We at FibreShare are always looking for new fiber books to add to our personal libraries. So we thought.. why not ask some of the rad fiber artists in our community to share their favorites?! We wish we could host a real live book club and have you all over for tea and cake, but for now, a blog series will have to do 😉
Please welcome Nicole Melton (weaver, metalsmith, FibreShare participant, and general badass) as she shares her 5 favorite weaving books! And once you’ve finished reading, you should absolutely visit her Instagram feed (@knotandsplicetextiles) to say “hey!” Nicole is not only a super inspirational artist, but also a pretty fabulous friend who loves to chat all things yarn. We can’t think of anyone more suited to leading our first “Fibre Book Club”!
This is the most expensive book I’ve ever bought, let’s be honest here. It is out of print, so if you find it anywhere for an affordable price, grab it or forever hold your peace! The book itself is a precious object with deckled edges and lovely typography throughout. This book is a delight to flip through (I almost feel like I need to be wearing gloves, though) and look at all of Sheila Hicks’ gorgeous woven works. I also love that each description lists material info as materials are a great motivation for my own work. I really can’t even begin to describe this book…it’s a work of art. I now need to purchase a special box for it and am taking recommendations. :p
When I got this book, I read through the whole thing, trying to find more information about this amazing fiber artist. Lenore Tawney greatly influenced what became fiber art. She studied as a sculptor and weaver, and had a prolific art practice throughout her life (she lived to be 100 years old!). She spent her latter leg of life working on assemblages and collage. If you haven’t read anything about Ms. Tawney, I encourage you to look her up. She helped uplift modern craft technique to fine art caliber. Craft and fine art were arguably two separate worlds until Lenore Tawney—who was one of the most experimental weavers and fiber artists.
This larger coffee table book discusses and presents fiber art becoming recognized within the art world as sculpture and fine art. Fiber techniques were always considered a handcraft, separate from the fine art world until a large boom of impressive and experimental fiber work in the ’60’s and ’70’s. This book features large and beautiful photos of works (sculptural fiber forms) and includes profiles of select artists. This is a book you should invest in for your collection if fiber sculpture and large works are of interest to you! I find myself browsing through this book often in awe.
4. “Learning to Weave” by Deborah Chandler
I’m including this book in this list…not because it’s the most interesting or showy book, but I’ve found it to be an essential resource for those who want to learn to weave (and for all of us who need reminders and references when setting up) a floor loom. This book has illustrated step-by-step instructions for how to dress the loom from front to back, as well as back to front. It eases into planning a project, reading drafts, weaving techniques, etc. It also lists an invaluable trouble-shooting guide in the back, i.e. broken warps, whole section goes loose, weft doesn’t beat in straight, threading errors, can’t get a clean shed, etc. (and next to each listed problem there are “possible causes” and “solutions”). I was recommended this book by a teacher whom taught me how to use the floor loom and it’s been an invaluable self-teaching resource while navigating techniques and process on my lonesome. You may be able to find a “used” copy very affordably on Amazon.
5. “The Structure of Weaving” by Ann Sutton
This is a gorgeous larger coffee table book that explains balance and sett in weaving (with drool-worthy large photos), simple drafting, plain weave, twills, satins, floats, mock leno, honeycombs, cords, double cloth, etc. There are gorgeous large single page and full spread photos of weavings showing the structures discussed. This book explores techniques used on a floor or rigid heddle loom, however, you can use many of these techniques on a simple frame loom, as well. “The Structure of Weaving” is inspiring to flip through if you’re feeling blue or discouraged. Sometimes seeing someone’s creative use of plain weaving or twills can inspire your own ideas using even the simplest techniques, mixing colors, or adding a new skill that may elevate your ideas. I don’t think a single weaver out there knows everything…the exciting part of any medium is the ability to learn over one’s lifetime.
Visit Nicole below to see her gorgeous weaving and jewelry works, and to thank her for sharing her favorite books!