May Gardenista


To celebrate May Day and the work of our hands, yours and mine, dear Reader, I am sharing with you the next in my ‘Botanica’ series of Artist’s Books. On the left (above) is the first ‘Gardenista’ book, beside some of my textiles auditioning for future roles in the series.


As with the Chinese Thread Book, I am working with my embroidered printed, painted and/or dyed textiles. This next set of books in the ‘Botanica’ series is entitled ‘Gardenista’ to recall a full garden at the height of the season, spilling over with flashy colours, striking forms and strong perfumes;  at the same time, I am taking a last look at the modestly lovely but fleeting spring messenger, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooming probably for its last day on May Day, and well before her showy ‘gardenista’ companions strut into the Kaleyard and steal the show:

IMG_0169Below are painted linen “Gardenista” textile book covers, embroidred with the names of the dye plants used for the ecoprinted pages within; the pamphlet-stitched pages have see-and-and-fruit like tassels attached:

IMG_0174IMG_0173IMG_0172The book is made as an accordion with pages inserted into the folds of both sides of the accordion (in both ‘mountain’ folds and ‘valley’ folds; so that there is really no front and no back per se.) The textiles shown under the book (above) are being auditioned for the next books in the set of ‘Gardenistas’. Below are (1) an ecoprinted silk panel (sumac and coreopsis), and (2) linen painted with acrylics and embroidered:

Coreopsis and sumac ecoprint

Coreopsis and sumac ecoprint



The pages inside the book are eco printed watercolour paper. The embroidered accordion spine is double sided. Below are some images of the painted and embroidered linen side of the accordion:

IMG_0186 IMG_0185IMG_0184 IMG_0183 IMG_0182 IMG_0181Here are pages from the other side of the accordion: the eco printed silk accordion spine with ‘trapped’ gold embroidery, with eco printed watercolour paper pages pamphlet stitched into the accordion folds.

IMG_0180 IMG_0179 IMG_0178 IMG_0177 IMG_0176 IMG_0175Close-ups of the stitching: above, handstitched gold on eco printed silk; below, free machine embroidery on painted linen.  And the last two images show the book standing up. Next time: A case for the book.








About wendyfe

I am a fibre artist working in mixed media textiles with a focus on vintage cloth reworked with stitching, natural dyeing, eco printing and rust printing . My work can be seen at
This entry was posted in accordion books, artist books, eco prints on paper, free motion embroidery. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to May Gardenista

  1. Faye says:

    These are gorgeous

  2. Pia says:

    I was going to say what Fay said, but then I’ll settle for pretty, wonderful and inspirational!

  3. Elisabet says:

    I can just repeat: gorgeous, pretty, wonderful, inspirational!

  4. So beautifully excellent, Wendy.. Truly a collection to behold.

  5. Thank you for sharing this comprehensive “walk” through your work. I am fascinated by your clever application of materials – especially the combination of saturated color against the more muted eco print. Bravo!

  6. merike2013 says:

    Love, love , love the colors! You’ve been busy this winter . . . gorgeous books

    • wendyfe says:

      Yes, the winter here is a great time to work on art, Merike! The snow and cold trap you inside but then there is always th studio to make you forget!

  7. Beautiful, such lovely colours I especially like that dark pages very unusual.

  8. Jeannette says:

    A fabulous set of artists books! Later in the summer I plan on trying eco dying on cloth and paper 🙂

  9. Gwen Martinuk says:

    They all take me to a happy place just looking at them.

  10. Bev says:

    Your books are amazingly wonderful! How breathtaking and exciting to look through.

  11. janey29 says:

    I am new to this site. I wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing all this wonderful information. it is very helpful to me. thanks for your generosity. I will pass it forward. I love your work.

  12. arlee says:

    The marriage of colour and print in these is breath taking!

  13. Soni says:

    I amnew to your work and blog . Very beautiful and inspiring. Merci ,thank you for sharing .

  14. Jackie says:

    Wendyfe, Your watercolor pages are gorgeous. I am so glad I found you! I am loving the ochre, browns, rusts, and golden colors of these papers.

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