Book review

The Book of Silk, Phillippa Scott, Thames and Hudson LTD, 1993, 265 pages

Even after nearly twenty years this remains one of the most comprehensive research books on the subject of silk.  Beginning with the early origins in China and Japan, continuing westward to Europe, to silk in today's world the text is informative .  There are many illustrations and color photographs, a section of terms and techniques and a guide to the conservation and care of these textiles.    

Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam,
Young Yung Chung, Harry Abrams, PUB., INC., 2005, 461 pages

The very inclusive text contains easy-to-read charts and timelines, but the photographs and illustrations make this a reference for any textile lover's library. Extensive notes and bibliography

Embroidered Textiles
Sheila Paine, Thames and Hudson,2008, 240 pages

This is a new addition, the first was printed in 1900.  This large format book contains over 500 illustrations, with a guide to textile identification in 15 regions using embroidery as a criteria.  There are also chapters dedicated to the history of decorative cults, religion and magical protection using surface embellishment.  In addition to a glossary, there is also a glossary of embroidery stitches and a long list of further readings.

Textile Designs
Susan Meller and Joost Elffers, Harry N. Abrams Inc. 1991,464 pages. 

“The patterns of printed cloth suggest a larger pattern that contains them-what we may call the recycling wheel, which sets the motifs of textile designs on a circular road of eternal return.  Nothing disappears and nothing appears out of nowhere…”
From the very introduction of this book there is a passion for design.

The organization of the massive amount of information makes this reference one of my all time favorites.  It has been reprinted in different formats, including, I believe, paperback, but for pure pleasure this large hardbound copy is well worth searching out

The Worldwide History of Dress
Patricia Rieff Anawalt
Thames and Hudson, 2007, 606 pages

This reference is one of the most comprehensive volumes in my reference library.  Region by region, Anawalt details the textiles, costumes ad dress across the globe.  She includes very precise history along with thousands of illustrations and maps.  there is also a large reference section and bibliography and glossary of terms.  Besides being a terrific reference it is also a pleasure to read.  Seldom can one find all this in a single volume.  I highly recommend this source for anyone interested in ethnic textiles or frequent travelers who wish more information of the peoples of the world.

American Arts and Crafts Textiles
Dianne Ayres, Timothy Hansen, Beth Ann McPherson, Tommy Arthur McPherson II,
Harry Abrams, Inc, 2002, 248 pages

Beginning with the Arts and Crafts reformers of Europe in the 19thC this book details the movement in America. There is an extensive bibliography and notes section, but what I am particularly drawn to in this volume are the illustrations and beautiful photographs of the textiles.  There is no way one can learn to identify textiles without having seen dozens, perhaps hundreds, of period examples. This reference also places the textiles in context with the lives and homes of the people of that time. “It should be the aim of every one who has an appreciation of the beautiful to endeavor to get away from the commonplace.  It is not practical or possible for many to make their own furniture or weave their rugs, but it is possible for every home to express the individuality of the owners in the choice of beautiful and original hangings.”

Encyclopedia of Textiles, Judith Jerde, Facts on File, 1992, 260 pages

This is an excellent reference book for anyone studying textiles. It covers, weaving and dyeing techniques, as well as manufacture and care of fabrics and fibers and their history.
The illustrations, including photos and charts are very helpful and the text is easily understandable, even for the most complex topics.

I use this reference book frequently as the encyclopedic format makes searches easy.

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius, Storey Pub, 2011
438 pages
This is a very nice reference book of animal fibers and their characteristics.  The text is comprehensive and the illustrations of the fibers and their animal hosts are charming and informative. There are colored maps showing the general origins of  fiber producing species which includes sheep, camelids, dog, wolf and cat, even rabbits!

Spinners, weavers and fiber artists will find this a great addition to their reference library.

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