Book Review: Living in a Fairytale World, by Mister Finch

Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch

Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch

Sometimes an artist needs some inspiration.

If you sew, create from nature, or work with vintage materials, and you’re looking for inspiration, then I highly suggest that you check out the work of Mister Finch, textile artist.

Mister Finch works alone, from his imagination, creating a miscellany of flora, fauna, and the stuff of fairy tales out in Yorkshire, the United Kingdom. He works primarily from vintage fabrics–curtains, old cross stitch or embroidery projects, and upcycled clothing are just some of the fabrics that I could identify in the still-life photographs in his recent book, Living in a Fairytale World (which I received free from a publicist). Silk and leather fabrics are in evidence, but none are new.

Living in a Fairytale World by Mister FinchJust a flip through the book is a source of inspiration–the the moth there at the right, with the fur body and the tapestry wings? Gorgeous!–but a more steady perusal shows the book’s taxonomic organization into photos of handmade insects, birds, fungi, and mammals. If you like to work with wire, you’ll be fascinated to see the detail that goes into twisting a bird’s feet out of grey wire, or angling a spider’s matching eight legs. If you’re more interested in sewing stuffies, you’ll want to pore over what you can see of the work that went into that napping fox, and the pleats underneath the mushroom caps.

All of this is possible to study, of course, because the photos are striking, concerned most of all with preserving the details in each handmade creation. It’s easy to see the stitching down a bird’s belly in these photographs, and the way that fabric is wrapped to form the stalk of a fungus.

This isn’t a book for those who solely sew from patterns–although you’ll enjoy it, and it might make you brave enough to strike out on your own. Living in a Fairytale World is really a book for fellow textile artists, and those who seek to create new things from the old. Study the techniques on display here, notice the methods that are captured in the photograph, and let these details inspire you in your own work with found and vintage materials.

[images via Mister Finch. I received a copy of this book free from a publicist so that I could feel jealous of those awesome sewn moths.]

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