To anyone who borrows from the Libraries West consortium, I apologise for hogging the following books recommended from the course reading list for a long time. Sorry, but they were too good not to get the most out of before I took them back.
Structure and Surface – Contemporary Japanese Textiles, McCarty & McQuaid is a beautiful book published to complement the exhibition of textiles jointly arranged by The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Saint Louis Art Museum in 1999. I had requested this book from the library whilst I was making samples for Assignment 3 but it didn’t arrive until after I had finished that section but it is definitely worth a look. It is full of photographs of contemporary Japanese textiles that use novel and innovative processes, combining modern industrial techniques with handwork. The designer Issey Miyake is featured, alongside the Nuno Corporation and many others. There is a history of textile production in Japan and information on the designer’s inspiration. The book cover itself is made of a very beautiful dyed and heat-treated fabric which has been creased and pressed to look like golden bamboo or willow leaves on a brown background. Inspirational.
– how to understand, design and use yarn by Penny Walsh is a really well thought out and detailed text book for textile artists. I was impressed by the amount of information in this little book. There are lots of colour photographs and line diagrams to illustrate each section. The book covers everthing from the history of textile production, materials, techniques, fabrics and yarns, including a useful glossary of types of fabric and details of suppliers and places of interest at the back. The book does go in to a good deal of detail on spinning – s-twist and z-twist, etc which would be very useful to anyone beginning to spin yarn seriously. Highly recommended.
Tapestry Weaving – a Comprehensive Study Guide by Nancy Harvey is a classic text book for the practical study of weaving that would be ideal for the beginner weaver. I have to admit that I did not get beyond the first couple of chapters as I felt that it would probably be more useful if I were required to go in to weaving in more detail at a later stage. The samples we have been asked to make for Assignment 4 were using very simple equipment and techniques so I wanted to make the most of my time and left this book to one side.
Three-dimensional Textiles with coils, loops, knots and nets by Ruth Lee is a fabulous book crammed full of ideas for creating textiles with form and body using a range of materials and techniques gleaned from traditional basketry, knotting and net-making. Again, this book is full of colour photography and good explanantions of how to reproduce the techniques used. This is a book I would like to get for my own shelf as it is brimmiing with inspiration. I still haven’t tried making cords using yarn and a zig-zag stitch in a complementary or contrasting thread. So simple and yet so effective.
Finally, I requested Kim Tittichai’s book Experimental Textiles – a journey through design, interpretation and inspiration while I was working on the last assignment and it also arrived late. It is not on the suggested book list but I think it should be. Kim taught a popular course, Experimental Textiles, in the south of England for many years, offering students all the basic skills and encouragement to develop and work independently as textile artists. The book goes through the stages of developing ideas and designs, colour and dimension, through interpretation and where to find inspiration. The book is full of photographs of other artists’s work and how they developed their designs which is very useful.
I visited Coldharbour Mill in Uffculme, Devon a couple of years ago with the West of England Costume Society. There is now a really useful video on their YouTube channel which complements The Yarn Book showing spinning at the mill on an industrial scale.