Wednesday, May 27, 2015

summer reading

Memorial Day is behind us, the weather is warming up and the kids are out of school, or soon will be.  It's time to look forward to lazy late afternoons on the deck, reading and sipping your favorite fizzy beverage.  Here's my stack of summer reading, from bottom to top:

The Coptic Tapestry Albums and the Archaeologist of Antinoe, Albert Gayet, by Nancy Arthur Hoskins.  I've been taken lately by the charm and communicative power of ancient Coptic Egyptian tapestry.  Contemporary tapestry artists admire Coptic weavers for their ability to invent their designs as they wove, without elaborate prepared cartoons.  I want to know more, and this book is one of the few I can find on the subject.  So far it's fascinating. 

Weave-Knit-Wear by Judith Shangold.  I've looked through this book once or twice but I want to delve into it more deeply, studying the instructions for fitting, pattern-making and seams in handwoven fabric for garments.   Beyond scarves and wraps, there are patterns here for jackets, vests, tunics, bags and even a baby sack.  Lots of gorgeous color photos have whet my appetite to finally get serious about handwoven garments.

Simple Woven Garments by Sara Goldenburg and Jane Patrick.  Again, lots of mouth-watering photos for inspiration.  I like how several of the projects in this book offer suggestions for variations in styling and yarn choices. Lots of these projects seem designed for the rigid heddle loom, which excels at using novelty yarns that are thicker or more delicate than those I usually use. Further study is needed here. 

Woven to Wear by Marilyn Murphy.  Are you noticing a theme here?  When I try something new I tend to start by researching it to death.  I've had this book for awhile now and flagged several pages of projects I want to make and nifty tips on weaving and sewing.  There are sections on Yarn, Drape, Designing, Weaving Tips and Techniques, and Finishing.  A nice bonus is two-page spreads about several noted designers of handwoven garments. 

Unexpected Afghans, by Robyn Chaculla.  My dear daughter gave me this book for Mother's Day.  I've been cheating on my weaving a bit with crochet at odd moments here and there, and she knew I was looking for ideas for an afghan that might serve as a bed covering.  There are projects ranging from retro 70's-style granny square designs (only a couple) to elegant, clean-lined modern pieces. I never knew you could do cables in crochet!   Now my problem is, how to choose just one to begin?

A Life in the Arts:  Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative & Performing Artists by Eric Maisel.  Maybe this book will help.  I've started it and stopped it a few times--the bookmark is in the chapter on Blocks!--but every time I return to it I'm amazed at the wisdom to be found.  I've turned down many pages, and underlined and starred many passages.  Encouragement for the journey from a psychotherapist who has specialized in helping artists for decades. 

Warp & Weft:  Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors by Jessica Hemmings.  Darling son gave me this on Mother's Day.  (Do my kids have my number or what?  Books always fit.)  I'm reading this now and really enjoying this look at cutting-edge textiles from a noted scholar in the field.  So far I've seen how artists have pushed conventional notions of Threads, Light, Motion, and Sound.  I'm really looking forward to the next chapter, on Emotion. 

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters:  The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn.  This was a Christmas gift; it's been on my bedside table for too long now.  Korn has been making furniture for about 40 years, but this is not a how-to book; it's more concerned with how making things can create meaning and fulfillment in counter-cultural ways.  I expect to find more affirmation of the handmade life here.  

The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd edition, by Kari Chapin.  I am always looking for marketing advice.  This book is chock-full of ideas and tips that I've flagged and need to follow through on, from a young DIYer who's much more adept at social media than I am.

Looks like I've got plenty to keep me busy into the fall.  What's on your summer reading list?

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