Thursday, January 26, 2012

recent reading

I've been doing some interesting reading lately. Textiles: The Whole Story by Beverly Gordon is a wonderful book, which I would recommend whole-heartedly.  The social, cultural, historical and the spiritual aspects of textiles are all covered here. A vast remit, and yet the way she draws themes together is so beautifully done and very accessible. She writes persuasively on the universality of textiles - "to be human is to be involved with cloth."

I've had the Twyla Tharp book for a while now, but am dipping into it again. I'm struggling to reconcile my teaching and project-based workload with time for my own practice. More hours in the day would be the solution, but in reality, acceptance and better planning might be the way to take things forward.

Finally, Making is Connecting by David Gauntlett, which looks at the connections we make when working with materials, the social dimension of making (with a particular emphasis on online communities), and the way that making and sharing increase social, educational and environmental engagement. This is a really optimistic book and and quotes Ivan Illich, "making changes everything". As I'm very much valuing the connections that blogging gives me, it's a timely read.

I'd be interested to know of books that anyone else would like to recommend.


  1. Catherine Gowthorpe2:16 PM

    On the Amazon page for the David Gauntlett book there are links for two other books on a similar theme, both of which I've read. I read 'The Craftsman' by Richard Sennett a couple of years ago, and felt he had some moderately interesting things to say. However, Sennett is a more of asociologist than a craftsman, and I felt that this distinction was reflected in his exploration of the theme. Also, it's quite a tough read. Also, why the gender specific 'Crafsman'?

    I read 'The Case for Working with Your Hands' by Matthew Crawford earlier this month. He is a motorbike maintenance guy so is talking from experience when he explores the case for working with your hands. He has some very apposite observations about the philosophy of work, and current trends in work and education. He is American, and the book reflects the American experience, but much of what he says is transferable to a European context.

    I forgot to say when I commented on this blog earlier in the week how much I like it, and the lovely photograpsh of your work.

  2. I was thinking about reading 'The Case for Working with your hands'. Thanks for the info about it. I've returned to The Craftsman a few times, and am going to hear Richard Sennett speak next month - should be interesting I hope.
    Thanks for the lovely positive comments about my blog. Claire

  3. You remind me that I have some books about textiles history and also crafts theory and creativity, that I never find the calm and concentration to read... One of them is 'Thinking through Ctaft' by Glenn Adamson.

  4. @montse I've got a copy of that, there's some good stuff about learning by doing in it. x


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