Friday, February 20, 2009
Libraries Will Get You Through Times of No Money Better than Money Will Get You Through Times of No Libraries.
I borrowed Margaret Ohms' Ethnic Embroidery from the library recently and was very reluctant to return it. I have several other books on embroidery of world cultures, but I particularly appreciated this one. The author's approach stems from a deep understanding of textile structure and how design necessarily evolves from the constraints of thread count, evenness of weave, and available dyestuffs. Even climate and geography influence design.
Ohms charts out the diverse ways different cultures construct shared motifs such as the tree of life, pomegranate or boteh. Patterns for basic projects are included - simple things like bags that can show off intricate embroidery. The colour photos are so-so, but the charts and wealth of inspirational detail make up for any lack of glossy images. A keeper! (Although I did return it, don't want my borrowing privileges suspended.)
I also borrowed a book on Palestinian embroidery. Gorgeous, gorgeous colour photos of a rich textile tradition that is in danger of being completely lost by the conflict between Isreal and Gaza and the West Bank. Being bombed or homeless and without the necessities of life can wipe out the acquired skills of a thousand years in less than a generation.