“This object that we hold in our hands, a book… that tactile pleasure, it’s just not going to go away.” –Maggie Stiefvater

I am incredibly tactile. If I see a beautiful object, I want to touch it. To run my fingertips over it, search for a scent, close my eyes and enjoy the texture over my palms. Doesn’t work real well in museum situations, but books, textiles, fibers? Plants and wood, leaves and flowers. It’s all the same to me. I want to touch. To breathe in the scents. To run my eyes over beauty and feel it in my soul.

Touch. And to touch Stitch and Structure by Jean Draper is sheer pleasure to touch. I Feet in the Soil  Jean Draper- sculptural  Pieced cottons and silks, dense hand stitching in Mulberry silk and cotton perle to give a three-dimensional structure to the surface: removed it from its packaging and was immediately surprised by just how tactile the cover is. Soft, with a definite velvety feel, as if I were touching a newborn kitten. The format is large, allowing me to rub my palms over the cover, my fingertips loving the softness. The beauty of the cover on a visual scale is gorgeous. Textured textile, cords and wraps, spread out in a luscious view, reminiscent of a landscape of mountains and valleys seen from above – and the eyes of the earth along the top, both clever and surprising.

Then, opening the book is yet another joy. Smooth, supple paper, cool to the touch. Rich, vibrant colour, brilliant black line drawings, the artwork leaps from the page, starting that little flutter of the heart that indicates that you have in your hand something truly gorgeous.

And then, the art itself. These are unconventional structures: linear and curved, odd and unusual, some radiantly colorful, some reminiscent of earth, wood and stone and the swirl of water, the nest of a bird, the striations of a cave wall. Beauty. Structure. Form. Light and airy, or dense and convoluted, each item on the pages carries a sense of the soul of the earth. Draper’s work is the epitome of organic textiles. You learn her methods, whether it be drawing with a purpose, photographing natures lines and edges to constructing with threads, mounting threads in apparent thin air – her methods are beautifully Jean Draper interview: Hand stitched landscapes - TextileArtist.orgdesigned, her art flawlessly flawed, making each piece a mix of odd, unique, and stunningly unusual in the best of ways. I am thrilled with the book, can you tell?

I won Stitch and Structure from Reader’s Desk (ijustread.it) in their Read Whatcha Like startup-logoGiveaway, and I can’t say just how pleased I am. Thanks, Reader’s Desk, for allowing me to choose this book for my prize!

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