Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures at the Book Sale

Last Saturday I went to the warehouse sale of used books sponsored by Friends of the Sacramento Library. I found a couple of treasures. "The Comfortable Arts, Traditional Spinning and Weaving in Canada" by Dorothy K Burnham (1981, 238 pages, $2), is a historical perspective on fiber arts in Canada. With lots of black and white pictures carefully notated and diagrammed, it's a real adventure as we follow the exhibits from various sources and styles.

Here are twined bags with a diagram of the of the technique. This is NOT a how-to book but the diagrams give the student an appreciation for the structure. These bags are representative of weft twined weaving as practiced by the native peoples.

These are bands woven in the manner of the native people and the French. This craft is popularly known as "fingerweaving" in USA. Although I already have 3 or 4 books on fingerweaving, the historical perspective provided by the text gives me insight into why fingerweaving is such a big deal in Canada.

With the immigrants came looms. Fully half the book is filled with examples of the cloth and patterns as contributed by the various immigrant groups. The wedding shirt and shawl are just two of the examples. The only weakness of this book is the lack of color pictures. Otherwise I spent 4 days on the daily commute escaping to Canada!

"A Millennium of Weaving in Chiapas" by Walter F. Morris Jr., (1984, 56 pages, $1) is a short book that focuses on a small region in Mexico. The book discusses weaving in ancient times, colonial times, and into modern times.

Here the text explains how the snake pattern can become the corn pattern, feeding the saints accompanied by toads (singers of the rain) and more. It's a treat to peek into folklore. Patterns like the snake, the toad, monkey (upper right), vulture (middle right), father and mother pattern (lower right) reach back to earliest days.

There is a good balance of black and white pictures and color pictures. I like these pictures with the backstrap weavers at work. I really want to weave some gauze soon.

This is just two books of the books I bought. I bought 9 books for $13. I checked Amazon and it would have cost me over $80 plus shipping to buy these books in used condition. Most of the books at the warehouse sale are library books taken out of circulation plus a few that are donated by book lovers hoping that others will enjoy. All the proceeds help to support the public library.

It was a good day!


zippiknits said...

It certainly was a good day! Congratulations on your wonderful finds.

The Hopi traveled a long route through the deserts, which were less dry at the time, and traded their textiles all the way to the coast of California in ancient times. So much History has been lost.

Franco Rios said...

Thank you Z,

Are there any books you can recommend on the Hopi and their weaving?

Have a good day!

zippiknits said...

I'm not sure there are any old books but I know that one of the elders on Second Mesa has a daughter about my age who is a prize winning weaver and historian. I'll try to find out more. You've found so many wonderful sources on the web. Thanks you!