textile book


Why do “text” and “textile” have the same word root? In this video, learn from Tim Perry about ancient technologies and ways of thinking about texts and fabrics.

This is the first in a series of three videos we just finished for an online course on the history of fashion, taught by Nicole Johnston of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection.  The videos were produced by Alora Bauer, the University of Missouri Libraries e-Learning graduate assistant.

Stay tuned next week for medieval fashion! 


An instruction manual for weavers working in 1820s France.

This instruction manual was probably made for a school associated with a textile manufactory.

The book starts with the history of silk and talks about “contemporary” silk makers in Spain, Italy, and France in the early 19th century. It also contains info on silkworm breeding, the composition of materials like gauze and damask, and includes samples.

Check out the fully digitized pages here.


Behold! A Telescope (or Tunnel) Book of the Crystal Palace

This book folds up neatly to appear as ‘Lane’s Telescopic View of the Ceremony of Her Majesty Opening THE GREAT EXHIBITION of All Nations Designed by Rawlins 1851′! Open it – meaning, in this case, lift the front cover up – and you’ll find yourself looking down a 3-D tunnel view.

From the JHU Libraries Catalog:

This ‘Telescopic View’ is made of printed paper and card, and is supplied in a slip-in card box. When you take the view out of the box, it opens with a concertina action, and you place it on a flat surface. When you view the internal scene through the little peep hole in the cover, you see a three dimensional view of the inside of the Crystal Palace in 1851, and the grand opening by Queen Victoria.

[© The George Peabody Library, The Sheridan Libraries, JHU]


From our stacks: Cover detail and endpapers from Leather for Libraries By E. Wyndham Hulme, J. Gordon Parker, A. Seymour-Jones, Cyril Davenport, and F. J. Williamson. London: Published for the Sound Leather Committee of the Library Association by The Library Supply Co, 1905.


My current obsession is with texture. I dove into my stitch books and am now in a deep hole. All of my on going projects mostly revolve around textured patterns. This sock for instance is just for testing out new stitches. Its pair will be similar, but I have other stitches lined up for it.
I love it. Sometimes getting lost in new things is a great way to enliven your craft. Just knowing that there is so much out there that I still have to learn about knitting is so exciting.


Making The Darjeeling Limited DVD Cover — Part 1

To commemorate the newly-released Criterion Designs book, I thought I’d share the making of one of my own contributions (though generally I focus this blog on my independent and non-movie related work!)

It all began with two things my brother — the director and co-writer of the picture — gave me:

1. A thumbnail sketch of the scene and personnel, how their names would appear — floated over the artwork — for the final, printed cover.

2. A beautiful illustrated dustwrapper for The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. It had a quality he wanted to try and recapture. A strong point-of-view: the feeling of peering into a room — perhaps a murder scene — filled with glowing lamplight, playing over and interacting with objects, floor, walls, and of course the body. There was something, I think, intimate and palpable, yet heightened, about the picture. It was the key inspiration.

Despite hundreds of production photographs — taken by James Hamilton, the set photographer — I could not find pictures of actors in the exact poses I needed. So I did the posing myself.

It was straightforward work at first. From the photographs, I had perfect references for Adrien Brody’s face, wearing his dad’s sunglasses; for Jason Schwartzman’s arm in his gold Parisian hotel robe; and for Owen Wilson’s unique velvet slipper (for which I designed the tiny space-themed icons.) Drafting the characters and creating the basic structure of the scene.

There were 2 artificial light sources to help capture the Chandler atmosphere. But, unlike the somewhat plain room it depicted, I had a traincar berth to contend with. An invented traincar berth. With, on practically every surface: a crazy pattern. Or piece of animal-print luggage. Or an area of silver. Or glass. Or a body part, draped in a certain kind of cloth … I would need a fully-customized color palette. Something mixed from scratch, and tested against the photographs for fidelity. Something for every pattern. Every curtain. Every bottle of airplane liquor … (I’m trying to create a little suspense here …)

For Part 2 … which can be found here … Textures and patterns! Color and shadows!