Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Interwoven Globe – Catalogue Review


Amazon Books

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned an exhibition that’s running at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, called Interwoven Globe: The World Textile Trade 1500-1800.

Whenever a major museum publicizes a major exhibit having to do with textiles, one of the first things I do is ferret out the exhibition catalogue.

An exhibition catalogue is the list (and usually provenance and detailed description) of the items on show in the exhibition. When a museum as large as the Met puts on an exhibition, their catalogues are usually a bit more than that. They usually include essays of scholarly research, supported by images of art and artifacts, extensive annotation, and the like, resulting in magnificent coffee-table quality books that appeal visually and intellectually to enthusiasts of the subject.

If it’s something I know will appeal to me, I invest in the exhibition catalogue right away, because usually, the catalogues are not reprinted and once they’re gone, they’re gone. (The exhibition catalogue for ‘Twixt Art & Nature comes to mind…)

The exhibition catalog for Interwoven Globe another exceptional volume, a fantastic book for anyone interested in the history of all varieties of textiles. Today, I’ll take you through it, so you can decide if you want to invest in it, too.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

First off, I have to admit, I love the cover. The cover is a striking woven cloth cover that pretty much screams Textiles! It is tactile and beautiful!

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

Books that deal with historical topics that include maps in them always get extra points from me. I love maps, and I love history books that include maps. A map of the world trade routes occupies the front end paper. It’s good for reference while reading the essays, if you need to get your global bearings.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

Now, when you open the book, you’re going to be met with splashes of color from the various images that populate the volume, which is just as we would expect.

But be warned – the whole book is not, first and foremost, a picture book, though pictures do play a dominant role.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

The first half of the book (or a little more than half) is divided into chapters that focus on the history and development of the textile trade in different regions of the world during the period (1500-1800).

These are scholarly articles, but they are captivating! I haven’t finished the whole book yet, but I’m making my way through, one chapter at a time.

I find it enjoyable reading, though I have to sit at a table to do it. The book is heavy, in more ways than one!

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

Though this first part of the book is text heavy, it is also scattered with delightful images of art from different museum collections. The art serves to illustrate some aspect of the text, and so the whole experience of reading the articles and studying the accompanying art is quite formative.

As with any topic placed in its historical, developmental context, there is much to learn about our present world of textiles through the studies presented in the catalogue. I think it’s a worthwhile study, if you have a deep interest in textile art.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

So, from one side of the globe to the other, we travel the trade routes, experiencing the development and dissemination of styles and interests across the world.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

Besides the textiles themselves illustrating the story of history, the catalogue contains a number of images of paintings that are related in some way to the textile trade or that serve to enhance the text. This painting – Un atelier de couture en Arles (Antoine Raspal, 1785) – is enchanting. They’re so busy, working over their luxurious fabrics, with their spools scattered on the floor.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

The last half of the book makes up the catalogue proper, where the exhibit items are listed (with photos) and described in detail.

Costumers and those interested in the history of clothing will find much to admire in the catalogue!

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

And so will embroiderers! You will find pieces throughout that inspire all kinds of ideas – from designs to color combinations.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

And 17th century embroidery enthusiasts will find much to ponder as well, both in the text and in the photos.

Interwoven Glove Exhibition Catalogue

And a detail not to be missed – thank you, Met People! – is an excellent little textile glossary in the back of the book. Nice touch! I always appreciate a glossary.

If you love the history of textiles, if you’ve wanted to study up a bit on textiles and where they come from and how the mingled around our world, if you’ve wanted to know what influenced what in the growth of the textile trade, you will enjoy this catalogue!

Where to Find It

You can find Interwoven Globe through the following book affiliates:

You can find Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 through Amazon, where you can also enjoy free shipping on it.


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(8) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    The catalogue looks really interesting and it seems to have a lot of information on the textile industry, the photos are lovely I especially love the design and colour combination of the dress and just by your pictures of the catalogue ideas are already flowing in my head it’s a shame I can’t travel to New York to visit the exhibition, last week I visited Buckingham Palace and they were exhibiting all the clothes worn at the coronation 1953 the intricate detailed needlework of the Queen’s dress and other members of the Royal family were amazing all embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework amazing considering that rationing was still in place. Thanks for sharing the catalogue with us.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Thank you for this! I’ve tried to buy exhibit catalogs after the exhibit closed and they are always out of print or prohibitively expensive. knowing about it while it is current makes the catalog affordable!!

  3. Oh Mary, you just had to mention “book” and textiles and history and maps and embroidery. Now, I can’t wait for it to arrive.

  4. I am expecting delivery of the catalogue soon. It is good to read your review to confirm that this book will be an excellent informative addition to my needlework book collection.

  5. My copy came this afternoon. It is lovely and tactile. I just sat and held the book; lovely feeling fabric, nice heft to the book and BIG pictures. I can see hours spent reading it.

    I can’t decide whether or not it is a good thing that if you give a book a positive review then I am likely to want it. :-). Happy reading!

  6. Mary, I want to thank you for your review of Interwoven Globe. I ordered the volume that afternoon and it was delivered the next afternoon. I managed to resist opening the book until I had finished a couple of other projects.

    Now I am sorry that I waited. (Those chores were ones that had been resechled a couple of times aready,)

    Your description of the book was good, but IMHO the reality is even better, based on the little bit I saw scanning quite a few pages over an hour of time.

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