered seascapes of your own.

* hotbrandscoolplaces.com *

Sept/Oct Workbox

A richly illustrated book that is both instructional and inspirational, showcasing the author's exquisite machine embroidered seascapes and explained, step by step, how they can be achieved. Building on the success if her previous books, Alison Holt shows you how to produce incredible seascapes using various combinations of just two simple machine stitches. The techniques are broken down into clear step-by-step instructions, and there are five stunning projects as well as many examples of Alison's original and exquisite work to delight and inspire you. Alison 'paints' her threads on to hand-coloured backgrounds, blending her stitches and achieving stunning results. The raised effects of the embroidery produce a beautiful three-dimensional look and her clever use of perspective is effective and easily achieved. This book covers everything, including the materials required; how to compose a picture from photographs that have inspired you; painting backgrounds; and all the basic stitch techniques you need to know. Detailed instructions explain how to create realistic scenes, from the sunlit glow of the Mediterranean to the drama of a stormy, windswept beach in winter. Alison also introduces a new technique that combines paper, fabric and stitch to produce embroideries with a more abstract feel. This is an inspirational book for artists, embroiderers and textiles artists alike, and a 'must-have' instructional book for anyone interested in learning about free-motion machine embroidery. Detailed descriptions of how the author works and what inspires her, as well as practical guidance on the basic techniques, stitches, material and equipment, make this book both instructive and inspirational. There are numerous examples of the author's exquisite work to excite and inspire you, along with five step-by-step projects to enable you to put your skills into practice and produce beautiful machine embroidered seascapes of your own.

* Workbox *

Aug/Sep 12

Alison's gorgeous embroideries capture the sea in all of its moods. From the hypnotic effect of waves tumbling onto the shoreline to the rolling, frothing, swelling waves that crash against the rocks, all of the atmosphere and drama is there. Alison begins with simple painting onto silk fabric. The painting provides a basic background for the stitching and you don't have to have any real artistic talent to achieve good results. By dividing the areas of your photograph into simple blocks of colour, the detail is added by the stitching. Dune grasses, cliffs, breakwaters, rocky shores and pebbly beaches convey a real sense of being there, and many of the elements that she includes will be found in seaside photographs.

* Stitch *

May 12

This is one of those books that makes you say `wow' every time you turn the page. Alison's designs are true works of art, and I find it amazing that she can make a stitched image can look so realistic. The sea is a subject that is hard to capture in any art form due to its constant moving and subtle changes in colour but this book gives you a step by step guide to capturing the sea in several different stitched pictures. This book combines stunning photography with clear step by step instructions to help the reader use their machine to create a work of art. The first half of the book covers inspiration, composition, planning & painting the background. The second half of the book contains 5 projects with detailed instructions and large images for every step. This is a truly inspirational book.

* Sewing Directory, The *

Sept 12

I remarked recently that Search Press doesn't publish many hardcover books but here is another one, and something rather out of the ordinary. They have published books on machine embroidery before, including more than one by this author (check the archive for reviews) but not one on seascapes. This will obligingly open out flat on your table and stay there while you work on your own masterpiece. You don't need much to take up this addictive hobby and if you own a sewing machine you have most of it already, something which is always encouraging. There is plenty to inspire you once the nuts and bolts are out of the way: buy postcards, take photographs, keep a small sketchbook and look at the author's own efforts in this line. Look at examples of capturing all the components of a seascape, compose and plan. I found reading this to be very inspiring, getting me thinking about all the elements of the picture I wanted to create and how to put them across in the best way. Pictures speak louder than words with art and there are plenty of these with the text explaining what has been done and why. There is a chapter on transferring the design and another showing all the different effects done with stitches and how to achieve them. Capture the sea in different moods, pebbles, rocks, headlands and skies and work through a tutorial on using paper to convey the effect of foaming waves. There are three projects in here two of the type Search Press has made its own with lots of staged photographs with captions, a foolproof way of working through a project. The large format and lush photography combined with a hands-on approach that is hard to resist had me reaching for my sewing machine. A great book for any machine embroiderer' shelf, beginner through to advanced.

* Myshelf.com *

December 2014

We have waited a few years for Alison Holt's new book since `Machine Embroidered

Landscapes' was reviewed in WOW in June 2009. Using similar techniques, this book looks at

a different part of nature with Alison's attention to detail and wonderful colour choices.

The author's work in the book covers many of the characteristics of stitching the sea and

coastline, and it charts the progression from using photographs for inspiration, planning the

composition and starting to create a piece of work.

Her process is mainly centred on using silk painted backgrounds and these techniques are

explored in the projects appearing towards the end of the book. Leading up to that, a study of

how to compose a picture, paint a background and choose a colour palette are featured, giving

useful tips on getting the best from your photos or ideas and translating them into a scene that

is visually balanced.

Emphasis is also given to Alison's style of sewing. For pieces that are so heavily machine

embroidered, different types of stitching for different elements are explained. For example,

choppy water is approached in a different way to breaking waves. When you look at how

detailed and varied Alison's pictures are, you start to appreciate how the different types of

stitching all work together to create the whole piece.

The projects are particularly good as they take the reader through each step, stating what to

stitch and which colour to use. There are several illustrations in each section with a good idea of

how to approach different colour palettes and textures. The use of collage, tissue and

handmade paper to create texture also introduces another dimension to the work, certainly

making the finished pieces more interesting.

This is a great book for anyone wanting to expand their stitching repertoire into creating

dramatic seascapes.

* Workshop On The Web *

June/July 2015

The ocean is one of the most inspiring yet difficult natural subjects to portray in stitch, and yet Alison Holt's astonishing work captures this constantly changing element so vividly, the viewer can almost taste the salty sea air. A sense of movement above and below sea level is conveyed with a clarity and dynamism redolent of Japanese artists like Hokusai. The ocean's many moods, rentlessly shifting, are executed here with breathtaking skill. From softly breaking on distant rocks with almost audible crashed and splashed, Alison expertly interprets water in stitch. Further out to sea, hidden depths are hinted at, suggested beautifully by stitched lines. Even the undertow of the rolling waves is illustrated with swirling, stitched precision. Clear guidance on composition, colouring the background, and general advice on stitching are accompanied by step-by-step photo-illustrated instructions which take the reader through each and every step of producing projects such as 'Crashing Wave'. Now re-issued in paperback format, this is a genuinely instructional book, akin to having a one-to-one workshop with someone who is truly a master of their art.

* Stitch *

Nov 12

The author has produced an inspiring book using the patterns and textures observed in the sea and sky to make machine embroidered Artworks. This book will be of great value to stitchers who wish to develop their machine embroidery techniques. The contents cover materials and equipment, inspiration and how to plan work. She utilises threads in the same way that artists use paint and explains how she uses free motion embroidery to create the rich surfaces and textures of the seaside using her sewing machine. There are clear and informative illustrations and explanations of her working methods, which have developed recently into incorporating paper into her work to create even more interesting surfaces. She includes five projects which help the reader to develop their own ideas and create stunning landscapes of their own. Chapters on painting a background, elements of seascapes and skies would also be invaluable to anyone interested in developing machine embroidery techniques. This inspirational book is full of creative ideas.

* Merseyside Embroiderer's Guild (megonline.co.uk) *

June 12

Alison Holt has done it again, another lovely book on machine embroidery , wonderful photographs, all projects explained very well. Within a day of receiving the book I couldn't wait any longer and had to have a go, even thouogh I was just out of hospital having had major surgery. I will be making more seascapes and using more of the ideas in the future.-"Jennifer Wade", Amazon

* Customer *

Jun/Jul 12

The sea is a notoriously tricky subject to depict in art, and in Alison's latest book she admirably captures the subject in all its moods. From choppy seas, frothy waves and rolling surf, to sandy dunes, pebble beaches and coastal skies, step-by-step photographs demonstrate how to present the image in detail, so realistic that one can almost taste the salty sea spray! With the addition of collaged textured papers, Alison introduces a further dimension to the stitched image. This is a must-have volume for all her fans.

* East Kent Embroiderer's Guild *

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