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September/October 2004

Recommended Books

In addition to the five books we recommended in our September/October issue, we offer comments on these new releases:

Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indian and Indonesian Textile Exchange by Robyn Maxwell. This catalog of the exhibition that took place at the National Gallery of Australia in 2003 is unabashedly, indisputably, and stunningly gorgeous. The visual feast begins with a section on maritime silk routes that showcases an unusually extensive look at rare nineteenth-century ship textiles from Sumatra. The richness of the interaction between India and Indonesia--which includes philosophy and religion, iconography, design elements, and artistic technique--is discussed, alongside lush images of woven jacquards, ikats, block prints and batiks, embroidery, and beadwork. These are two areas of the world known for their technically and visually sophisticated textiles, and the two are combined in one book that provides both a history of cultural and artistic influences and a knock-out photo gallery. Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, distributed in the U.S. by University of Washington Press. Softcover, 216 pages. $45. --Lynn Cornelius Jablonski

Southeast Asian Textiles by Claire and Steve Wilbur. This book explores textiles from various regions of Indonesia by examining the collection amassed by the authors during their six-year stay in the country. The book provides an overview of the artistic significances of various techniques and design styles, as well as highlighting the variety of decorative methods used. This book contains a wealth of information for someone looking to collect Indonesian textiles; it includes estimated values of all textiles shown, as well a full chapter on how to care for and display the textiles. Filled with inspiring images of cloth, it will also appeal to enthusiasts and those wanting to learn the basics of the various techniques. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. Hardcover, 176 pages. $39.95. --Liz Good

The Art of Papermaking with Plants by Marie-Jeanne Lorenté. Extraordinary images of texture and value in natural materials make this a poetic look at papermaking. Patterns in the handmade paper emerge from materials as diverse as bamboo and cannabis, oak leaves, pine needles, zucchini, and garlic skin. In addition to clear directions on papermaking, this book offers an inspired gallery of contemporary international artists who use this medium in innovative ways. And with essays such as ``Transmitting the Ephemeral'' and ``The Poetic Essence [of paper],'' there is also food for the philosopher in you. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Co. Softcover, 175 pages. $29.95. --Lynn Cornelius Jablonski

Quiltmaking by Hand: Simple Stitches, Exquisite Quilts by Jinny Beyer. Written in first person with a conversational style, Beyer opens the book with a touching recount of how, through quilting, she transformed her personal emotional fallout from 9/11. Setting the tone for a book that feels as if a friend or family member is showing you the ropes of quilting, Beyer writes about a wide range of topics that include choosing colors, selecting fabrics, and joining quilt pieces. This book will appeal to both master quilters as well as novices with its emphasis on clear instruction. <I>Quiltmaking by Hand<P> is peppered with juicy historical tidbits, trivia, and quotations. While Beyer gives directions on how to reproduce her favorite quilts, artists will also glean valuable tips that may serve as jumping-off points for their own creative processes. Elmhurst, IL: Breckling Press. Softcover, 272 pages. $29.95. --Lynn Cornelius Jablonski

Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics by Burton Silver and Heather Busch. Why have a book on painting cats in the Fiberarts book section? Because it's funny, bizarre, and appealing to the textured world in which we fiber folks like to reside. In this case, fur provides the texture. Laugh-out-loud profiles of ``artists'' working in faux ``styles'' such as Eco-Integrationism (the cat is in camouflage) and Anamorphic Hybridism (a gorgeously painted cat-turned-fish) fill this satire of the much-too-serious world of high art. Readers may wonder whose cat would sit still to be painted in the tartan of his owner, as seen in the section titled, appropriately, Classical Fabricationism. Regardless, fiber artists will enjoy the texture and color plays ranging from the silly to the sophisticated that fill this light look at art. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. Softcover, 96 pages. $16.95. --Lynn Cornelius Jablonski

Batik: Modern Concepts and Techniques by Noel Dyrenforth. In the foreward to this informative book, Rudolf G. Smend writes, ``Noel does not think in English, nor European, but global--a messenger of batik with a world view.'' With a brief history of international batik, Dyrenforth proceeds to walk the reader through clear instruction on process. Strong visuals support the text, and inspired painterly examples of fine-art batik make this book a good resource for batik artists looking for new ways of approaching a traditional medium. Outlining workshop safety, wax recipes, and various dye methods in a direct and well-organized manner, Dyrenforth's own history in the field of batik (since the 1960s) informs the text with enthusiasm and style. London: Batsford. Hardcover, 144 pages. £19.99 (about $37). --Lynn Cornelius Jablonski

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Sept/Oct 2004


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