Textiles don’t always get the attention that fabric lovers crave. But there have been a few books in recent years by authors clearly charmed by textiles, charmed enough to write comprehensively about them. Here are a few that textile fans should find rewarding:
Ann Wallace’s Arts & Crafts Textiles centers on textiles but its reach is much broader, taking in the entire Arts and Crafts movement along the way. Ambitious, sure, but Wallace has done her homework in finding details that relate directly to the world of textiles.
A Nod to Stickley and Others
Wallace notes that furniture and other practical home items were the main features of movement originators like Gustav Stickley, but utilitarian and decorative fabrics also had a prominent place. Chairs were adorned with bold designs, wall and window hangings flourished, and artsy pillows were tossed everywhere by followers.
The author takes the reader on her tour by combining vintage and modern photos with a crisp telling of the movement’s history. If it sounds a tad dull, well, it isn’t. And for the practical-minded, Wallace shows how many of the textiles can be duplicated by anyone with a little experience working with fabrics. It may take a little time to master these techniques, and Wallace correctly suggests patience and a love of the process.
Hooked on Rugs
Another textile book for the do-it-yourselfer is Juju Vail’s Rag Rugs: Contemporary Projects in a Traditional Craft. Vail touches on the history of rag rugs (or hooked rugs) but mostly explains how they can be made with basic tools found in most homes. Simpler than Wallace’s book, but still appealing to fabric fans who are hungry for information.
The pieces Vail focuses on tend to be heavy and somewhat primitive, but Vail points out that their charm rests in their down-home quality. Besides listing the required tools (in most cases, only yarn, a hook, a frame and scissors), Vail provides templates of several designs. She also explains ways to brighten up the rugs and add personal flourishes with techniques such as applique.
Here are two more textile-related books worth checking out:
–The Textile Art in Interior Design by Melanie Paine: Information that can be put to good use in upscale homes.
–Textile Quilting Arts – Labors of Love by Judith Weissman: Nicely photographed gallery of textile arts.
Wallace, Ann. Arts & Crafts Textiles. Layton, Utah: Gibbs-Smith.
Vail, Juju. Rag Rugs: Contemporary Projects in a Traditional Craft. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books.
Paine, Melanie. The Textie Art in Interior Design. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Weissman, Judith. Textile Quilting Arts – Labors of Love. New York, New York: Knopp.