Book review: The Artful Ribbon

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A while back I was looking for books on ribbon folding specifically to make cockades.  One of the books I saw recommended online was The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling.  If I remember correctly, she teaches some workshops on cockade making, and has a great Etsy shop of the same. (If I’m mixing her up with another author, please forgive me… it’s late, and I’m not feeling especially research-y…)

Since I had started looking for books on ribbon work with the idea of making cockades for millinery, I was at first disapointed with this book, as there is next to nothing resembling cockades, and the majority of the flowers in the book seem most suited to attach to fabrics (like garments or home decorating) rather than standing on their own as a decoration that might be removable on a hat or bag.

However, upon further review of the book, I began to see how truly valuable it is.  It is incredibly well illustrated and photographed to start out – and although time (or rather, a lack of time) keeps me from being able to charge right in and start making bouquets of silk ribbon flowers – I imagine that following the instructions would be very easy.  There is also an abundance of information and research about materials, flowers, storage, care, and other information.  This really does seem like a valuable resource for the home crafter.

Sections in the book inlcude:

  • Simple flowers
  • Roses
  • Petals
  • Pansies & Fuchsias
  • Berry buds, stamens and centers
  • Greenery
  • as well as some information on texturing, materials, composition, tools, techniques, etc.

My only complaint – and it’s the same as I have for most crafting books; the successful replication of any of the projects hinges heavily on the ability to source the right fabrics and materials.  I understand that there’s no way to really replicate something, but at the same time, a lot of the projects are SO much more successful when done in certain materials rather than others.  For instance, do you have a source for gold to yellow ombre lace-edge, wired ribbon?  No? Then your daffodil won’t look the same…  How about green pinstriped wired ribbon with stripes in dark green on a pale green surface? No? Then your leaves likely won’t look the same…  I have found that ombre ribbon (let alone wired ombre ribbon) is very difficult to find locally, and the idea of shipping in ribbon seems just a little silly right now frankly.  I’ll certainly keep my eyes open, and when I do find some – this definitly will be a book I’ll return to!

What are your thoughts?  Do you find that a lot of sewing/crafting books rely too heavily on the “right” materials, or would you be perfectly happy with a polka-dot daffodil, if that’s the only kind of ribbon you could find?

2 comments on “Book review: The Artful Ribbon

  1. Donata says:

    Hi Dawn:

    I have been using Candace’s book since it was first published in 996. Since that time the last remaining French manufacutor of wired ribbon has closed and no one is making that kind fabulous ombre wired ribbon. Some is being made on Taiwan but no comparison. You really have to hunt on line for sources and one is Helen Gibb who is the largest distributor of French wired ribbon. You sometimes you can find it on e-bay but it can be very expensive.

    If you want to learn to make cockade go the threads website and look for an article by Camela Nitschke. Her first book has instructions but it is out print

  2. Dawn says:

    Thanks very much for all the information Donata!
    I agree, I’ve found very little in the way of pretty ombre wired (or non-wired for that matter) ribbon. There is a little bit out there (synthetic of course.. boo) but it’s hard to find and the colours are rarely what I really am looking for… (bright blue transitioning to vibrant green shows up when I’m looking for pale pink fading to white, or light orange fading to yellow…) I’m hesitant to buy online – when given colours or measurements, I always seem to imagine something different than what I get – I like the tactile experience of shopping.
    I took a quick peek at the Threads Index, and I see three articles from Camela Nitschke – one on Ribbonry for the Home (April/May 2002), one on Ribbonwork flowers (April/May 1996) and one on Ribbonwork ornaments (Dec/Jan 1998). I just finished organizing all of my back issues of Threads, and while I’m not sure if my collection goes back that far, it’s worth checking out, since now that they are organized, it should be so much easier to find!
    Thank you for the suggestion!

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