Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reviews of needlework related books

While I contemplate what to do with the fly stitch (TAST 8) I thought I would share some short book reviews I included in my EGA chapter newsletter. I only own the first of these books, the other two were borrowed from my local library - in fact I found them on the new books shelf! Be sure to check out the great things in your local library.*

Women’s Work, the First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times. By Elizabeth Wayland Barber
Published by Norton, 1994.
My husband learned about this author and book from one of the weavers in Colonial Williamsburg. She was conducting a sheep program that my husband and daughters were attending, and when she mentioned this book, he thought of me and wrote it down.
Women’s Work is an excellent history of cloth, and the social and political place of cloth and the women who wove it, starting with the Paleolithic period. Wayland Barber has had to piece together archaeological evidence from around the world to tell the story of weaving and cloth. Even where written records exist and can be deciphered, women were not often mentioned. It is interesting that embellishment and decoration are seen on the earliest pieces of cloth, as if the need to be artistic is a very early instinct in humans. The book is well written and very interesting, and since cloth is integral to embroidery, it is helpful to see where it all started.

1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry.
By Andrew Bridgeford.
Bridgeford gives a convincing account of an alternative history for the Battle of Hastings found in the subversive stitching of the tapestry—which of course isn’t a tapestry at all, but rather a very long embroidery. The are colour figures of the whole tapestry and close ups of some of the noted sections. Even if you don't agree with the interpretation, it is still interesting to get a closer look at the tapestry.

The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet.
By Brian Murphy.
Murphy is a political reporter who loves carpets, so the story of finding the patterns and dyes used throughout history is woven with the story of the politics of the region right now. You will be glad you are relaxing in your nice clean home when you read this book. But it is very exciting and interesting.

*Yes I'm a librarian plugging for library use. Be sure to check if your local library is on the Internet. I can search for books, renew books and put holds on books while sitting at my desk at home. Very convenient.


Susan said...

The first two definitely sound interesting. The third one I'm not so sure about, but I won't know if I don't look. =)

Margaret said...

Another good reason for using the library - if you don't like a book, you can take it back and try a new one at no cost!