Friday, February 08, 2008

Book Review: Thread Painting

Many fabric artists understand what a difference threadwork can make on a quilted piece, and most of us are familiar with the concept of painting with thread. But in this new book, "Thread Painting" by Leni Levenson Weiner (Krause Publications, 2007), Weiner makes the concept and technique very accessible. Leni Levenson Weiner is a talented quilt artist, as you can see by looking through her quilt gallery. So it's especially fascinating to get a close-up look at how she uses threadwork to not just embellish, but also create the focal images for her pieces.

The book includes solid information on the basics of thread painting (tension, stabilizers, needles, and thread). However, the meat of the book is in the various image sources Weiner demonstrates as the starting point for thread painting -- sketches, lettering, photographic images, even the print of fabric itself. Weiner shows good examples and gives tips on how to illustrate, highlight and embellish images with elaborate thread painting. This makes the process look easy and fun and well worth a try. I especially like how many photographs there are, showing each process step-by-step.

The processes are demonstrated through 17 specific projects, including thread painting on clothing, making fabric postcards, and making a portrait sketch from a photograph. The book includes patterns and templates to use if you want to duplicate them or use them for practice.

Although the projects are attractive and provide good examples of the variety of uses of thread painting, my only disappointment with this book is that there isn't a separate gallery of more thread-painted pieces. While I like that the book has fairly simple examples (in increasing complexity), I also would like to see more complex work by Weiner and other artists to give me something to aim for in developing these skills.

All in all, it's a book worth looking at.


  1. I was a bit disappointed in the same thing. I had eagerly anticipated the release of this book - and although I think it is especially useful as a learning tool - I wish it had gone a bit further. Thanks for the review !

  2. I want to learn thread painting. Your review has convinced me that this might be a very good beginner's book.