Let’s kick off the New Year with a book review! Why? Because I love books!
And I love, love, love needlework books. I love how-to needlework books; I love project needlework books. But needlework books that I can really read are usually needlework history books. And I really love those!
Today’s book is just such a book. It’s not a how-to book. It’s not a project book. It’s a book that looks at a very specific era of needlework history – the Arts & Crafts Movement. The book is called Arts and Crafts Embroidery and it’s by Laura Euler.
Arts and Crafts Embroidery is a somewhat hefty tome in weight and size, hard bound, with a beautiful dust jacket.
The book takes a close look at the Arts and Crafts Movement, its influences and its influenceing – what influenced it, and what it influenced.
And of course, among the discussion, you will find abundant images of Arts & Crafts Movement embroideries. (Of course!)
What I like about the book: it’s very readable. And the author relies on primarily sources, which is nice. She goes straight to the letters and writings of the movers and shakers of the movement.
I also find the book humorous, in a way. There are situations, ideas, opinions expressed about embroidery by these well-known figures of the A&C Movement that are quite insightful and funny. I love reading them!
I love the section that takes a look at the silk industry and how it thrived during the era, especially in the Americas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Brainerd & Armstrong silk company, who were ever-direct in their marketing of Good Silk!
In speaking of mercerized cotton and linen threads, this is what Brainerd & Armstrong have to say:
Embroiderers should not for a minute think that these threads are the equal or will give the satisfactory results of silk embroidery thread. Cotton and linen threads are vegetable fiber, and silk thread is an animal fiber. A thread of animal fiber will take dye better and hold its color faster and longer than a thread of vegetable fiber. The silk thread does not split and fray with age.
There are plenty of catalog references and pictures from old silk thread catalogs in the book. Since I collect these catalogs myself, this part of the book struck a chord.
The Arts & Crafts Movement was not just about wallpaper, decorative pillows, and wall hangings. Clothing was influenced by the design styles and, for costume enthusiasts, you’ll be happy to know there’s a whole chapter devoted to this point.
The last chapter of the book discusses Arts & Crafts textiles today – the collecting of old pieces, plus the making of new by specific companies that market the style still.
Pros & Cons
For pros, I’d list readability, presentation, the inclusion of many images, and an interesting topic.
For cons, I’d say if you’re not interested in this period in the history of embroidery and design, the book will have virtually no interest for you. There’s no specific information about techniques used and so forth.
But if you are interested in the era, or in the history of embroidery, textiles, and designs in general, I think you’ll find this book a welcome, readable addition to your library!
Where to Find It
You can find Arts and Crafts Embroidery through the following book affiliates:
In the US, you can find Arts and Crafts Embroidery at Amazon.
Worldwide with free shipping, try Book Depository.
More Needlework Book Reviews
This week, I updated my Books page here on Needle ‘n Thread, so you’ll now find all the books I’ve reviewed on the site alphabetically indexed there and linked up to my reviews. If you’re looking for a specific needlework book or a certain type of needlework book, you might want to browse through my reviews to see if there’s anything that catches your eye!
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