22 November 2011
sew wild with alisa burke
While I am a seamstress, I am a complete novice when it comes to quilting and free-motion stitching of any sort. As a huge fan, follower and student of Alisa Burke’s, I was already growing an interest in exploring that avenue for creative expression. So with the release of her latest book, Sew Wild, I was naturally quite excited to take a closer look.
In my usual, thrifty way, I was hoping to be able to see a copy first hand before deciding whether or not to add it to my craft book library. I was therefore very pleased when my mom persuaded her local quilter’s guild to acquire a copy for their group reference library and borrow it for a while. And I am glad they did...
Presented in Alisa’s signature messy and unconventional style, Sew Wild is all about creating with free-motion stitch and mixed media. Opening with chapters on materials, tools, colour, pattern and inspiration, two-thirds of the book is devoted to sharing her processes of creating unique surface designs and stitching techniques. A final chapter pulls everything together with 12 simple sewing projects. The bonus DVD provides a visual demonstration of many of the techniques illustrated, along with an extra bonus project.
Aimed at both the beginner and seasoned pro, Sew Wild hopes to inspire the reader to look at fabric, alternative materials and sewing in a different way, removing the fear that often surrounds the craft. Sew Wild is all about experimentation, embracing mistakes and play. While there is little technical or traditional information provided, there are lots of simple concepts and techniques that anyone can do and apply to their mixed-media projects.
Although I would tend to agree with my mom (an experienced art quilter) that there was nothing radically ground-breaking provided in Sew Wild, we were both intrigued to try out her technique for low-tech screen-printing. This said, as a fan of Alisa Burke’s style and creative philosophy, Sew Wild is a great reference source for her many techniques and methods, and a nice non-digital alternative to her blog, DVD and e-classes. Plus it’s more portable even than a laptop!
The projects were a good demonstration of how the various techniques could be combined and applied in new ways to popular classics. I could certainly see myself interpreting them in my own way, free-motion stitches included or no. Lastly, the DVD demonstrations by Alisa were a nice companion to the printed step-by-steps of the book, providing the reader with an alternative viewpoint of the techniques shown.
So will I be putting Sew Wild on my wish list and adding it to my permanent craft library this Christmas? Well, as an aficionado of Alisa’s, I would say yes for the reference it provides. As a beginner to the world of quilting and free-motion stitching, I would also agree for its’ easy, accessible approach to the subject. Finally, for the more experienced, more traditional quilter wanting to stretch their creative wings, I would also say yes. With Sew Wild as an encouraging reference by my side, I feel all the more confident to try out some free-motion, wild, go-for-it, sewing techniques in my own mixed-media surface designs. After all it’s only fabric!
Since releasing her book, Sew Wild, Alisa has added two new e-classes to her portfolio that delve more deeply into topics covered by the book for those wishing to further their skills: Beneath the Surface for more surface design techniques, and Free Motion Graffiti on more in-depth messy stitching techniques. Sew Wild!
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