A firm favourite at Rare Mags, gripping and fascinating and painfully personal.
"Fabrics can be a clue to what is underneath the surface. The word 'clue' itself comes from the Greek name for a ball of yarn that can be wound back to show the right path. The stories of fabrics, the histories of them, are about endeavour and work and secrets and feuds and inventions and abuse and beauty and ugliness, and sometimes they are about tenderness. - Victoria Finlay
How is a handmade fabric helping save an ancient forest? Why is a famous fabric pattern from India best known by the name of a Scottish town? How is a Chinese dragon robe a diagram of the whole universe? What is the difference between how the Greek Fates and the Viking Norns used threads to tell our destiny?
In Fabric, bestselling author Victoria Finlay spins us round the globe, weaving stories of our relationship with cloth and asking how and why people through the ages have made it, worn it, invented it and made symbols out of it. And sometimes why they have fought for it.
She beats the inner bark of trees into cloth in Papua New Guinea, fails to handspin cotton in Guatemala, visits tweed weavers at their homes in Harris, and has lessons in patchwork-making in Gee's Bend, Alabama - where in the 1930s, deprived of almost everything they owned, a community of women turned quilting into an art form. She began her research just after the deaths of both her parents - and entwined in the threads she found her personal story too. The book became her journey through grief and recovery. It is her own patchwork.