Updated: Oct 25, 2021
This week we continue our search for motivation with five great books about wool. After all, it’s well known that one of the best ways to boost your creativity is by reading.
In fact, in a recent article by Psychology Today by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. called “8 Ways to Find Inspiration When You Need It Most,” Whitbourne writes, “Read something. You may just have run out of ideas. Perhaps you’re tired of cooking the same meals week after week. Refreshing your recipe stash can lead you down a trail of completely new ideas that represent great variations from your standard fare.”
With this in mind, the first book on our list is The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius. rather than focusing on what can be made with fibre, this book teaches fibre artists about their medium. It’s a fabulous reference book with information about 200 animals and their fibre. This is one of the most encompassing sources of information available. There’s even a photographic encyclopedia. It covers sheep from all around world. It’s the perfect resource for fibre artists wanting to learn more about their favourite fibre’s density, strength, and staple length.
Another great read by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius is The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers. This must-have resource is filled with extraordinarily useful tips, and covers about 100 different sheep breeds, the features of their fleece, and what projects to use it for. The animal profiles include information about the sheep’s history, as well as the weight, staple length, fiber diameter, and natural colors of its fleece
Deborah Robson is co-author of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook and Knitting in the Old Way. She is a former editor of both Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot and Spin-Off magazine, and she is currently the editor and publisher of Nomad Press, which publishes books on traditional and ethnic knitting and spinning. Robson is also an artist, working in textiles, printmaking, and oils. She lives in Colorado with her daughter.
Carol Ekarius is the coauthor of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, The Field Guide to Fleece, and Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep, and the author of several books including Small-Scale Livestock Farming, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, and Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle, and Pigs. She lives in the mountains of Colorado.
Our next book, Wool by Peggy Hart is for those who love history. It tells the incredible story of wool and the role it has played in American history, touching the lives of immigrants, slaves, and Native Americans. Hart uses wool as a vehicle to study how society changes over time and the technologies that allow for those advances. This is a must-read for wool lovers.
Peggy Hart is a writer, textile designer, production weaver, and teacher with experience in designing, producing, and marketing hundreds of blankets annually including custom blankets for sheep and alpaca farmers using their own yarn. She has a deep interest in the history of weaving and wool in American.
Clara Parkes’ Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool is a memoir that takes the reader across the states from NYC to Texas on a cross country while Parkes searches for her perfect yarn. Through this journey, readers are introduced to the many characters that populate the wool industry and American culture.
Clara Parkes is an American author, yarn critic, and wool expert. Parkes has been described as “quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting.”
Sheepish by Catherine Friend was a Minnesota Book Award finalist in 2012. It tells the story of an ex urban dweller who, after fifteen years living on a farm, takes time to examine her choices and the role her sheep play in that life. Of course, this ultimately leads her to think about things on a much larger scale such as the important role sheep play in the world. Filled with insights and wit, this is a book filled with love and laughter.
Catherine Friend is the author of The Spanish Pearl, The Crown of Valencia, A Pirate’s Heart, The Copper Egg, and Spark. She’s also written memoirs, nonfiction, and children’s books. She’s won a Minnesota Book Award, a McKnight/Loft Fellowship, the Alice B. Readers Appreciation Award, an Independent Book Publishers Association award, four Golden Crown Literary Society Awards, and has been a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She lives in Minnesota with her wife of many years, and is delighted that they still really, really like each other. They have dogs, barn cats, and lots of bees.
Last but not least, Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook. A present to his daughter, Mary, the book is filled with sketches created when Moore was forced to abandon his large studio while preparing for a major sculpture show, and adapted a small studio overlooking a sheep meadow. Moore’s charming sketches are truly inspirational. Focused on the relationship between mother sheep and child theme, they remind the viewer of his exploration of this theme in his larger more abstract sculptural work. The book is a good reminder of the role new surroundings can play in getting the creative juices flowing.
Henry Spencer Moore (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor and artist. He is best known for his abstract bronze sculptures which are located in various prominent public places including the OAG in Toronto. He became the most influential and famous sculptor of his generation.
Next time join us again when we will look at books dedicated to the artistic process.