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Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  50 reviews
A Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Hoopla, by the co-author of 2009's bestselling Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, showcases those who take the craft of embroidery where it's never gone before, in an astonishing, full-color display of embroidered art. Hoopla rebels against the quaint and familiar embroidery motifs of flowers and swashes, and focuses
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published September 13th 2011)
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Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, craft, art
There's some pretty great ideas in this book - I may have to see if I can nab it from the library a while longer...

One of Sherri Lynn Wood's embroidery-tattooed baby dolls
One of Sherri Lynn Wood's embroidery-tattooed baby dolls

"Home Invasion" by Sarah Terry"
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best of the recently published stitch books I've seen. A combination of showcase, instruction, and projects, and including a wide range of artists, techniques and general inspiration, this would be a good gift for anyone who stitches or loves stitching.

I was familiar with some of the work, but I don't feel anyone here is overexposed or just riding a trend. And of course some appeal to me more than others. I was particularly taken with Sherri Lynn Wood's dolls and banners and t
Jul 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Like Yarn Bombing, her previous book, this one covers a wide variety of modern art-embroidery designers, most with a very edgy feel to their designs. There are only a few that I really liked; some I was indifferent to; others I disliked. As with Yarn Bombing, there are some projects included, few of which I'd want to have, much less spend time executing. There's some About Embroidery and How-tos, but they're scattered through the book. Instead of being together at the beginning or the end, you h ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
beautiful surprising and artful coffee table type book about modern cutting edge embroidery. you won't really learn HOW TO do this, but you will be inspired to WANT TO. amazing and creative ideas. i think author won best book for this (from nyt's?) and also won for her first book, "yarn bombing" for best book of year. so stunning and inspirational as to blow people away with mundane fabric works that transcend granma's utilitarian doilies and scarves. Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Gr ...more
Roshell Bissett
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I have just started embroidery and have been doing it now for a few months. I went to the library to get some inspiration and learn more about the art and found this book. I read it from cover to cover and loved reading the interviews of each artist talking about embroidery. Many different project ideas have sprung to mind because of this and now I feel like I have years of various textile projects set in front of me. What a great feeling!
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Hoopla contains thirty artist profiles / interviews, instructions for nearly thirty projects, embroidery basics, a brief history, and a few resources. Within these 400 pages, there is bound to be something for everyone.

The projects are quite unique. Personally, I found many of them odd and not to my liking — but taste is personal. Overall, I was glad that I discovered this hefty book in the public library, and had not purchased it.

Featured artists whose work I found most interesting include:

- Je
This book is thick, packed full of stitchy goodness. Loved the volume and variety of embroidery. The author does a fantastic job of presenting a wide range of artisans from around the globe, each with diverse creations and points of view. There is an instructive element to the book with several projects, but the real strength of this book is as a compendium of what's happening in the embroidery world at this moment in time. There are many, many artisan profiles and features and while it's not ne ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this cover to cover in two days. The artist/crafter interviews are great and the images! I'm a sucker for books about needle art in general, but this one took pains to display unique art from all over the world, sampling a great variety of styles and pieces, as well as providing some good history about needle crafting. ...more
Stephanie Harvey
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I could have personally done without the tutorials on how to get started and the patterns, although really cool, also didn't really seem useful to someone who would be wanting to read this book. It seemed all kind of mashed together. overall though, interesting read. It's cool to hear how other embroidery artist gets started. ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I have been sewing and doing handcrafts since I was 11 years old. I have always searched for new ideas and different ways of seeing traditional objects, this book did that for me. It gave me ideas and stimulated my desire to create something new.
Annette Bowman
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the spirit of this embroidery book. It gives embroidery an update. The projects are cool!
Sayraphim Lothian
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book so much! Love all the projects and can't wait to start on making some of these awesome projects! ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful exploration of modern day embroidery and some of the artists that practice it. Also, a few projects to try at home and basic stitches explained.
Johannah Gage
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: art-and-craft
A lovely book with beautiful formatting and great pictures -- nothing really new here, but a nice book for the casual embroiderer to flip through.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
Interesting stories. Digital version was disjointed.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This is an amazing collection of great art and craft and this book tells you how to do a lot of it!

The chapters are The Evolution of Embroidery with such sections as tattooed baby dolls, embroidery as art, and manbroidery plus interviews with some of the artists. Charting Unknown Territory has sections on participatory embroidery and more interviews. Another chapter goes over the tools and materials need and a project. Following that are chapters on Stitches, Freeform work, graphics, finishing t
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hoopla is an Informational Nonfiction book, teaching about a subject that provides facts. Informational Nonfiction could include travel books, history books, newspapers, dictionaries, photography books, how-to books, etc. This book provides information about the different kinds of embroidery and different artists who embroider. There are 10 chapters, each with about 6-8 sections. Each section is either an interview with a artist, information about embroidery, or an example of a project. There ar ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was surprisingly good -- I sat down to flick through it and wound up reading the whole thing. Very, very quick read because it's visual-and-project heavy. It's a bunch of profiles of embroidery artists -- the usual suspects and self-promoters, and a few others who seem to be less well known but producing really interesting work. There's a lot of beautiful, inspiring stitching photographed, and some projects -- some a bit kitsch for my tastes, but a few that allow a novice to take an idea an ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book exploring how many different people use embroidery in their lives, and the great storytelling potential there is in this.

I was interested in the diversity of the embroiderers. I am going to use that term despite some of the people in the book preferring to use the term 'manbroidery" as it is all embroidery, regardless of who has the needle in their hands.

There are stories of people and stories of place. Some people took it up as a way to pass time in gaol, and there a
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've read a few similar books - collections of designers and crafters pulled together and intended, I think, to inspire like-minded individuals. I always find them interesting but there was something about Hoopla that had me grabbing for a pen and paper to write my own ideas down as I read. Maybe it was the gorgeous photography, or the dizzying mix of interviews, patterns, history, profiles, projects, gender and class critiques, or Leanne Prain's engaging writing style - I'm not sure. But whethe ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
I loved this book. While it does include some patterns and a limited amount of how-to information, it is really an exploration of artists who use embroidery as a fine art medium. The book includes some profiles of artists working with embroidery today. Most of the artists included are very edgy and interesting. The author also includes some history of embroidery as a craft and as art. Gender issues necessarily come up throughout the historical pieces and in the interviews with the artists.
I enjoyed this book, certainly, but don't think I'd buy it. It's got tons of photos of some really interesting embroidery and interviews with the people who've done it, but otherwise there's not a whole lot there, just a handful of projects and an lingering sensation that everything's already been done.

(I have transferred two of the patterns to fabric and started stitching one of them, so I guess there were about as many useful to me patterns as I find in most craft books - some interesting ide
Shonna Froebel
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book profiling modern embroidery artists. It contains interviews, photographs of their work, and discussions of different trends in this art form.
I am an embroiderer who has stuck to more traditional embroidery, but this book opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about embroidery and got my creative juices flowing. Now I just have to make time for that creativity.
The book offers some project plans and patterns from some of these artists that will inspire and give a starti
Marcia Hyde
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book for people interested in subversive art, embroidery art, or both!
I am committing the cardinal sin of writing reviews here, because I didn't actually read the whole book, but I did read some from each chapter in this book.
As someone who is REALLY into embroidery as art (not just craft), I liked this--the authors scoured the world to find true embroidery artists. Very inspiring. Warning: not for little kids! There are some pretty racy things in there. There are some "swear words."
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great place to start for anyone interested in the wide world of embroidery. While there is a relatively brief section that focuses on the mechanics of embroidery (stitches, materials, etc.) it mainly revolves around interviews with various artists along with photos of their work. As someone just starting out with embroidery I found it very inspiring to read about how many of these accomplished artists had started out the same way I did: developing an interest and picking up a needle an ...more
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I'm biased. Three of my projects are included in the book, as is one of my sister's.

Gorgeous works of embroidery by an eclectic and very diverse group of textile artists is included in an omnibus of interesting embroidery. Patterns, how-to's, and interviews make it a fascinating and hands-on read. I kept pouring through my copy when it arrived, and not to look at my own projects -- instead, to be in awe of the vast array of talent included in the book.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the better "modern" embroidery books I've run across lately. The beginning starts with interviews and images from embroidery artists. Some of the pieces I've seen before, and some were new. The second half of the book shows examples of some pretty interesting and creative embroidery projects that go beyone tea towels, tote bags and wife beaters. ...more
Neil Mudde
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Have just started reading this book, however right from the start the cover looks inviting, especially if you are involved in creating work with needle and thread.a new friend of mine Heather Bain, introduced me to this book, her work "Eat the Kitch" is found on page 232-235 it is unique as is all the work shown ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crafty
Nice exploration of current embroidery trends, with conceptual/practical info for both novices and experts. I didn't find any of the patterns especially amazing, but I could see where someone could get really inspired reading about these artists and want to start a project of their own, so, not a bad idea to include them. I was glad to be able to see lots of pictures of the work, too. ...more
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well, I didn't this cover to cover but did read most of it as all the artists have a unique way of expressing themselves through embroidery. I liked the idea that I may never be as creative as they are, but because they shared their patterns and website I am welcomed to copy them. As they say...good poets borrow, great poets steal. ...more
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Author and designer Leanne Prain writes about crafts (especially textiles), design, art, and activism.

Her books are Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti (co-authored with Mandy Moore), Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery, and Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

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