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Treasured Textile Books on My Shelf

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

I loved reading Julia’s post last week, Exploring Ikat Textiles. It reminded me of some of the books that I have on textiles.

Along with collecting too much fabric, I have spent many years collecting books on different genres of textiles that simply make my heart happy. They are the books that sit on my coffee table, to peruse leisurely for a colorful pick-me-up. They sit on my nightstand, so that I can dream in color. They are also the great source of inspiration for many of the projects I work on, whether it is for design prompts, texture explorations or the choices I make for a color palette. Most of these books also have a memory attached as to how I came to own them. Some were gifts from friends that know me well, and some I purchased in quilt museums, art museums or favorite book stores across America. The dearest of these books are the ones that came from some of my wonderful travels internationally.

I thought it would be fun to pull a few off my shelf to share with you today.

World Textiles A Sourcebook. Published by Interlink Books

I could spend hours on the couch, wrapped up in a quilt, with a cup of cocoa and this book. There are 150 textiles included and over 400 colorful illustrations showcasing fabrics created by various ethnic and religious groups.

Each chapter has an introduction of social and cultural context for the region and the textiles they are known for. Then proceeds with commentary on the designs, significance of the pattern and the symbolism it represents. So much inspiration in this beautifully printed resource! I always feel like I am on a trip around the world when I spend time with this book.

I found this copy of World Textiles in the textile section of Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. Perusing their shelves is one of my favorite afternoon field trips when visiting Stumptown. My biggest challenge is to curtail my book choices to what I can carry on the plane home.

Textiles of the Banjara Cloth and Culture of a Wandering Tribe By Charllotte Kwon and Tim McLaughin

Years of fieldwork by the authors has led to this in depth book on the Banjara Tribe of India and their exquisite textiles. Embroidered fabric, appliquéd mirrors, and distinctive pattern construction are the base to telling the story of Banjara women, their history and culture, and celebrating their artistry.

I also found this book in Powell's Books. Have I mentioned their textile section? It is one of the most extensive ones I have found in a book store. The Textiles of Banjera is a constant source of inspiration for me on quilt design. I use it often. So many of the Banjara textiles relate well with traditional quilt blocks, which spark oodles of ideas for me.

A Book Set of Four by the Anokhi Museum of Handprinting

Anokhi Museum Book Set: (clockwise)

1. Sanganeer, traditional textiles - contemporary cloth

2. Hand Blockopedia

3. Ajrakh, patterns and borders

4. Bolotra, the complex language of print

Though these books are sold separately, it is hard to break them apart when I talk about them. Within the set, you will find the history of block printing, dyes and fabrics used to create the beautiful block print textiles of India. You will read about the history of the textile trade in India, and understand how each region contributes to this artisan endeavor, There are also lovely small swatch samples included on some pages, to give you the tactile experience of seeing and feeling what you are reading about. The fabric swatches are such a nice addition to these lovely books.

Sanganeer, traditional textiles - contemporary cloth

Hand Blockopedia

Ajrakh, patterns and borders

Bolotra, the complex language of print

On a personal note, a large part of why I love this book set is because I bought them while visiting the Anokhi Museum of Handprinting, in Jaipur, while on an incredible textile tour of India with Amy Butler and Sujata Shah. It was such an amazing trip, and the museum is a treasure to the textile history of India. So, not only do I get inspired by perusing the books, but I have incredible memories of seeing Master Block Printers at work, and soaking in all the historical culture that Anokhi Museum had to offer.

Pottery by my good friend, Roberta Gross. Follow her on Instagram at @twoheart_pottery

What fun to share some of my treasured books with you! Let me know in the comment section if you enjoyed this topic. I have such a nice collection of textile resource books - it might be fun to post once in a while on different styles and regions.

To whet your appetite, I have some great William Morris and Liberty London resource books that I would love to share with all of you.

Hugs and Happy Quilting!


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