In this season's new stitchery books, you can find out how to do Oriental embroidery, make varied application of the Gobelin stitch, learn something about the basic theories of design and color in needlepoint, and a good deal more.
"Needlepoint and Beyond" by Edith Anderson Feisner (Scribner's, $17.95). The subtitle, "27 Lessons in Advanced Canvas Work," could easily scare off the novice. In fact, this is a working manual. The first chapters dealing with canvas, tools, basic stitching, and transferring the design to canvas are explicit as we have seen anywhere. There are photos, diagrams and plenty of intelligent explanations. Excellent chapters on basic theories of design and color might lead the reader to heights of invention and creativity. There are further sections on such advanced techniques as shading, letting, needleweaving, applique, incorporation found objects, metal threads and stumpwork. And, finally, conservation, restoration and finishing are dealt with in a sensible way.
"The Art of Oriental Embroidery" by Young Y. Chung (Scribner's, $25). After an account of basic materials and techniques, the author goes on to a scholarly, well-written history on Oriental culture and silk embroidery. Detailed descriptions of the Chinese Dragon Robe, the Japanese Kimono, the Korean Bridal Robe, and scrolls, screens and banners follow. There are fine line drawings and over 200 photographs, including some beautiful ones in color. This is a lovely book and should be of interest to both beginning and advanced embroiderers.
"Gobelin Stitch Embroidery" by Pauline Chatteron (Scribner's, $17.95). Instructions, carefully illustrated, are given for working 70 Scandinavian, Persian, American Patchwork, American Indian, African and Egyptian designs in the easily learned upright Gobelin stitch. This could be just the place for the timid beginner to start stitchery. Gobelin is plump and handsome looking, goes quickly and needs no printed design on the canvas. It wouldn't be hard to create one's own patterns either.
"Embroidered Samplers" by Dorothea Kay (Scribner's $12.50). Ten designs, inspired by original samplers from the 16th to 19th centuries and adapted by the author, are shown in chronological order with complete graphs of patterns and diagrams of stitches. Nicely and lucidly written with a short history accompanying each section, this is one for the experienced embroiderer.
"Rugs and Wall Hangings" by Maggie Lane (Scribner's; paperback $9.95). Twelve Chinese designs (five for panels and seven for rugs) are shown in color, and the reader is helped to carry them out in needlepoint using graphs as guides. The writing is pleasant, the diagrams of stitches can be followed easily, but the general approach may be too mechanical.
"Dictionary of Canvas Work Stitches" by the Mary Rhodes (Scribner's $17.50). Accompanied by diagrams and black-and-white photographs, some 250 needlepoint stitches from Algerian Eye to Woven Trellis are described. This might be helpful as a reminder to the advanced embroider, but the drawings and explanations are probably not clear enough for the novice.
"Embroidering Our Heritage: the Dinner Party Needlework" by Judy Chicago with Susan Hill (Doubleday; hardcover $34.95, paperback $15.95). The Dinner Party is a huge happening-sculpture by Judy Chicago. It is a triangular table on a ceramic platform with place settings celebrating the achievements of 39 women, real and fictional. There are 39 elaborately embroidered cloths (runners) designed by Chicago and carried out by hundreds of helpers over a period of three and a half years. Each experimental embroidery project is dealt with in detail including color photographs and drawings. Chicago's trials and tribulations, both personal and professional, are treated at length; it's an exhaustive book. The sculpture itself is presently on view in New York at the Brooklyn Museum through Jan. 18. Painting on Glass
"The Art of Painting on Glass" by Albinas Elskus (Scribner's, $17.95).
The author writes: "After many centuries of being recognized primarily as a church art, or an auxiliary of architecture, or as mere decoration, stained glass has come into its own as a unique expression of contemporary art." For serious students of the art of staining glass this could be an invaluable book. sThere are chapters on vitreous paints, needed equipment, painting techniques, linear and tonal dimensions, kilns for firing, basic design considerations and creativity. A list of suppliers of equipment and a good index are included.