Textiles a World Tour – full of inspiration

© Stephanie Boon, 2014 www.dawnchorusstudio.com Photograph: Textiles a World Tour, by Catherine Legrand, Thames and Hudson.

Textiles a World Tour, Catherine Legrand, Thames and Hudson

Time for coffee and a biscuit?!  It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything from my bookshelf, but lately I can’t stop looking at this wonderful book and decided I just have to show it to you!  I hope you’ll find the sumptuous colours as inspiring as I do. Pull up a chair and be prepared for a mini visual feast.

Inspiration from South America to the Far East

I was lucky enough to be given a Waterstones book token last Christmas (one of my favourite presents, just so’s you know 😉 ) and this is what I spent it on:  Textiles: A World Tour: Discovering Traditional Fabrics & Patterns. It’s a large format paperback that’s  brimful of colour and inspiration. The textiles featured are all clothing, men, women and children’s, and feature a significant amount of hand work, whether that’s stitching, dying or weaving. It travels from South America, to Africa and the Far East, including places like Nigeria, Mexico, India and Vietnam. It gives me incredibly itchy feet!

textiles world tour

Feature on the Mayan blouse (the huipil) from Guatemala

textiles world tour with scissors

Feature on The Rabari nomads of Gujarat

world textiles with applique

Feature on reverse appliqué from Vietnam

As well as the inspiring photographs of textiles and the people that wear them there are wonderful images that give glimpses into where they’re made and worn, beautiful shots of mountains or fields of cotton, painted houses, churches and lakes.  We’re shown photographs of weavers at work in a garden, the colourful stained hands and feet of dyers, women stitching on stone streets and wooden decks. There’s a photo on page 191 of two women, Praolina and Jovanna, sat side by side making reverse appliqué ‘molas‘ (part of a woman’s blouse). They’re wearing beautiful, bold-coloured and patterned clothes, their work draped across their laps, a bag of fabric next to them – and one of them has that universal tick of human concentration: her tongue is sticking out as she cuts into the cloth!  I just love it. (I’m always doing it myself 😀 )

There are watercolour style diagrams showing how the garments are constructed and short ‘how to’ articles on things like tie dying and reverse appliqué. The only sad thing about this book is that you can’t feel the fabrics as well! I guess that means that one day I’ll have to travel and find out what they feel like for myself. In the mean time this book is a visual treasure, a big happy slice of colourful inspiration. I’d recommend it for everyone’s bookshelf, just lift it down anytime you need a pick-me-up.

Happy reading!


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