Fabric Books

In March four eT members ( plus 20 other ladies) attended three days of workshops in Berry, on the south coast of New South Wales. The workshops were with Ro Bruhn, a Victorian artist making and selling Jewellery, journals, painting, etc. She also teaches workshops and on-line classes. Her blog can be found at http://robruhn.blogspot.com.au/index.html

For two days we worked on a fabric book. Although fabric books are not a new concept, Ro Bruhn approaches the content from a painters and graphic artist’s perspective.  As she freely tells her classes, her sewing experience is limited. Her imagery is to die for.  Her pages are visually textured and multilayered.  Something I am striving to become in my own work.  She also dyes white fabric, lace, embroidered dollies, “ugly” fabric etc. in a single colour.  They look fantastic either incorporated into a page or inserted whole.  I did cringe when I saw she had over dyed hand embroidered table linen, although I have seen some very stained ones in charity shops. Uhmmm!

Ro also includes drawings and other paper based pages.  Something I may attempt in later books. As you can see from the picture below, there is no limit to what she uses: feathers, labels, beads, clothing labels and all manner of objects find there way into her books. Her work is very inspiring. The first image is a workshop sample book and is incomplete.  It has the cover and one signature or set of pages inserted. The second image is from another book.

Journal pages from Ro Bruhn workshop - Patrise


Ro’s requirement list got me thinking about all those sample pieces and precious bits I have sitting in drawers; to precious to throw away but do not know what to do with them.  Well these books I have found an answer to this problem.  I have dragged out as many as I can find and am including them in my books.  Yes I did say books.  I made a few pages and a cover in the workshop but decided I would like one book to be rich and opulent and the other to be bright and fresh.  Below are the two covers I have made.


Cover 1 Cover 2

Since the books are constructed like a paper book with signatures.  The pages can be decorated as double spreads or as two separate works per page; so are small and portable to work on. Since individual pages are placed back to back and sewn around the edge to make a double sided page all sorts of techniques can be incorporated.  The pages can be decorated as double spreads or as two separate works per page. After being decorated, these pages are grouped into a signature for binding.  She advocates making the pages any size you like and the cover is tailored to the page size.  I have adjusted Ro’s techniques to suit my preferred way of working, something she encourages.

At the Exhibition I hope to have my first two books completed and at least one other member has one finished.  I think there may be others for you to look at and touch.  Below are the two sides of one of the pages I completed in Berry.

Page A

Page B


This entry was posted in Dyeing, embroidery, extraTexture, Fabric Books, FLIGHT exhibition 2015, Kerry, Mixed Media, textile art and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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