book review and giveaway: fabric surface design

51HwcAeSEhL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Let me introduce you to the book, Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes. In the interest of full disclosure, her publisher contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to review the book. I said sure, and the book arrived and was added to the “to do” pile. It takes a long time to get through that pile.

Last week I opened the book. By page two I knew I liked this author. A couple more pages and I had to struggle with my choice to give my review copy to my readers. Cheryl is a teacher after my own heart. She succinctly touched on every one of my soapbox crusades right in the introduction.

  • Don’t try to make masterpieces.
  • Give yourself time to learn.
  • Play.
  • Be willing to experiment and let go of preconceived outcomes.
  • Take time to learn to truly SEE what you are looking at.
  • Learn from “mistakes” – they might lead you in a very good direction.
  • Chocolate and dry roasted almonds are on the basic supply list.


This book is a comprehensive overview of just about every surface design technique you can think of using paint. Plus foil. Plus image transfer. Plus lots and lots and lots more. It’s three HUNDRED pages long and every page is stuffed – STUFFED FULL of stuff I tell you! (picture my wildly gesticulating hands as I say this.)


1. of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive
2. comprehending mentally; having an extensive mental range or grasp.


The table of contents you see up there is, well, ridiculously inadequate to give you an idea of what is actually covered in each section. For instance, “chapter 8 Nature Printing” describes printing with plants, flowers, food, fish (Gyotaku) and the sun. Each technique is nicely outlined and illustrated with a page or two. Now remember – three hundred pages. Every chapter is like this and includes enough information about every technique to help you find supplies, tips to avoid pitfalls, pictures of the process, and spotlights of artists who use the techniques.


My favorite parts are the tables. There is nothing I appreciate more than seeing someone else who has done the work and experimentation and put it all down in an organized fashion for me to use as a reference tool. There are a number of tables in this book. I love tables.

At this point I could go on for days and days listing all the techniques. Let me just say this instead. I BOUGHT MY OWN COPY. This is at a time when I am trying my hardest to winnow down my book collection. Sigh.

 So – only because I already promised myself I would, I’m giving away the review copy.
Leave a comment here telling me what surface design technique you have been wanting to try.

I’ll bet you it’s in here!
I’ll choose a winner next Thursday.



Cheryl also has an Etsy shop that I think you should go check out named CherScapes where you can find some pretty cool stuff! Wearable art, hand dyed and painted cloth, and gorgeous silk scarves.


You can buy Cheryl’s book here.

By the way, even if you can get it cheaper on Amazon, I ALWAYS recommend buying a new book from the author. When you buy a new book (that isn’t self published) on Amazon the author only makes a few pennies. When you buy it directly from them they make about half of what you are paying. And it’s usually signed which is cool. (I do buy used books via Amazon.)

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  1. Oh my! This looks like a must-have book! Thanks for the detailed review. What surface design technique do I want to try? I have a Gelli plate that I requested and received as a birthday gift, so that’s my next adventure in surface design.

  2. So many! but I bought the things I need for screen printing with thickened dyes.

  3. I would love to try screen printing!

  4. Several years ago I took a workshop on stamping on fabric and carving your own stamps. I never really had a chance to get into it, but think about it often. Especially when reading books and blogs of people doing it!

  5. Soy Wax with Procion MX dyes! And some stenciling, and more dyeing, and maybe some shibori…guess what I have planned for the winter! Now that I have a sink in the basement, I can do more! Thanks, Lyric, for being willing to part with this book!

  6. Sounds like a fabulous book! Thanks for the chance to win…and Santa may have to bring it if I’m not the lucky winner!

  7. Suzie Hammond says:

    We retired to South America as it is so much cheaper here–BUT– No quilt stuff except what I can make! What a challenge! I can get good white cotton and some mixed fibres. I have had interesting results with hair dyes down here also bleach, rust, and some printing and pigment from my printer.

    I need all the help I can get without having to invent everything on my own! Whew! I love art quilts and so appreciate everything I can try out. (Including getting a shot at this book, thanks to you.)

    There are friends who go back and forth to the US and I can beg one to carry it back to Chile for me if I win it.

  8. A comprehensive book on surface design techinques would be a wonderful thing to own. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that my post is the winner. Thank-you for giving your blog readers a chance at this great giveaway. Diane

  9. Surface design is my latest fancy. I love thread-painting, and want to learn more about block printing and foiling. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

  10. This looks like a great book!

  11. Great book review, it makes me want this book! In want to try silk screening.

  12. Great review and post. This book sounds like it’s packed full of great stuff. I’d love to dye and print in fabric and since I have not done either, I’m not sure where I should start. Maybe this book would help? hehe

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  13. For a long time I have wanted to try screen printing…I even made two screens and bought some paint. Have I tried it yet? No! Maybe I am a little unsure about trying it…the instructions would help!

  14. upstatelisa says:

    I’d like to try screen printing

  15. I would like to try stencils and resists like potatoes and such. It sounds like a lot of fun and apparently you can get some neat effects.

  16. I would like to try Thermofax printing. And while I feel I know a great many surface design techniques, I always find there is something new to learn about them from others.

  17. Thanks for the note about buying from the author. Did not know that. I thought that if I bought it new, the author made the same amount no matter the source. Good to know.

    Speaking of good to know, it appears that this just might contain most of what is good to know. I want to try it all. Starting with fish printing.

  18. Oh Oh Oh pick me! I have hopes of really diving into surface design techniques in the new year as I’ve been gifted some supplies and will soon have a dedicated space set up in my garage for this learning experience. One of the first things I want to try is screen printing. This book looks like just the kind of reference I prefer. I get so frustrated with so-called directions that leave out so many details I really would like to know.

  19. I want to try nature printing. Thanks for the opportunity. You are so generous with your giveaways!

  20. Screen printing and layering textures is high on my list for the new year. It will be a good way to stay warm in a MN winter.

  21. Sharon Matthiesen says:

    You are so generous. I feel greedy I want everything and I want to try all the surface design techniques. Right now I want to try screen printing and stencils with neutral colored inks very antiqueded looking. From all of your readers a blessed holiday season. Thank you for your generosity.

  22. This looks like a great book. I have been wanting to try sun printing for years, although in my part of Alaska the sun doesn’t make nearly enough appearances. I’ve tried snow dying once, but need to give it another go with proper dyes. And, and, and….

  23. This book looks wonderful! I LOVE surface design and have tried a lot of methods but want to try them all again! Right now I have some discharge paste calling my name. I’d also like to try to do some flower pounding on fabric. I’ve never had much success.

  24. The fact that you are raving about this book, even though I really don’t need any more books…makes me WANT this book! As for what techniques I want to try….lol, too many to list. I’ll try anything!!!

    Only one correction: Chocolate and dry roasted almonds are on the basic supply list.

    You both need to add wine to that list…..LOL……

  25. Well, I really don’t need another surface design book but this one sounds like a must have. My next surface design experiment will be using the Gelli Plate. I have used gelatin plates before but splurged and got myself a Gelli in the fall. I would love to win this book, whether or not the gelli plate printing is discussed. If not, I will be purchasing the book in the New Year.

  26. Oh my goodness! I just have to have this book one way or another! I want to try every technique within its pages. For quite awhile I’ve been wanting to create my own fabric designs and this is exactly the jumpstart I need. Thank you for writing such a thorough description and for having this giveaway.

  27. Vicky LaValley says:

    Are you kidding! I want to try all of them, but I’ll calm down and pick any kind of transfer methods. I can not even draw a descent stick man but I want do pictorial art quilts. This book would be very informative in all areas.

  28. katherine mcneese says:

    OHHHH! I didn’t know nature printing was in this book!

  29. Janice O'Brien says:

    The book review is fabulous! I really want to get a hold of it. I’ve wanted to utilize Thermofaxing in my art.

  30. Your review is yummy, makes me want to add this book to my overstuffed bookcases! I would like to see more on breakdown printing & nature printing as well as embellishment.

  31. The book sounds fabulous! I’d love to try the nature printing as well as foiling (and probably many others!) What great inspiration!

  32. I would love to experiment with Lutrador and Artist Transfer Paper. I have purchased these items but have not used them. I would also like to learn more about rubbings with Shiva paintstiks.

  33. I am a beginner landscape quilter, so this looks like a perfect book for me!! I could definitely use a reference book, I’d like to start dyeing my own fabric.

  34. Fabulous book! I have never tried image transfer and would love to!

  35. Christina in Cleveland says:

    Wow, what a great book and review. Definitely on my Santa list! 🙂 Thank you!!!

  36. I would like to try sun printing and solar dyeing. Thanks for the giveaway.

  37. Carol Claytor says:

    I would like to try screenprinting. It looks like it would be great fun. Thanks for the chance to win.

  38. I want to try breakdown screenprinting!
    This looks a fabulous book – thanks!

  39. I’ve been wanting to try Shibori… And this book sounds amazing! Thanks for the chance to win.

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