I’m trying to read more this year, it’s one of my Nineteen for 19 challenges, so when I saw an interesting book just before Christmas I dropped a big hint that it was on my wish list! As it’s all about textiles I thought it may be of interest.
The book in question is called The Golden Thread, it’s by Kassia St Clair and it is fascinating! It’s all about the history of thread and textiles and how they have impacted on our lives over the centuries. As it says on the cover “When we talk of lives hanging by a thread, being interwoven, or part of the social fabric, we are part of a tradition that stretches back many thousands of years. Fabric has allowed us to achieve extraordinary things and survive in unlikely places and this book shows you how and why.”
Each chapter tells the story of a different thread and she goes right back to the beginning – 30,000 years ago!!!! Thread has been found which dates back 30,000 years! There’s a chapter on the Vikings and their woollen sail cloths, the linen used to wrap Egyptian mummies, the story of silk and the connection with the Great Wall of China, cotton, lace…
Kassia also tells the dark history of man-made fibres such as rayon and viscose. To be honest I never really knew the difference between the various man-made fabrics and I certainly didn’t really consider how they were made, but I can also now see where bamboo fabric fits in.
The book goes right up to date with sporting fabrics, mountaineering and space exploration. She also covers the ecological and political issues and events such as the Bhopal factory disaster.
It’s a wide ranging book, full of fascinating insights into something many people take for granted, textiles. For those of you in the UK, The Book People have it at a very good price!
I’m tempted to read her book on colour now…