front cover of The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker
The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker
Trevor Robinson
University of Massachusetts Press, 1981
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Arkansas Coloring Book
Brenda Zodrow
University of Arkansas Press, 1990

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An Arkansas Folklore Sourcebook
W.K. McNeil
University of Arkansas Press, 1992

Arkansas’s rich folk tradition is shown by the variety of its manifestations: a 250-year-old ballad, an archaic method of hewing railroad crossties with a broadax, the use of poultices and toddies to treat the common cold, and swamps of evil repute are all parts of the tradition that constitutes Arkansas folklore. In fact, as the essays selected by W.K. McNeil and William M. Clements show, these few examples only begin to tell the story.

Starting with a working description of folklore as “cultural material that is traditional and unofficial” and characterized by a pattern of oral transmission, variation, formulaic structures, and usually uncertain origin, the authors survey in detail a wide array of folk objects, activities, beliefs, and customs. Among the rich offerings in this sourcebook are a discussion of the history of folklore research in Arkansas, an examination of some of the traditional songs and music still being preformed, a thoughtful exploration of the serious side of “tall tales” and “windies,” an investigation of folk architecture in Arkansas and what it reveals about our cultural origins, a study of many traditional foods and there preparation methods, an analysis of superstitions and beliefs, and a description of festivals and celebrations that are observed to this day.

Complemented by biographies of reference works and audio and video recordings of the state’s folk materials, An Arkansas Folklore Sourcebook is the first complete guide to the study of one state’s “unofficial culture.”

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The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing
Traditional Recipes for Modern Use
J.N. Liles
University of Tennessee Press, 1990
"This is the most comprehensive manual written on natural dyes since the early 1800s.  Jim Liles has rescued ancient skills from near-extinction and shared them in a book that will inspire, challenge, and guide the modern dyer."—Rita Buchanan, author of A Weaver's Garden, and editor of the new Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Handbook on Natural Dyes
" . . . a must for every dyer.  The recipes are explicit and detailed as to success and failure."—Mary Frances Davidson

For several thousand years, all dyes were of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin, and many ancient civilizations possessed excellent dye technologies.  The first synthetic dye was produced in 1856, and the use of traditional dyes declined rapidly thereafter.  By 1915 few non-synthetics were used by industry or craftspeople.   The craft revivals of the 1920s explored traditional methods of natural dyeing to some extent, particularly with wool, although the great eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dye manuals, which recorded the older processes, remained largely forgotten.  

In The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing, J. N. Liles consolidates the lore of the older dyers with his own first-hand experience to produce both a history of natural dyes  and a practical manual for using pre–synthetic era processes on all the natural fibers--cotton, linen, silk, and wool.  A general section on dyeing and mordanting and a glossary introduce the beginner to dye technology. In subsequent chapters, Liles summarizes the traditional dye methods available for each major color group.  Scores of recipes provide detailed instructions on how to collect ingredients--flowers, weeds, insects, wood, minerals--prepare the dyevat,  troubleshoot, and achieve specific shades.

The book will appeal not only to beginning and veteran dyers but to students of restorations and reconstruction as well as to craftspeople--spinners, quilters, weavers, knitters, and other textile artists--interested in natural dyes for their beauty and historical authenticity.

The Author: J. N. Liles is professor of zoology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He has taught at Arrowmont School and other regional craft schools and has exhibited his work at the Arrowmont School, the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild Folk Art Center, and the Carol Reece Museum.
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Art Quilts the Midwest
Linzee Kull McCray
University of Iowa Press, 2015
A milestone in perception occurred in 1971, when the Whitney Museum of American Art displayed quilts in a museum setting: Abstract Design in American Quilts bestowed institutional recognition of the artistry inherent in these humble textiles. In subsequent decades, quilting’s popularity exploded. Some who took up quilting created pieced quilts that honored traditional patterns, symmetry, and repetition. But others saw the potential for pushing beyond patchwork, giving birth to the art quilt. Today, adherents from both art and quilting backgrounds incorporate storytelling, digital images, nonfabric materials, asymmetry, and three dimensions—in short, anything goes in the world of art quilting, as long as the result is stitched, layered, and not primarily functional.

As a writer covering textiles, art, and craft, Linzee Kull McCray wondered just how deeply fiber artists were influenced by their surroundings. Focusing on midwestern art quilters in particular, she put out a call for entries and nearly 100 artists responded; they were free to define those aspects of midwesterness that most affected their work. The artists selected for inclusion in this book embrace the Midwest’s climate, land, people, and culture, and if they don’t always embrace it wholeheartedly, then they use their art to react to it. The proof can be seen in the varied, powerful quilts in this energizing book.

Enlivened by the Midwest’s landscapes and seasons, Sally Bowker paints her fabrics with acrylics, creating marks and meaning with layers of hand stitching and appliqued bits of fabric. Shin-hee Chin uses sketchlike stitching for its ability to penetrate fabric and create depth; living in the Midwest helps her stay balanced between eastern philosophy and western culture. The metals and mesh that Diane Núñez incorporates into her quilts connect to her days as a jeweler as well as to the topography of her home state of Michigan. Pat Owoc prepares papers with disperse dyes, then selects from as many as 150 to create her fabrics; her art-quilt series honors midwestern pioneers. Martha Warshaw photographs old fabrics, tweaks the images in Photoshop, and prints the results for her pieces, which connect her to the legacy of quilting in past generations.

The Midwest has always had strong textile communities. Now the twenty artists featured in this beautifully illustrated book have created a new community of original art forms that bring new life to an old tradition.

The Artists
Marilyn Ampe, St. Paul, Minnesota
Gail Baar, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Sally Bowker, Cornucopia, Wisconsin
Peggy Brown, Nashville, Indiana
Shelly Burge, Lincoln, Nebraska
Shin-hee Chin, McPherson, Kansas
Sandra Palmer Ciolino, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jacquelyn Gering, Chicago, Illinois
Kate Gorman, Westerville, Ohio
Donna Katz, Chicago, Illinois
Beth Markel, Rochester Hills, Michigan
Diane Núñez, Southfield, Michigan
Pat Owoc, St. Louis, Missouri
BJ Parady, Batavia, Illinois
Bonnie Peterson, Houghton, Michigan
Luanne Rimel, St. Louis, Missouri
Barbara Schneider, Woodstock, Illinois
Susan Shie, Wooster, Ohio
Martha Warshaw, Cincinnati, Ohio
Erick Wolfmeyer, Iowa City, Iowa
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Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement
Suzi Parron
Ohio University Press, 2012

The story of the American Quilt Trail, featuring the colorful patterns of quilt squares painted large on barns throughout North America, is the story of one of the fastest-growing grassroots public arts movements in the United States and Canada. In Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement Suzi Parron takes us to twenty-five states as well as Canada to visit the people and places that have put this movement on America’s tourist and folk art map.

Through dozens of interviews with barn quilt artists, committee members, and barn owners, Parron documents a journey that began in 2001 with the founder of the movement, Donna Sue Groves. Groves’s desire to honor her mother with a quilt square painted on their barn became a group effort that eventually grew into a county-wide project. Today, quilt squares form a long imaginary clothesline, appearing on more than three thousand barns scattered along one hundred and twenty driving trails.

With more than eighty full-color photographs, Parron documents here a movement that combines rural economic development with an American folk art phenomenon.

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The Beautiful Generation
Asian Americans and the Cultural Economy of Fashion
Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu
Duke University Press, 2011
Since the 1990s, young Asian Americans including Doo-Ri Chung, Derek Lam, Thakoon Panichgul, Alexander Wang, and Jason Wu have emerged as leading fashion designers. They have won prestigious awards, been chosen to head major clothing labels, and had their designs featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other fashion magazines. At the same time that these designers were rising to prominence, the fashion world was embracing Asian chic. During the 1990s, “Asian” shapes, fabrics, iconography, and colors filled couture runways and mass-market clothing racks. In The Beautiful Generation, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu explores the role of Asian American designers in New York’s fashion industry, paying particular attention to how they relate to the garment workers who produce their goods and to Asianness as a fashionable commodity. She draws on conversations with design students, fashion curators, and fashion publicists; interviews with nearly thirty Asian American designers who have their own labels; and time spent with those designers in their shops and studios, on their factory visits, and at their fashion shows. The Beautiful Generation links the rise of Asian American designers to historical patterns of immigration, racial formation, and globalized labor, and to familial and family-like connections between designers and garment workers.
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The Bonnet
Katari´na Kucbelova´
Seagull Books, 2024
A beautifully written and moving story about the power of tradition and the importance of women’s stories.
 
The Bonnet, the first work of prose by Slovak poet Katarína Kucbelová, defies easy pigeonholing: both political and personal, it is a work of literary reportage, a quest for one’s roots, a critical exploration of folk art and, not least, social commentary on the coexistence of the Slovak majority and the Roma minority, offering a nuanced and sympathetic look at the lives of Roma people in Slovakia, and raising important questions about the nature of prejudice and discrimination. Over two years, the author made regular visits to the remote village of Šumiac in Slovakia to learn the dying craft of bonnet making from one of its last practitioners, Il’ka, an elderly local woman who in the process became her mentor in more ways than one. Through the parallel stories of Il’ka and the narrator’s grandmother, The Bonnet also offers a subtly feminist reading of the position of women in rural Europe from the early twentieth century to the present day.
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The Book of Looms
A History of the Handloom from Ancient Times to the Present
Eric Broudy
Brandeis University Press, 2021
A heavily illustrated classic on the evolution of the handloom.
 
The handloom—often no more than a bundle of sticks and a few lengths of cordage—has been known to almost all cultures for thousands of years. Eric Broudy places the wide variety of handlooms in their historical context. What influenced their development? How did they travel from one geographic area to another? Were they invented independently by different cultures? How have modern cultures improved on ancient weaving skills and methods? Broudy shows how virtually every culture has woven on handlooms. He highlights the incredible technical achievement of early cultures that created magnificent textiles with the crudest of tools and demonstrates that modern technology has done nothing to surpass their skill or inventiveness.
 
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Bread, Wine, and Money
The Windows of the Trades at Chartres Cathedral
Jane Welch Williams
University of Chicago Press, 1993
At Chartres Cathedral, for the first time in medieval art, the lowest register of stained-glass windows depicts working artisans and merchants instead of noble and clerical donors. Jane Welch Williams challenges the prevailing view that pious town tradesmen donated these windows. In Bread, Wine, and Money, she uncovers a deep antagonism between the trades and the cathedral clergy in Chartres; the windows, she argues, portray not town tradesmen but trusted individuals that the fearful clergy had taken into the cloister as their own serfs.

Williams weaves a tight net of historical circumstances, iconographic traditions, exegetical implications, political motivations, and liturgical functions to explain the imagery in the windows of the trades. Her account of changing social relationships in thirteenth-century Chartres focuses on the bakers, tavern keepers, and money changers whose bread, wine, and money were used as means of exchange, tithing, and offering throughout medieval society. Drawing on a wide variety of original documents and scholarly work, this book makes important new contributions to our knowledge of one of the great monuments of Western culture.
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Catawba Indian Pottery
The Survival of a Folk Tradition
Thomas John Blumer, with a foreword by William L. Harris
University of Alabama Press, 2003

Traces the craft of pottery making among the Catawba Indians of North Carolina from the late 18th century to the present

When Europeans encountered them, the Catawba Indians were living along the river and throughout the valley that carries their name near the present North Carolina-South Carolina border. Archaeologists later collected and identified categories of pottery types belonging to the historic Catawba and extrapolated an association with their protohistoric and prehistoric predecessors.

In this volume, Thomas Blumer traces the construction techniques of those documented ceramics to the lineage of their probable present-day master potters or, in other words, he traces the Catawba pottery traditions. By mining data from archives and the oral traditions of contemporary potters, Blumer reconstructs sales circuits regularly traveled by Catawba peddlers and thereby illuminates unresolved questions regarding trade routes in the protohistoric period. In addition, the author details particular techniques of the representative potters—factors such as clay selection, tool use, decoration, and firing techniques—which influence their styles.

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Cosplay and the Dressing of Identity
Vivian Asimos
Reaktion Books, 2024
Featuring several images of cosplay, a fun and fascinating look at the power and meaning of this cultural phenomenon.
 
Cosplay, born from the fusion of “costume” and “play,” transcends mere dress-up by transforming enthusiasts of TV shows, movies, books, or video games into living embodiments of their cherished characters. This book is a close exploration of the vibrant world of cosplay, showing what makes it so captivating for so many. Vivian Asimos frames cosplay as an enactment and embodiment of mythology, revealing its inherent complexity, and in so doing, provides valuable insight into cosplayers’ experiences.
 
Exploring cosplay performances, the skills involved, and its community, she shows how cosplayers build a strong connection to the characters and stories they treasure, and ultimately how they are constructing their own identities.
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Crazy Quilts
A Beginner’s Guide
Betty Fikes Pillsbury
Ohio University Press, 2016

Textile artist and instructor Betty Fikes Pillsbury has won hundreds of awards for her homages to the elegance of Victorian crazy quilting. Grounded in traditional methods but crafted with elements of whimsy, each piece stands on its own as a work of art. In this definitive guide, Pillsbury shares her methods for piecing, embroidering, and embellishing. Her instructions equip readers at any level of quilting skill to use those techniques to express their own visions.

Encouraging her readers to see functional and artistic possibilities beyond quilts (wall hangings, purses, and pillowcases are just some of the options), Pillsbury shows them how to make each work by hand, the slow cloth way. An inspiring primer for beginning and experienced quilters alike, this meticulously illustrated how-to book is far more expansive than previous guides. Pillsbury—a master of the form—shows us why crazy quilting belongs firmly in the twenty-first century.

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Desert Jewels
Cactus Flowers of the Southwest and Mexico
John P. Schaefer
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Cactus flowers are jewels of the desert—they add brilliant pops of color to our arid surroundings. In this book, renowned Tucson photographer John P. Schaefer brings the exquisite and unexpected beauty of the cactus flower to the page. Hundreds of close-up photographs of cactus flowers native to the U.S. Southwest and Mexico offer a visual feast of color and texture, nuance and light.

These stunning photographs allow us to appreciate the spectacular range of color and form cactus flowers have to offer. For the cactus enthusiast, the book offers a comprehensive collection of high-quality flower photographs unlike any other. The photographs cover more than 250 cactus species organized by genus. The book starts with an introduction by the photographer that is both autobiographical and informative. It offers a glimpse into his process for capturing these elusive desert gems, resulting in photographs so beautiful they were featured as a book of stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

This collection of cactus flowers in bloom is a one-of-a-kind work by a master photographer.
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Doodling for Academics
A Coloring and Activity Book
Julie Schumacher
University of Chicago Press, 2017
To an outsider, working as a university professor might seem like a dream: summers off, a few hours of class each week, an exchange of ideas with brilliant colleagues, books and late afternoon lattes. . . . Who wouldn’t envy that life?
 
But those in the trenches of academe are well acquainted with the professoriate’s dark underside: the hierarchies and pseudo-political power plays, the peculiar colleagues, the over-parented students, the stacks of essays that need to be graded ASAP.
 
No one understands this world better than novelist Julie Schumacher, who here provides a bitingly funny distraction designed to help you survive life in higher education without losing your mind. Sardonic yet shrewdly insightful, Doodling for Academics offers the perfect cognitive relief for the thousands of faculty and grad students whose mentors and loved ones failed to steer them toward more reasonable or lucrative fields.
 
Through forty pages of original illustrations and activities—from coloring to paper dolls to mad libs—this book traces the arc of a typical day on campus. Get a peek inside the enigma of the student brain. Imagine a utopian faculty meeting. Navigate the red tape maze of university administration. With the help of hilarious illustrations by Lauren Nassef, Schumacher infuses the world of campus greens and university quads with cutting wit, immersing you deep into the weirdly creative challenges of university life. Offering a satirical interactive experience for scholars, the combination of humor and activities in this book will bring academia into entertaining relief, making it the perfect gift for your colleagues, advisors, or newly minted graduates.
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Dress Code
The Naked Truth About Fashion
Mari Grinde Arntzen
Reaktion Books, 2015
As Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so absolutely unbearable that we have to alter it every six months.” And yet it serves to make us beautiful, or at least make us feel beautiful. In this book, Mari Grinde Arntzen asks how and why this is—how can fashion simultaneously attract us to its glamour and repel us with its superficiality and how being called “fashionable” can be at once a compliment and an insult.

Arntzen guides us through the major figures and brands of today’s fashion industry, showing how they shape us and in turn why we love to be shaped by them. She examines both everyday, affordable “fast fashion” brands, as well as the luxury market, to show how fashion commands a powerful influence on every socioeconomic level of our society. Stepping into our closets with us, she thinks about what happens when we get dressed: why fashion can make us feel powerful, beautiful, and original at the same time that it forces us into conformity. Stripping off the layers of the world’s fifth largest industry, garment by garment, she holds fashion up as a phenomenon, business, and art, exploring the questions it forces us to ask about the body, image, celebrity, and self-obsession.

Ultimately, Arntzen asks the most direct question: what is fashion? How has it taken such a powerful hold on the world, forever propelling us toward its concepts of beauty? 
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Engraven Desire
Eros, Image, and Text in the French Eighteenth Century
Philip Stewart
Duke University Press, 1992
How do literary illustrations affect the way we read—or more subtly, what we read? Through a critical investigation of the role of engraving played in eighteenth-century French literature, Philip Stewart grapples with this question. In both its approach and its conclusions, his project marks a provocative departure from the tradition of viewing illustrations as merely pictures, rather than as texts to be interpreted themselves.
Focusing on the objectification of women by the “male gaze,” Stewart analyzes the varous ways in which this masculine power is simultaneously represented and veiled: the fascination with women playing “male” roles, such as soldiers; the preponderance of voyeuristic images of the naked female body; the transformation of male power into hostile forces of nature that render women helpless. Further, Stewart shows how “indecent” engravings that purported to test the limits of eighteenth-century morality often merely reinforced prevailing images of women.
Addressing critical concerns about the societal enforcement of gender roles in literature along with essential questions about the function of illustration, Engraven Desire provides surprising insight into the culturally conditioned act of reading. Stewart’s work, itself richly illustrated with hundreds of arresting reproductions, makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the interplay of art, literature, and society.
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Extra/Ordinary
Craft and Contemporary Art
Maria Elena Buszek, ed.
Duke University Press, 2011
Contemporary artists such as Ghada Amer and Clare Twomey have gained international reputations for work that transforms ordinary craft media and processes into extraordinary conceptual art, from Amer’s monumental stitched paintings to Twomey’s large, ceramics-based installations. Despite the amount of attention that curators and gallery owners have paid to these and many other conceptual artists who incorporate craft into their work, few art critics or scholars have explored the historical or conceptual significance of craft in contemporary art. Extra/Ordinary takes up that task. Reflecting on what craft has come to mean in recent decades, artists, critics, curators, and scholars develop theories of craft in relation to art, chronicle how fine-art institutions understand and exhibit craft media, and offer accounts of activist crafting, or craftivism. Some contributors describe generational and institutional changes under way, while others signal new directions for scholarship, considering craft in relation to queer theory, masculinity, and science. Encompassing quilts, ceramics, letterpress books, wallpaper, and textiles, and moving from well-known museums to home workshops and political protests, Extra/Ordinary is an eclectic introduction to the “craft culture” referenced and celebrated by artists promoting new ways of thinking about the role of craft in contemporary art.

Contributors. Elissa Auther, Anthea Black, Betty Bright, Nicole Burisch, Maria Elena Buszek, Jo Dahn, M. Anna Fariello, Betsy Greer, Andrew Jackson, Janis Jefferies, Louise Mazanti, Paula Owen, Karin E. Peterson, Lacey Jane Roberts, Kirsty Robertson, Dennis Stevens, Margaret Wertheim

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Fashion Knowledge
Theories, Methods, Practices and Politics
Edited by Elke Gaugele and Monica Titton
Intellect Books, 2024
On theory and method in the changing field of fashion studies. 

At a point when fashion studies are expanding and the fashion industry is at a crucial point of change, Fashion Knowledge makes a valuable contribution to the field. The book explores current issues in fashion research, with a focus on the relationship between theory and practice. This edited collection assembles academic essays and intellectual activism next to visual essays and artistic interventions, proposing a different concept for fashion research that eschews the traditional logic of academic fashion studies. It features acclaimed designers, artists, curators, and theorists whose work investigates the multi-faceted debates on the rise of practice-based research in fashion. Contributors look at new forms of fashion knowledge that are forming along with shifting practices, shedding light on the entanglement of fashion and politics in both contemporary and historical moments.
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Finding the Singing Spruce
Musical Instrument Makers and Appalachia's Mountain Forests
Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth
West Virginia University Press, 2023

Environment, craft, and meaning in the work of Appalachian instrument makers.

How can the craft of musical instrument making help reconnect people to place and reenchant work in Appalachia? How does the sonic search for musical tone change relationships with trees and forests? Following three craftspeople in the mountain forests of Appalachia through their processes of making instruments, Finding the Singing Spruce considers the meanings of work, place, and creative expression in drawing music from wood.

Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth explores the complexities and contradictions of instrument-making labor, which is deeply rooted in mountain forests and expressive traditions but also engaged with global processes of production and consumption. Using historical narratives and sensory ethnography, among other approaches, he finds that the craft of lutherie speaks to the past, present, and future of the region’s work and nature.

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Following the Barn Quilt Trail
Suzi Parron
Ohio University Press, 2016

Suzi Parron, in cooperation with Donna Sue Groves, documented the massive public art project known as the barn quilt trail in her 2012 book Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. The first of these projects began in 2001, when Groves and community members created a series of twenty painted quilt squares in Adams County, Ohio. Since then, barn quilts have spread throughout forty-eight states and several Canadian provinces.

In Following the Barn Quilt Trail, Parron brings readers along as she, her new love, Glen, their dog Gracie, and their converted bus Ruby, leave the stationary life behind. Suzi and Glen follow the barn quilt trail through thirty states across thirteen thousand miles as Suzi collects the stories behind the brightly painted squares. With plentiful color photographs, this endearing hybrid of memoir and travelogue is for quilt lovers, Americana and folk art enthusiasts, or anyone up for a good story.

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Fray
Art and Textile Politics
Julia Bryan-Wilson
University of Chicago Press, 2017
In 1974, women in a feminist consciousness-raising group in Eugene, Oregon, formed a mock organization called the Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society. Emblazoning its logo onto t-shirts, the group wryly envisioned female collective textile making as a practice that could upend conventions, threaten state structures, and wreak political havoc. Elaborating on this example as a prehistory to the more recent phenomenon of “craftivism”—the politics and social practices associated with handmaking—Fray explores textiles and their role at the forefront of debates about process, materiality, gender, and race in times of economic upheaval.

Closely examining how amateurs and fine artists in the United States and Chile turned to sewing, braiding, knotting, and quilting amid the rise of global manufacturing, Julia Bryan-Wilson argues that textiles unravel the high/low divide and urges us to think flexibly about what the politics of textiles might be. Her case studies from the 1970s through the 1990s—including the improvised costumes of the theater troupe the Cockettes, the braided rag rugs of US artist Harmony Hammond, the thread-based sculptures of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt—are often taken as evidence of the inherently progressive nature of handcrafted textiles. Fray, however, shows that such methods are recruited to often ambivalent ends, leaving textiles very much “in the fray” of debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities; the malleability of cloth and fiber means that textiles can be activated, or stretched, in many ideological directions.

The first contemporary art history book to discuss both fine art and amateur registers of handmaking at such an expansive scale, Fray unveils crucial insights into how textiles inhabit the broad space between artistic and political poles—high and low, untrained and highly skilled, conformist and disobedient, craft and art.
 
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Grasses, Pods, Vines, Weeds
Decorating with Texas Naturals
Quentin Steitz
University of Texas Press, 1987

Purple three-awn.
Tree of heaven.
Alamo vine.
Narrowleaf cattail.

These exotic and fanciful names conjure up visions of lush foliage, colorful grasses, and dense plant life. They are, in fact, names of native and naturalized Texas plants—grasses, pods, vines, and weeds. Lovely and all-too-often overlooked in nature, they become ornamental delights when used imaginatively and decoratively.

Grasses, Pods, Vines, Weeds introduces 44 of Texas' most common and important naturals. Quentin Steitz shows how to recognize them and discover their aesthetic wealth. By taking the reader through all of the steps involved in utilizing naturals—from harvest to design—her book becomes an important tool for floral and landscape designers, decorators, horticulturalists, home gardeners, botanists: all those people who enjoy hands-on experience with Texas' vast array of native and naturalized plants.

The book presents clear and concise descriptions of many Texas naturals, accompanied by approximately 150 full-color photographs showing each in one or more stages of growth and also in a design. The reader can see the plant as it looks not only in the wild but also in an arrangement. The author offers techniques on how the species can be prepared for display, discussing drying and arranging. And a chapter on cultivation and conservation suggests to outdoor enthusiasts species they can grow for decorative natural materials as well as conserve and appreciate in the wild.

Grasses, Pods, Vines,Weeds is enhanced by flora selected, collected, prepared, and dried by the author. These hand-culled materials have been used in designs contributed by some nineteen notable floral designers as well as the author. The text and designs combine to reveal the fresh, creative applications of Texas' decorative naturals and to increase our pleasure in the wonders of natural Texas.

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Handcraft Revival Southern Appalachia
1930-1990
Garry G. Barker
University of Tennessee Press, 1991

Appalachians have always honored craft.  Showoff quilts, complicated whittlings, "face jugs," intricate woven coverlets, and the work of famous basketmakers constituted the art of early Appalachia, the life and color of its remote mountain households.  By the 1920s, however, the craft tradition was quickly vanishing.  This lively, highly personal book recounts the "missionary" effort that preserved the traditional Appalachian craft culture and traces the organization, politics, and economics of later handcraft revival organizations in Southern Appalachia.

Deeply involved in many of the events he describes, Garry Barker has worked in the Appalachian crafts world since the early 1960s.  He draws on memories of the leading craftspeople of a bygone era, LBJ's War on Poverty, mushrooming markets for craft products, and the rise of academic crafts training.  The Handcraft Revival in Southern Appalachia represents the thoughtful winnowing of Barker's decades of serendipitous experience and disciplined observation, casual conversation and formal interviews, research and collecting, teaching and writing.

The book is the only history of the Appalachian craft movement between 1930 and 1990.  As such it will become an essential resource for craftspeople, scholars, and all interested in the Southern Appalachian region.  In addition, it constitutes a crucial chapter in the newly emerging history of American craft.
 

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Hannah Ryggen
Threads of Defiance
Marit Paasche
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Hannah Ryggen (1894–1970) was a Swedish-Norwegian modern artist who began her career as a painter before switching to creating political art in the form of monumental tapestries. Combining the decorative and the political, Ryggen was ahead of her time with her turn to “political weaving.” She was also a feminist with strong communist sympathies involved in the international workers’ movement. Her dramatic, beautiful tapestries were shown at both the Paris and Brussels World’s Fairs, but she was largely forgotten by the international art world in the decades after her death. In recent years, however, as interest in both fiber arts and pioneering women artists has grown, Ryggen’s work has returned to the public eye, with major international exhibitions and fresh attention from curators, collectors, and critics.

A widely recognized authority on Ryggen, Marit Paasche brings this important Scandinavian artist to the foreground in this biography, the first published on Ryggen in English. Paasche looks at Ryggen within the social, political, and cultural contexts of her time and explores how these issues informed her work, from her anti-fascist tapestry that depicted a spear piercing Mussolini’s head to one protesting the war in Vietnam. Published to correspond with a major retrospective in Frankfurt, of which Paasche is one of the curators, Hannah Ryggen is a foundational book that will provide a crucial introduction of this artist to a broader audience.
 
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Hippie Homesteaders
Arts, Crafts, Music and Living on the Land in West Virginia
Carter Taylor Seaton
West Virginia University Press, 2014

It’s the 1960s. The Vietnam War is raging and protests are erupting across the United States. In many quarters, young people are dropping out of society, leaving their urban homes behind in an attempt to find a safe place to live on their own terms, to grow their own food, and to avoid a war they passionately decry. During this time, West Virginia becomes a haven for thousands of these homesteaders—or back-to-the-landers, as they are termed by some. Others call them hippies.

When the going got rough, many left. But a significant number remain to this day. Some were artisans when they arrived, while others adopted a craft that provided them with the cash necessary to survive. Hippie Homesteaders tells the story of this movement from the viewpoint of forty artisans and musicians who came to the state, lived on the land, and created successful careers with their craft. There’s the couple that made baskets coveted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery. There’s the draft-dodger that fled to Canada and then became a premier furniture maker. There’s the Boston-born VISTA worker who started a quilting cooperative. And, there’s the immigrant Chinese potter who lived on a commune.

Along with these stories, Hippie Homesteaders examines the serendipitous timing of this influx and the community and economic support these crafters received from residents and state agencies in West Virginia. Without these young transplants, it’s possible there would be no Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, the first statewide collection of fine arts and handcrafts in the nation, and no Mountain Stage, the weekly live musical program broadcast worldwide on National Public Radio since 1983. Forget what you know about West Virginia.

Hippie Homesteaders isn’t about coal or hillbillies or moonshine or poverty. It is the story of why West Virginia was—and still is—a kind of heaven to so many.

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Horace Kephart
Writings
Mae Miller Claxton
University of Tennessee Press, 2020
Best known for Our Southern Highlanders (1913) and Camping and Woodcraft (1916), Horace Kephart’s keen interest in exploring and documenting the great outdoors would lead him not only to settle in Bryson City, North Carolina, but also to become the most significant writer about the Great Smoky Mountains in the early twentieth century.

Edited by Mae Miller Claxton and George Frizzell, Horace Kephart: Writings extends past Kephart’s two well-read works of the early 1900s and dives into his correspondence with friends across the globe, articles and columns in national magazines, unpublished manuscripts, journal entries, and fiction in order to shed some deserved light on Kephart’s classic image as a storyteller and practical guide to the Smokies. The book is divided into thematic subsections that call attention to the variety in Kephart’s writings, its nine chapters featuring Kephart’s works on camping and woodcraft, guns, southern Appalachian culture, fiction, the Cherokee, scouting, and the park and Appalachian trail. Each chapter is accompanied by an introductory essay by a notable Appalachian scholar providing context and background to the included works.

Written for scholars interested in Appalachian culture and history, followers of the modern outdoor movement, students enamored of the Great Smoky Mountains, and general readers alike, Horace Kephart: Writings gathers a plethora of little-known and rarely seen material that illustrates the diversity and richness found in Kephart’s work.
[more]

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Juggling
Stewart Lawrence Sinclair
Duke University Press, 2023
In Juggling, Stewart Lawrence Sinclair explores the four-thousand-year history and practice of juggling as seen through his life as a juggler. Sinclair—who learned to juggle as a child and paid his way through college by busking—shares his experiences of taking up juggling after an episode of suicidal ideation, his time juggling on the streets, and ultimately finding comfort in juggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many ways, this is a book about loss and recovery. From his own juggling story to clowns braving military checkpoints in Bosnia and Rwanda to perform in refugee camps to contemporary avant-garde performances, Sinclair shows how the universal language of juggling provides joy as well as a respite from difficulties during hard times.
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Lenore Tawney
Mirror of the Universe
Edited by Karen Patterson
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Recent years have seen an enormous surge of interest in fiber arts, with works made of thread on display in art museums around the world. But this art form only began to transcend its origins as a humble craft in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that artists used the fiber arts to build critical practices that challenged the definitions of painting, drawing, and sculpture. One of those artists was Lenore Tawney (1907–2007).

Raised and trained in Chicago before she moved to New York, Tawney had a storied career. She was known for employing an ancient Peruvian gauze weave technique to create a painterly effect that appeared to float in space rather than cling to the wall, as well as for being one of the first artists to blend sculptural techniques with weaving practices and, in the process, pioneered a new direction in fiber art. Despite her prominence on the New York art scene, however, she has only recently begun to receive her due from the greater art world. Accompanying a retrospective at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, this catalog features a comprehensive biography of Tawney, additional essays on her work, and two hundred full-color illustrations, making it of interest to contemporary artists, art historians, and the growing audience for fiber art.

Copublished with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
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Making Matters
Craft, Ethics, and New Materialist Rhetorics
Leigh Gruwell
Utah State University Press, 2022
Craft is a process-oriented practice that takes seriously the relationships between bodies—both human and nonhuman—and makes apparent how these relationships are mired in and informed by power structures. Making Matters introduces craft agency, a feminist vision of new materialist rhetorics that enables scholars to identify how power circulates and sometimes stagnates within assemblages of actors and provides tools to rectify that uneven distribution.
 
To recast new materialist rhetorics as inherently crafty, Leigh Gruwell historicizes and locates the concept of craft both within rhetorical history as well as in the disciplinary history of writing studies. Her investigation centers on three specific case studies: craftivism, the fibercraft website Ravelry, and the 2017 Women’s March. These instances all highlight how a material, ecological understanding of rhetorical agency can enact political change.
 
Craft agency models how we humans might work with and alongside things—nonhuman, sometimes digital, sometimes material—to create more equitable relationships. Making Matters argues that craft is a useful starting point for addressing criticisms of new materialist rhetorics not only because doing so places rhetorical action as a product of complex relationships between a network of human and nonhuman actors, but also because it does so with an explicitly activist agenda that positions the body itself as a material interface.
 
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A Manual for Neanderthals
By H. Mewhinney
University of Texas Press, 1957

The story of humanity’s earliest days on earth has come down to us chiefly in the tools and weapons early hominids shaped from flint. With these tools, they gained ascendancy over less dexterous beasts and began the slow conquest of their environment. Other records, including their very bones, have largely rotted away, but their tools of flint endure.

H. Mewhinney presents A Manual for Neanderthals as “a common-sense, down-to-earth study of how flint tools and weapons were made—or for that matter, can still be made by any descendant of Stone Age man.”

The author first sets the scene with a delightful and informative disquisition on flintflaking and flint-flakers, and then explains clearly and concisely how he and earlier Neanderthals have made flint artifacts, illustrating each step with drawings and photographs.

Archeologists and anthropologists will discover in this book a modest but genuine contribution to their fields, while collectors of Indian relics and people who like to tinker with tools and master unusual skills will find it a surprisingly practical guide to an interesting and ancient art. With patience, and with A Manual for Neanderthals at your side, you too can learn to flake flint.

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Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker
Gwen Marston
University of Michigan Press, 2004

Extensively illustrated, with over 100 drawings and 11 unique Mary Schafer patterns, Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker is a must-have book for anyone passionate about American quilting.

While we take that passion for granted today, author Gwen Marston shows that it wasn't always so; indeed, one woman, Mary Schafer, was largely responsible for the restoration of interest in one of our greatest folk arts -- long before the American bicentennial turned quilting into what seemed like an overnight sensation.

Marston presents Schafer as an unassuming scholar: the anonymous quilter, remaining humble and somewhat retiring. Behind the modest façade, however, Schafer displayed a remarkable devotion to research, historical accuracy, and community through her efforts to make quilting available to as many people as possible.

Nonquilters will find Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker a welcome addition to their collection of the work of masters of American folk art, while quilting aficionados will appreciate it not only for the story it tells, but for the generous selection of patterns and illustrations it offers.

Gwen Marston is a nationally known quilt maker, teacher, and author. She is the author of over fifteen books on quilting, including Liberated String Quilts, 70 Classic Quilting Patterns, and Amish Quilting Patterns.

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The Medieval Scriptorium
Making Books in the Middle Ages
Sara J. Charles
Reaktion Books, 2024
Illuminated with illustrations, an exploration of medieval manuscript production that offers insight into both the early history of the book and life in the Middle Ages.
 
This book takes the reader on an immersive journey through medieval manuscript production in the Latin Christian world. Each chapter opens with a lively vignette by a medieval narrator—including a parchment maker, scribe, and illuminator—introducing various aspects of manuscript production. Sara J. Charles poses the question “What actually is a scriptorium?” and explores the development of the medieval scriptorium from its early Christian beginnings through to its eventual decline and the growth of the printing press.
 
With the written word at the very heart of the Christian monastic movement, we see the immense amount of labor, planning, and networks needed to produce each manuscript. By tapping into these processes and procedures, The Medieval Scriptorium helps us to experience medieval life through the lens of a manuscript maker.
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Missouri's Silver Age
Silversmiths of the 1800s
Norman Mack. Foreword by Anne Woodhouse
Southern Illinois University Press, 2005

The result of nearly two decades of intensive research by Norman Mack and his late wife, Beatrice Davidow Mack, Missouri’s Silver Age: Silversmiths of the 1800s is a comprehensive directory of nineteenth-century Missouri silversmiths, their works, and their identifying makers’ marks. Illustrated with over one hundred photographs, this exceptional reference for historians and silver collectors showcases the Macks’ three-hundred-piece collection of Missouri silver, which includes a representative sample by nearly every known Missouri silversmith and is housed at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis.

Featuring more than a hundred detailed biographies of the artisans and apprentices who created handmade silver in St. Louis and Missouri during the nineteenth century, Missouri’s Silver Age also contains extensive photographs of makers’ touchmarks and of the pieces themselves, which include bowls, dishes, spoons, and ladles, as well as other household utensils and decorative items. Arranged alphabetically, the biographies reveal all known details of the business activities and locations of the silversmiths. Collectively, the entries and the illustrations shed light on the growth of enterprise in Missouri, show the impact of the individual on the developing frontier economies of the Midwest, and reveal how the production, acquisition, and possession of material goods reflected the culture and values of Americans during the 1800s.

Mack provides a brief but thorough history of silversmithing in America for novice collectors and historians, detailing the various methods used in making silver and the range of styles that were popular, providing insight into the methods of training apprentices, and explaining the effects of mechanization on the trade. Augmenting this volume are an appendix by Jo Ann Griffin on how to care for old silver, a map of the silversmiths’ primary locations, and a helpful alphabetical appendix of the silversmiths that includes illustrations of their touchmarks.

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My Life in Paper
Adventures in Ephemera
Beth Kephart
Temple University Press, 2023
Paper both shapes and defines us. Baby books, diaries, sewing patterns, diplomas, resumes, letters, death certificates—we find our stories in them. My Life in Paper is Beth Kephart’s memoiristic exploration of the paper legacies we forge and leave.

Kephart’s obsession with paper began in the wake of her father’s death, when she began to handcraft books and make and marble paper in his memory. But it was when she read My Life with Paper, an autobiography by the late renowned paper hunter and historian Dard Hunter, that she felt she had found a kindred spirit, someone to whom she might address a series of one-sided letters about life and how we live it. Remembering and crafting, wanting and loving, doubting and forgetting—the spine and weave of My Life in Paper came into view.

Paper, for Kephart, provides proof of our yearning, proof of our failure, proof of the people who loved us and the people we have lost. It offers, too, a counterweight to the fickle state of memory.

My Life in Paper, illustrated by the author herself, is an intimate and poignant meditation on life’s most pressing questions.
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Nature's Portraits
A Coloring Book of Scales, Tails, Furs, and Wings
Peggy Macnamara
University of Chicago Press, 2016
When it comes to color, nothing can surpass the vast palette found in nature, from a bright green leaf in a sun-dappled forest to the rich red feathers of a cardinal and the muted greens, ambers, and browns that make up the shell of a tortoise. Wildlife artist Peggy Macnamara has been recreating the natural world through her drawings and paintings for decades, and, with Nature’s Portraits, she invites the rest of the world to join her.

Nature’s Portraits offers sixty of Macnamara’s detailed drawings that can be brought brilliantly to life with nothing more than a few colored pencils or crayons and a sense of wonder about the world around us. Many of the drawings depict animals as they might appear in their natural habitats—like a tree frog, a dashing, playful fox, a snowy owl poised for flight, a sauntering jaguar, and a watchful herd of giraffe. These wild furry and feathered friends are joined by animals found in museums, including Sue, the Field Museum’s resident Tyrannosaurus rex. Each illustration is captioned with a brief scientific description of the species pictured.

Combining inspiration from natural history with a calming, creative activity, Nature’s Portraits encourages us to take a closer look at what we miss when we don’t take the time to stop and look with deep appreciation at the bounty of the natural world around us.
 
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On the Plains, and Among the Peaks
or, How Mrs. Maxwell Made Her Natural History Collection: by Mary Dartt
Julie McCown
University Press of Colorado, 2021
American naturalist and taxidermist Martha Maxwell became famous in the 1870s for her skill and expertise in collecting and preserving specimens of Colorado’s wildlife but is virtually unknown today. On the Plains, and Among the Peaks, written in 1879 by Maxwell’s half-sister Mary Dartt, provides a fascinating case study of how women practiced natural history and taxidermy, as well as a fresh look at the early exploration and settlement of Colorado.
 
Dartt’s book tells the story of Maxwell’s lifelong passion and dedication to work and education that made her a pioneer in more ways than one. It catalogs her important scientific contributions and development of museum habitat groupings and lifelike taxidermy mounts, showcases engaging accounts of wilderness excursions on the frontier of the Western United States in the 1860s and 1870s, and testifies to her resolve to show that women were capable of succeeding in traditionally male-dominated fields.
 
This scholarly edition of On the Plains, and Among the Peaks will spark renewed interest in Maxwell and Dartt as neglected figures in nineteenth-century US history and literature, opening a conversation that other literary scholars and historians will join to further situate their work within the numerous disciplines to which it speaks, including nineteenth-century American literature; women’s, western, environmental, and natural history; and gender, museum, and animal studies.
 
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Patchwork
Iowa Quilts and Quilters
Jacqueline Andre Schmeal
University of Iowa Press, 2003
Frugal, thrifty, enduring, colorful, comforting, warm. These words capture both the spirit of Iowa quilters through the centuries and the fabrics they stitched together. In Patchwork, Jacqueline Schmeal celebrates the lives of Iowa quilters and the enduring beauty of historic Iowa quilts.
Drawing on written records by and interviews with contemporary quilters, many of whom were born in the early years of the twentieth century, Schmeal presents the life histories of these hard-working yet inspired artists. Sisters Elsie Ball and Mary Ball Jay of Fairfield—charging one and a quarter cents per yard of thread—kept meticulous records of each of the 135 quilts they stitched between 1935 and 1970. Ivan Johnson plowed his fields by day and quilted vivid designs by night. Cloth scraps were so precious to Barbara Chupp, an Amish quilter, that she became known for her mosaic piecing. Members of the Sunshine Circle, organized in 1912 in a Quaker church in Earlham, still quilt together today. Mennonite quilter Sara Miller became famous nationwide for her fabric store, Kalona Kountry Kreations. Their stories—of impoverished childhoods, hardscrabble work, and strong families—are enhanced by over seventy color photographs of an unbelievably rich collection of historic quilts ranging from the early 1800s to the 1950s.
Offering both a glimpse into the daily lives of twentieth-century quiltmakers and an amazing treasury of Iowa's historic quilts, Patchwork is a loving tribute to the creative spirit that links modern-day quilters to the patterns and traditions of their predecessors.
[more]

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Peasants, Warriors, and Wives
Popular Imagery in the Reformation
Keith Moxey
University of Chicago Press, 1989
In Peasants, Warriors, and Wives, Keith Moxey examines woodcut images from the German Reformation that have often been ignored as a crude and inferior form of artistic production. In this richly illustrated study, Moxey argues that while they may not satisfy received notions of "art," they nevertheless constitute an important dimension of the visual culture of the period. Far from being manifestations of universal public opinion, as a cursory acquaintance with their subject matter might suggest, such prints were the means by which the reformed attitudes of the middle and upper classes were disseminated to a broad popular audience.
[more]

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The People's Porn
A History of Handmade Pornography in America
Lisa Z. Sigel
Reaktion Books, 2020
The first history of American handmade and homemade pornography, The People’s Porn offers the backstory to the explosion of amateur pornography on the web. In doing so, it provides a much-needed counterweight to ahistorical and ideological arguments that dominate most discussions of pornography.
 
Critics tend to focus on mass-produced materials and make claims about pornography as plasticized or commodified. In contrast, eminent historian Lisa Z. Sigel looks at what people made, rather than what they bought, revealing how people thought about sexuality for themselves. She also explores periods when these sexual artifacts were pilloried, ransacked, and destroyed, providing a unique document of rare nineteenth- and twentieth-century objects. Whalers and craftsmen, prisoners and activists, African Americans and feminists—all made their own pornography. Ranging across the full sweep of this output, The People’s Porn challenges preconceptions as it tells a new and fascinating story about American sexual history.
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The Point of the Needle
Why Sewing Matters
Barbara Burman
Reaktion Books, 2023
From the pleasures of mending to the problems of fast fashion, an intimate look at the creativity, community, and deep meaning sewed into every stitch.
 
Tens of millions of people sew for necessity or pleasure every day, yet the craft is surprisingly under-appreciated. The Point of the Needle redresses the balance: this is a book that argues for sewing’s place in our lives. It celebrates not only sewing’s recent resurgence but sewists’ creativity, well-being, and community. Barbara Burman chronicles new voices of people who sew today, by hand or machine, to explore what they sew, what motivates them, what they value, and why they mend things, revealing insights into sewing’s more intimate stories. In our age of superfast fashion with its environmental and social injustices, this eloquent book makes a passionate case for identity, diversity, resilience, and memory—what people create for themselves as they stitch and make.
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A Potter's Workbook
Clary Illian
University of Iowa Press, 1999

In A Potter's Workbook, renowned studio potter and teacher Clary Illian presents a textbook for the hand and the mind. Her aim is to provide a way to see, to make, and to think about the forms of wheel-thrown vessels; her information and inspiration explain both the mechanics of throwing and finishing pots made simply on the wheel and the principles of truth and beauty arising from that traditional method.

Each chapter begins with a series of exercises that introduce the principles of good form and good forming for pitchers, bowls, cylinders, lids, handles, and every other conceivable functional shape. Focusing on utilitarian pottery created on the wheel, Illian explores sound, lively, and economically produced pottery forms that combine an invitation to mindful appreciation with ease of use. Charles Metzger's striking photographs, taken under ideal studio conditions, perfectly complement her vigorous text.

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Pottery Analysis
A Sourcebook
Prudence M. Rice
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Pottery Analysis is a rich and comprehensive sourcebook that draws together diverse approaches to the study of pottery—archaeological, ethnographic, stylistic, functional, and physicochemical. Using pottery as a starting point for insights into people and culture, Prudence M. Rice examines in detail the methods for studying the fired clay vessels used worldwide from prehistoric times to present.
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Power Plays
Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java
Andrew N. Weintraub
Ohio University Press, 2004
Based on ethnographic fieldwork spanning twenty years, Power Plays is the first scholarly book in English on wayang golek, the Sundanese rod-puppet theater of West Java. It is a detailed and lively account of the ways in which performers of this major Asian theatrical form have engaged with political discourses in Indonesia. Wayang golek has shaped, as well, the technological and commercial conditions of art and performance in a modernizing society.

Using interviews with performers, musical transcriptions, translations of narrative and song texts, and archival materials, author Andrew N. Weintraub analyzes the shifting and flexible nature of a set of performance practices called Padalangan, the art of the puppeteer. He focuses on “superstar” performers and the musical troupes that dominated wayang golek during the New Order political regime of former president Suharto (1966-98) and the ensuing three years of the post-Suharto period. Studies of actual performances illuminate stylistic and formal elements and situate wayang golek as a social process in Sundanese culture and society. Power Plays includes an interactive multimedia CD-ROM of wayang golek.

Power Plays shows how meanings about identity, citizenship, and community are produced through theater, music, language, and discourse. While based in ethnographic theory and methods, this book is at the center of a new synthesis emerging among ethnomusicology, anthropology, and cultural studies. Its cross-disciplinary approach will inspire researchers studying similar struggles over cultural authority and popular representation in culture and the performing arts.
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Quilts of the Ohio Western Reserve
Ricky Clark
Ohio University Press, 2005

Quilts of the Ohio Western Reserve includes early quilts brought from Connecticut to the Western Reserve in northeastern Ohio and contemporary quilts, including one by a conservative Amish woman and another inspired by Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ricky Clark, one of Ohio’s foremost quilt historians, has assembled exquisite examples of calamanco, “T” quilts, and borderless pieced quilts to show the influence of Connecticut aesthetics and history on the making of early quilts in this region. Rich in color, detail, and inventiveness, and often beautifully designed, the quilts of this region commemorate community history, from town fundraisers of the 1890s to a quilt designed by a Lake Erie shipbuilder. Sections of the book include quilts made during the Civil War and for postwar veterans’ organizations as well as military and presidential quilts that relate to the history of the Western Reserve.

Quilt design in Ohio has been celebrated in biennial exhibits, round-robin quilts, and most recently proudly painted on barns in rural Ohio. Quilts of the Ohio Western Reserve, lavishly illustrated with forty color photos of quilts, launches the Ohio Quilt Series. A welcome addition to Ohio’s cultural legacy, this book will interest the wider world of quilt and textile enthusiasts and historians.

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The Scrapbook in American Culture
Susan Tucker
Temple University Press, 2006
"Keeping a scrapbook" is a longstanding American tradition. The collections of fragments that often bulge their pages and burst their bindings make scrapbooks a pleasurable feast for both makers and consumers. They are a material manifestation of memory—of the compilers and of the cultural moment in which they were created. Despite the widespread popularity of scrapbooks, historians have rarely examined them in a systematic way. In this fascinating work, fourteen contributors offer the first serious, sustained examination and analysis of scrapbooks. While other books offer suggestions on how to create scrapbooks, this book looks at their significance.The editors observe that scrapbooks are one of the most mysterious objects to be found in a family home. This unique book helps to explain the mystery. It will appeal to all readers with an interest in "scrapbooking" as well as to scholars who study American culture and print, visual, or material culture.
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Shadows of Empire
Colonial Discourse and Javanese Tales
Laurie J. Sears
Duke University Press, 1996
Shadows of Empire explores Javanese shadow theater as a staging area for negotiations between colonial power and indigenous traditions. Charting the shifting boundaries between myth and history in Javanese Mahabharata and Ramayana tales, Laurie J. Sears reveals what happens when these stories move from village performances and palace manuscripts into colonial texts and nationalist journals and, most recently, comic books and novels. Historical, anthropological, and literary in its method and insight, this work offers a dramatic reassessment of both Javanese literary/theatrical production and Dutch scholarship on Southeast Asia.
Though Javanese shadow theater (wayang) has existed for hundreds of years, our knowledge of its history, performance practice, and role in Javanese society only begins with Dutch documentation and interpretation in the nineteenth century. Analyzing the Mahabharata and Ramayana tales in relation to court poetry, Islamic faith, Dutch scholarship, and nationalist journals, Sears shows how the shadow theater as we know it today must be understood as a hybrid of Javanese and Dutch ideas and interests, inseparable from a particular colonial moment. In doing so, she contributes to a re–envisioning of European histories that acknowledges the influence of Asian, African, and New World cultures on European thought—and to a rewriting of colonial and postcolonial Javanese histories that questions the boundaries and content of history and story, myth and allegory, colonialism and culture.
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The Story Quilts of Yvonne Wells
Stacy I. Morgan
University of Alabama Press
A comprehensive and richly illustrated survey of one of the most significant and intriguing quilters of the 21st century, featuring 109 color plates of Wells's narrative quilts with intimate commentaries by Wells herself
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Strange Bright Blooms
A History of Cut Flowers
Randy Malamud
Reaktion Books, 2021
Virginia Woolf famously began one of her greatest novels: “Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Of course she would: why would anyone surrender the best part of the day to someone else? Flowers grace our lives at moments of celebration and despair. “We eat, drink, sing, dance, and flirt with them,” writes Kakuzo Okakura. Flowers brighten our homes, our parties, and our rituals with incomparable notes of natural beauty, but the “nature” in these displays is tamed and conscribed. Randy Malamud seeks to understand the transplanted nature of cut flowers—of our relationship with them and the careful curation of their very existence. It is a picaresque, unpredictable ramble through the world of flowers, but also the world itself, exploring painting, murals, fashion, public art, glass flowers, pressed flowers, flowery church hats, weaponized flowers, deconstructed flowers, flower power, and much more.
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Tennessee Samplers
Female Education and Domestic Arts, 1800–1900
Jennifer Core
University of Tennessee Press, 2024
“This extensive study, nearly twenty years in the making, is a major contribution to the understanding of American textile material culture.” – Candace J. Adelson, Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles Emeritus, Tennessee State Museum
 
Jennifer Core and Janet Hasson’s study of samplers—embroideries that are “first attempts at a new technique, color combination, or unusual material”—provides vivid descriptions of this nineteenth-century Tennessee art form in its many varieties. The authors not only catalogue and describe samplers from each of Tennessee’s major regions—West, Middle, and East—but also incorporate research on the sampler makers and their families. This research provides fascinating insight into the stitchers, their teachers, and their academies.

Including a chapter on female education on the Tennessee frontier and another on embroideries and needlework focused on mourning, the volume draws on oral histories of the embroiderers’ descendants, family Bibles, diaries, scrapbooks, cemetery records, and other primary sources. Photos of the samplers are accompanied by detailed descriptions of styles, thread count, materials used, frames, and motifs. Ultimately, the study provides a snapshot of the lives of girls and young women in nineteenth-century Tennessee, including the role of this ornamental art in their education.

Providing important historical context on Tennessee education, economy, and domestic life, Core and Hasson describe how embroidery came to be a crucial primary source in revealing the lives of girls and young women during a time when little was recorded about them. This book is an authoritative record of the material culture produced in the daily routine of school rooms. It is for all who see beauty in sometimes-overlooked handiwork and understand the importance of curating, preserving, and analyzing it.
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True Faith, True Light
The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley
Kelly Mulhollan
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
In 1979, Ed Stilley was leading a simple life as a farmer and singer of religious hymns in Hogscald Hollow, a tiny Ozark community south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Life was filled with hard work and making do for Ed, his wife Eliza, and their five children, who lived in many ways as if the second half of the twentieth century had never happened.

But one day Ed’s life was permanently altered. While plowing his field, he became convinced he was having a heart attack. Ed stopped his work and lay down on the ground. Staring at the sky, he saw himself as a large tortoise struggling to swim across a river. On his back were five small tortoises—his children—clinging to him for survival. And then, as he lay there in the freshly plowed dirt, Ed received a vision from God, telling him that he would be restored to health if he would agree to do one thing: make musical instruments and give them to children.

And so he did. Beginning with a few simple hand tools, Ed worked tirelessly for twenty-five years to create over two hundred instruments, each a crazy quilt of heavy, rough-sawn wood scraps joined with found objects. A rusty door hinge, a steak bone, a stack of dimes, springs, saw blades, pot lids, metal pipes, glass bottles, aerosol cans—Ed used anything he could to build a working guitar, fiddle, or dulcimer. On each instrument Ed inscribed “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God.”

True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley documents Ed Stilley’s life and work, giving us a glimpse into a singular life of austere devotion.
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Uncommon Threads
Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution
Gayle A. Pritchard
Ohio University Press, 2006
Ohio’s long quiltmaking heritage prepared the wayfor the contemporary “pioneer” artists of the 1970s and 1980s, who, through individual vision and dedication, have created a new art form and added a new chapter to quilt history. Uncommon Threads: Ohio’s Art Quilt Revolution reveals for the first time the remarkable role Ohio artists, curators, institutions, and organizations have played in the evolution of today’s internationalart quilt movement.

Against the backdrop of America’s counterculture and civil rights movements, author Gayle A. Pritchard’s compelling narrative threads its way through the emergence of the art quilt, from artists working in isolation to the explosive “big bang” of the first Quilt National and its inevitable reverberations. Pritchard provides a fascinating and personal glimpse into the private world of these unique artists through in-depth interviews, rare photographs, and abundant quilt illustrations.

As Uncommon Threads demonstrates, the art quilt movement could not have occurred without Ohio’s unparalleled contribution. Quilt lovers around theworld will relish discovering this tale of the uncommon energy, vision, creativity, and devotion to self-expression that truly made a quilt revolution.
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front cover of Weaving and Dyeing in Highland Ecuador
Weaving and Dyeing in Highland Ecuador
By Ann Pollard Rowe, Laura M. Miller, and Lynn A. Meisch
University of Texas Press, 2007

Although less well known than its much-admired counterparts in Peru and Bolivia, highland Ecuadorian weaving is an Andean tradition that has relationships with these more southern areas. A world away from the industrialized textile manufacturing of Euro-American society, these handmade pieces reflect the history and artistry of an ancient culture.

This comprehensive study, edited by Ann Pollard Rowe, is unrivaled in its detail and includes not only descriptions of the indigenous weaving and dyeing technology, but also an interpretation of its historical significance, as well as hundreds of photographs, drawings, and maps that inform the understanding of the process.

The principal focus is on backstrap-loom weaving, a major pre-Hispanic technology. Ecuadorian backstrap looms, which differ in various ways from those found elsewhere in the Andes, have previously only been treated in general terms. Here, the basic operation of this style of loom is covered, as are a variety of patterning techniques including warp-resist (ikat) dyeing, weaving belts with twill, and supplementary- and complementary-warp patterning. Spanish colonial treadle-loom weaving is also covered. The weaving techniques are explained in detail, so the reader can replicate them if desired.

Textiles have been an important art form among Andean peoples from remote prehistory up to the present. A greater understanding of their creation process can yield a more meaningful appreciation of the art itself.

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front cover of The Wild Midwest
The Wild Midwest
A Coloring Book
Mark Muller
University of Iowa Press, 2016
While most coloring books offer fanciful recreations of the wonders of nature, Mark Müller’s realistic drawings allow you to embellish real-world birds, plants, and animals with all the colors you can imagine. Layer your creative whimsy on his meticulous accuracy. Go ahead, ink in a hot pink bison or a turquoise sandhill crane or a buttery yellow tree frog, pouring magic into reality. Turn the tallgrass prairie’s pale purple coneflowers ruby red, the black swallowtail butterfly into a green-dotted swallowtail, or white-tailed deer into fuschia-tailed. Why shouldn’t red-winged blackbirds flaunt salmon epaulets, or American goldfinches turn coppery, or rose-breasted grosbeaks celadon-breasted? Amid the creatures teeming in the midwestern grasses and wetlands on these pages, you’ll even find the most common invasive species—see if you can find the garlic mustard and the emerald ash borer! Here is the wild Midwest as it really is, for your coloring pleasure.
 
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front cover of Wood Engraving
Wood Engraving
The Art of Wood Engraving and Relief Engraving
Barry Moser
Brandeis University Press, 2021

Written and illustrated by master wood engraver Barry Moser, this primer on the art of wood engraving is filled with valuable knowledge including how to prepare a printing block; how to think in the medium’s properties of line, shape, and ink; and how to transfer a drawing onto a block. It also offers practical advice on which tools to use for a project and which ink works best. A highly illustrated guide to this art form, Wood Engraving will be useful to experienced and beginner engravers alike. This book features stunning examples of Moser’s art and skill to admire and inspire.

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