New Year’s reading

When I say ‘reading’ here, what I chiefly mean is ‘looking at pictures’ because my new books are full of them.

I had seen the new edition of Albers’ book, because I was lucky enough to receive a copy to review for the Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers; but that will shortly head off to the Association Library and I didn’t want to let it go! So I put in a Christmas request which my mother kindly granted. The main text of the book is unchanged from previous editions, but it has been ‘expanded’ in two ways. One is the inclusion of some essays about Albers and her work, and the other is the explosion of colour plates. The quality of the images is eye-boggling. Never mind the textiles, I particularly love the reproductions of her hand-drawn drafts on squared paper.

Norma Smayda’s book on Ondulé Textiles was a gift from Pat, who has made a significant contribution to it. I knew the book was in progress, but didn’t know that it had progressed to completion, so that was a really nice surprise. It is also full of weaver-bait in the form of luscious photos of textiles and glamour shots of reeds in various stages of construction. It’s when I am turning a book through 180° to examine a photo of clamped metal strips that I wonder how I ended up here… Subcultures are brilliant, aren’t they? I love the fact that while I am looking closely at pictures of reeds, there are whole worlds out there of people getting excited by cricket ball design or the composition of compost. What would we be without our capacity for enthusiasm? And I haven’t even started on the text yet.

New Year’s reading” was posted by Cally on 11 Jan 2018 at

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2 Responses

  1. Catherine Freeland

    Since you made us focus on colour in your workshop for the Highland Guild, I’ve been glad to revisit my ancient books by both Josef and Anni Albers. I wish though that I’d taken more care of the latter, which is looking a bit dog-eared…I’ve seen the price of the colourful expanded edition, and will have to join the queue to borrow it! I’d like very much to see the exhibition in London later this year which will celebrate Anni Albers, and will save towards that trip, hopefully with a.n.other guild member for company.

    Another textile hero of mine is Sheila Hicks, who studied once at Yale and remembers J. Albers’ teaching on colour in particular there. Yesterday by chance I watched a very wonderful Youtube video of a talk she gave at Fulbright(?) it’s called ‘Half-moon needle in the Silk Rain Forest’, and is illustrated with her wonderful (to me) hangings and tapestries. You need a cup of something to accompany it, if you wish to watch, as it’s a good 20 mins or so. I love her starting point which is often a small frame with nails driven in to take the warp threads. Then I saw mention of a show of hers at the Pompidou centre in Paris – what am I thinking?………

    Thanks for such a tantalising post!

    • Cally

      I’m really looking forward to the Albers exhibition too. In fact, in my head I had managed to bring it forward to autumn 2017 rather than 2018 and I was so disappointed when I realised my mistake! Thanks for the YouTube tip – I will have a look, cup of tea in hand.