Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pulling Strings Reference Library: Susan Warner Keene and Joe Lewis

We hope you've been enjoying our series of mini "reviews" of textile publications from the collections of some of our favourite textile heroes, a companion to the launch of the Pulling Strings Reference Library. This post features a couple of meaty offerings from sculptural paper artist Susan Warner Keene and textile man about town, Joe Lewis.  Keep an eye on the blog or our Facebook group for more posts like this one over the next few weeks leading up to our April event!

Cut My Cote
Dorothy K. Burnham
Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum

The title of this monograph references the English proverb, “I shall cut my cote after my cloth,” an admonition to live within one’s means. Dorothy Burnham uses it as her jumping off point into wider meaning in this important cross-cultural study of the shapes of traditional garments. In succinct commentaries that accompany photos of pieces in the ROM collection and diagrams of pattern layouts, Burnham considers: clothing with minimal sewing (or none); the development of the shirt; the influence of skin garments, and methods of shaping. Her observations about fabric widths and their relationship to loom development and garment structure are thought provoking to anyone who works with cloth – or indeed any material.

I came across this little book when I was a beginning weaver and it opened my eyes forever to the powerful connections among material, technology, economy, and cultural expression. Cut My Cote is a small but mighty example of Dorothy Burnham’s tremendous contribution to the understanding of textiles.

Susan Warner Keene
Handmade Paper Artist
Toronto, ON

Textile History
Pasold Publications

If I had to recommend a print magazine or journal that satisfies my textile curiosity it would have to be “Textile History” from Pasold Publications. It is a peer-reviewed journal that was started in 1968 and publishes an amazing range of articles. I find it informative and it takes you in directions you might not normally go and expands your horizons almost by osmosis. It is history and deals in factual information rather then theoretical interpretations though it is as seen through contemporary eyes. This publication is an investment in time and money conveniently the Textile Museum of Canada subscribes to it and I can dip into it there. 

Joe Lewis 
Weaver, writer and publisher of fibreQUARTERLY
Toronto, ON

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