Thursday, January 29, 2009

Books I Like and Use - Introduction to a New Series of Columns

Some people, like SharonB, have great bounds of energy and post fabulous stuff. They also do great needlework. I am finding that with so much of my energy going to administration, I stitch a lot less. I still do crafts and some embroidery, but less. Hence I have less to blog about. I have decided that I can still offer items of interest to the needlework world by doing a series of columns on books. These will be interspersed with my more limited blogging about crafts, ega, etc.

I think one of the the key things any embroiderer, historic or otherwise focused, needs is a good library. It need not be deep, but it needs some key ingredients. This series will try to focus on books that I like and use. Hopefully this will spur some of you to increase your library and/or help you spend your money wisely.

I will try to comment on and provide the following:
-Full name and source information on book
-Summary of book content
-How and when I use the book
-What level of ability will get the most use out of the book

This in now way is designed to replace the West Kingdom Needleworkers Annotated Booklist which can be found here . The annotated list is over 200 books and is designed as a quick reference.

With that introduction, I would like to start with a book that is so useful to me as a historical embroiderer that it sits beside my desk.
A Pictorial History of Embroidery
Schuette, Marie and Müller-Christensen, Sigrid
Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1964
Over the years it has been reprinted with several different titles and in several different languages. It is currently available for around $200 for the Thames Hudson/Art of Embroidery version. This is the lowest I have seen it in some time.

It is divided into 3 sections. The first is techniques and materials. The second is a history of European needlework from early middle ages through the early 20th C. The third section is a catalog with around 500 pictures, mostly black and white, and details about each piece. The descriptions are not exhaustive, but do provide lots of insight into the construction of each piece. It is one of those books that you read parts of again and again. The pictures reveal more and more with each viewing. The more I learn, the more I return to this book for further insight.

It is not a book for the beginning embroiderer nor for the someone who is not willing to do indepth research. This book is a beginning, a middle, but not the end for research into historical embroidery.


Elmsley Rose said...

It is mostly early pieces, (pre 1500) isn't it?

I got my very own copy of Digby the other day *happiness*

I'm familiar with West Kingdom Booklist, but am very interested in additional/personal views on books from yourself

Anonymous said...

I have had to reduce my stitching also, but for a different reason-carpal tunnel syndrome. I have posts on book and DVD reviews as well as artist interviews to make up for the lack of stitchin' posts. I look forward to reading your reviews.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sabrina. Just a note that the link in your blog to the book list isn't working because the site is case-specific. In case anyone is interested, the link is:
West Kingdom Needleworkers Annotated BooklistUrtatim, formerly Anahita
who created the WK Needleworkers Guild web site some time ago

Sabrina said...