There is endless inspiration in Jason's back room where I am staying. It contains his father's well organised collection of books on textiles and craft. I pick out books that catch my attention when I'm done weaving for the day. Being here reminds me of spending time in my school library, or in the room full of books my parents once had at home in Dubai. I find it relaxing to read like this again.
Authors in these books consistently mourn the loss of material techniques to modern life. For example, Saudi nomads, as you would think nomads would, place little to no value on material possessions and repurpose objects into new more useful ones as soon as the originals have lost their purpose. Indonesia succumbed to Dutch colonialists who wanted to control their craft (and thereby their economy). Etc etc.
I feel sad to read about these disappearances, these losses of human ingenuity. I doubt we will ever again make great analogue breakthroughs in this world of distraction (i.e. wifi) that we live in. Craft needs time, patience, love and – I truly believe this – boredom to bloom. But then perhaps this is the natural tide of human evolution - things fall apart, get lost, evolve, amalgamate.
A selection of books I have particularly enjoyed -
1. Traditional Crafts of Saudi Arabia - John Topham (nice to learn about pre all-black-abaya and cufflinked-thobe days)
2. Decorative Art in Indonesian Textiles - Laurens Langewis & Frits A. Wagner (true researchers)
3. Traditional Indonesian Textiles - John Gillow & Barry Dawson (the batik...always my favourite!!!)
4. Thunder Dragon Textiles from Bhutan - Mark Bartholomew (amazing textiles documented by an amazing person)
5. On Weaving - Anni Albers (have to admit I find her writing impenetrable, but inspiring images)
6. Japanese Fisherman's Coats from Awaji Island -Sharon Sadako Takeda & Luke Roberts (OMG)
7. Art and Design in Textiles - Michael Ward (would have loved to have dinner with him)
8. Rugs from Rags - John Hinchcliffe & Angela Jeffs (beautiful examples)
9. The Art of Paisley - Ed Rossbach (I'm interested in how the paisley form moved from India to England)