This book combines everything held dear to the author's heart in a single volume - embroidery, writing, artwork, history and books. Her beautifully executed creations combine myriad materials, including hand-stitched threads, glued papers, fabrics, fibres, paints and beads, and are presented here as a series of 'altered books', each representing a chapter that follows on from the last, and each exploring one of the major themes of the book, including textiles, stitches, clothing and accessories. Historical facts are ingeniously interwoven with contemporary renditions of ancient artworks, bringing to life the ancient skills of Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Saxon women, and celebrating the centuries-old tradition of embroidery in England that has served as a foundation for present-day excellence.
Jan Messent qualified as a teacher in the mid-50s and, after teaching Art, History and English, became deeply involved with embroidery as an art form. As a member of the Embroiderers' Guild, she taught embroidery design to its members, wrote and illustrated design books, and lectured worldwide. She became interested in the experimental use of knitting and crochet and hoped, by her books on the subject, to open up new dimensions in the creative use of yarn. Now, having retired from lecturing, Jan writes historical fiction full-time, embroidering as a side-line, reading, painting, and listening to good music.