Strange Material – Leanne Prain – Introduction

After waiting about three weeks Strange Material – Storytelling through Textiles  by Leanne Prain arrived. I saw a revue or a mention of her name somewhere and as I was taking a course on writing fairy tales it begged to be bought.

I expected a light reading picture book with a few basic projects to complete but I’ve been surprised by the depth of research Leanne has carried out in order to present a rich treasure of information on textiles of all kinds. It’s just my kind of book as on each page I am reaching for ‘google search’ to find out more about the artists mentioned – not because there is a lack of detail but the author has tempted me to delve deeper.


Leanne is all inclusive in her book, she acknowledges the self taught hobbyist’s work is as valid as the highest trained artist yet textile art still has a lowly status. She encourages the reader to make their own work and asks the question, ‘What is the worst that can happen?’

 Lydia Protege

Sherri Lynn Wood  has embroidered Tattoo Baby Doll Project

Lydia’s tattoos were designed by artist  Sarah Peacock, and this is her statement about Lydia.

“Lydia, oh Lydia, oh have you seen Lydia…?!” Marx Bros. Lydia’s tattoos represent many strengths and great courage. She wears a combination of Western & Eastern art; the 3/4 “robe” reflects traditional Japanese tattoos of the irezumi, whilst the imagery belongs to American “old school.” Both touch on remarkable beauty, but also give light to social taboo… the Japanese irezumi (literally those with the “insertion of ink”) are still very underground. In America it is acceptable for a woman to have one or two delicately placed tattoos, but a fully covered woman is perceived on a much different level, someone to be glimpsed at, watched, commented on, but rarely approached, and often feared. To achieve a full bodysuit of this proportion takes great commitment and endurance for both the wearer and the artist. For this reason I have immortalized Lydia in the backpiece, nestled upon the sacred lotus, under the canopy of tattoo machines, glowing like the Madonna of Guadalupe. On her front, mermaids swim alongside coy carp, giving strength through the waters of the emotions. The bluebirds on her chest show the miles she has traveled on her journey to completeness. So take a good look at Lydia and reflect on her beauty. Next time you see here, go and talk to her.”


Aubrey Longley-Cook piece Runaway tells the story of his room-mates dog Gus.


Jenny Hart‘s birth commemoration takes on an unusual twist as on first glance it looks like a poster for a rock concert.


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