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On My Bookshelf: Textiles of the Islamic World

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Textiles of the Islamic World_INC_PB.indd

Lately, I’ve had textiles on the brain. Maybe it’s all the bright summer colors I’m seeing every day, but I’ve been finding myself drawn to the intricate patterns and heavily saturated colors of textiles from all over the world (hence my post on the process of harvesting and creating indigo last week). In the midst of my textile frenzy, I came across John Gillow’s book, Textiles of the Islamic World, and I knew just from the beautiful pattern on its cover that it would be a treat to look through.

Man weaving on a treadle-loom in Mahdia, Guyana.Photo Credit: John Gillow

Man weaving on a treadle-loom in Mahdia, Guyana.
Photo Credit: John Gillow

Gillow’s book gives a comprehensive survey of textiles made, worn, and used throughout the Islamic world, covering everywhere from Turkey to Spain and North Africa, The Philippines, Iran and Uzbekistan. It combines history, culture, ritual, religion, and decoration, and the variety of the textiles discussed (and of the materials and methods used) is amazing. Not to mention the mere fact that flipping through the hundreds of illustrations gave me endless inspiration – I couldn’t tear myself away.

A beautiful wedding dress from either Nabeul or Hammamet.Photo Credit: Luke Gillow and Tamsin Beedle

A beautiful wedding dress from either Nabeul or Hammamet.
Photo Credit: Luke Gillow and Tamsin Beedle

I can't recommend this book enough - it's a great dose of cultural history and gives incredible insight into textile arts from all over the Islamic world. Grab a copy and get inspired.

Thames and Hudson, $27

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