Editorial: Reading is a Luxury PDF 

what can I sayWhile I have been putting the finishing touches on this issue I have been listening to “Nine” which has been playing in the background. There is a scene in the movie where Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis) is sitting in a tub conversing with a catholic Cardinal and the Cardinal tells him “your imagination has had no moral training” and Guido looking shocked asks “How do you train the imagination?” That question struck me as relevant to the reason behind this issue. How do you train your imagination? I have always been a veracious reader.

When I was 15 or 16 I discovered Gertrude Stein. In a biography called “Charmed Circle” there are two references I can instantly recall with amusement. The first being the 10 year old Stein’s fear of running out of books to read, the second being her recounting of manipulating Picasso into doing new drawings on four needle point canvas panels by suggesting that Alice was going to copy a couple of his painting in needle point.  You can see an image of this pair of Louis XV children armchairs with needlepoint executed by Alice B. Toklas, designed by PICASSO on line at the Yale University Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library website Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers [Browse throught the images you find them interesting]

I mention this it is through biography, auto biographies and collections of letters that my interest in history including textile history grew out of.  I can look at Gertrude Stein’s life and give a quick breakdown of the subtle role Textiles played through out Gertrude Stein’s life because I have read about it. With the use of the internet I can even link you to images of some of those textile objects, read and research is how I function.

Textiles in Gertrude Stein’s life: in childhood her father and uncles had been in the clothing business which focused on imported textiles. Matisse (*1), whose early work was supported by Stein and her brother Leo was the son of textile merchants. Sonia Delaunay was part of the Paris cultural landscape in which Gertrude Stein and partner Alice Toklas lived. Photographs of the bohemian interiors in which this crowd lived and worked are full of exotic textiles from the near and far east draped on furniture, hung on walls, they infiltrated the paintings, art photography event the literature. Examining the everyday became part of if not the subject matter of her writing, in a word “Portrait” of the Spanish dancer Susie Asado Stein's repetitive use of words starting with the letter “S” to recreate the sound of the dancers clothing as she move, sat, danced and even undressed. Near the end of world war two when there clothing “had reach the threadbare state she wrote the “Kiddie” [William G Rogers a Dough Boy they had met in ww1] that they had fortunately met a young couturier Pierre Balmain a refugee in Aix, who made them each a suite of clothes, they where now ‘most chic and warm” (*2)

The V&A has a later piece Pierre Balmain made for Stein in their collection Museum no. T.47B-1974, Brown velvet jacket worn by Gertrude Stein , Pierre Balmain, Paris. 1945-6 

With that quick tour of one person’s life over I talk about this new issue which is about textile writing, what is written about and where it appears.

In the six years of being the publisher of fibreQUARTERLY I have become more aware of what is happening in the fields of textile research, conservation and contemporary practice. As traditional ways of publishing have changed and delivery systems/ platforms have become numerous are your interests being served? As “The Andy Warhol Dairies” showed us and twitter and facebook prove daily gossip is now mass communication. Is this the information we thought we would find on the information highway? At what point does accessible information, accurate, well written and well presented become known. When you have accessed it or when you have read it.  With in the context of this new issue of fibreQUARTERLY we are presenting a "Sampler" of textile writing from other sources to show how individual artist and writers, Institutions: Museums, Schools and organizations, and traditional publishers of: magazines, journals and books are using digital media to present and distribute Textile wring in all its multifaceted styles and subject matter.

This is a double issue combining what would have been our 2010 Anthology a selection of fibreQUARTERLY articles previously published and our annual Canadian exhibition, reviews and new books listings along with a selection of articles published in different media venues. I would like to thank those individuals; institutions, organizations, publishers and writers who have consented to allowed fibreQUARTERLY to reprint/ re-post articles originally published by them. 

John Hopper: The Textile Blog

Carla Tilghman, textile historian  

Dietmar Laue and Beatrijs Sterk publishers of Textile Forum

Gail Durbin, Victoria and Albert Museum

Dianne Sprighall, embroider/ historian 

Ann Svenson Perlman, Wendy Landry Textile Society of America and the University of Nebraska Digital Commons:


joe lewis publisher 


notes on Gertrude Stein 

*1  Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams His Art and His Textiles

June 23, 2005–September 25, 2005
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

*2 P 442 Mellow, James R. Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company. Praeger Publishers Ink.  1974 ISBN 10: 0805073515 / 0-8050-7351-5 ISBN 13: 9780805073515


Next >