I love a good textile design reference book and Textiles: The Art of Mankind by Mary Schoeser is a must have for any admirer of the wonderful world of decorative textiles.
Covering textile art and design from around the world and through the centuries, the book meanders through diverse subject matter such as Indian woven silk fabrics from the 15th Century, the sinuous and elegant line work of William Morris' block printed furnishing fabrics, densely stitched robes worn by Turkmen tribal women, through to the brightly coloured brocade weaves of 20th Century Guatemalan dress fabrics. These examples are just a tiny slither of the vast selection of beautifully documented textiles featured in this wonderful tome - and I call it a tome as it is one very heavy book, beware Ikea shelves! Over 1000 images reveal the beauty and variety of textiles in stunning detail.
The author Mary Schoeser writes: 'Over the past forty years, the first hand sight of hundreds and thousands of examples has convinced me that textiles are beautiful, inventive, expressive, and more. They reveal the human compulsion to engage with texture, colour and storytelling. They record our ever-changing feelings of play, joy, wonder and profound thoughtfulness. They preserve skills, encourage creativity and represent continuity'.
Themes covered in the book include Impact, Ingredients, Structure, Surface, Added Dimensions and Imagery. By juxtaposing historical and contemporary textiles from around the world, the author highlights an unbroken story of skill and invention stretching back thousands of years.