Sunday, February 12, 2023

Weekend Review: This Long Thread


This Long Thread / Jen Hewett
Boulder, CO: Roost Books, 2021.
366 p.

This is an excellent, informative and utterly engaging book. Jen Hewett is a thoughtful artist and creator, and she's put together a collection of interviews, essays and artist profiles featuring women of colour across the fibre arts. 

I heard her say in a Seamwork podcast interview that she'd read Women in Clothes and was interested in the survey format, so decided to put together this book using that premise. It really turned out so well -- I knew it would be a good read but didn't expect to be so enthralled that I didn't want to put it down. 

She explores the experiences of women of colour in the crafting community; Black, Indigenous and Latina women are all represented, and share their stories and experiences. The textile artists featured include knitters, crocheters, quilters, sewers, weavers, and even more. Each has their own take on how craft has played a role in their lives and in the way they build community. Topics range from family tradition, to making textiles from necessity or by choice, to the ways these women have experienced craft within majority white groups, the value of craft in identity and self-care -- there's just so much here. I really enjoyed the way the stories are told in the artist's own voice, thanks to the interview structure. 

It's a collection of stories to deeply engage with and learn from. This focus and the voices heard here are so needed; as a white woman myself I recognize that most of my experiences in the crafting world, either in person or with online interactions, have happened within majority white craft communities. This book is a resource to hear from and discover so many other voices. The artists featured all have a bio at the end of the book, and you can look up their work and presence online to find out more about any of them. Take your time reading through, and then look up all the contributors. You'll have hours of learning and pleasure from this one. Highly recommended, as a much needed addition to sociological writings on craft. 

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