Fabric Folios


While living in Munich I happened to discover the book “Embroidery from India and Pakistan” in a bookshop which is part of the Fabric Folios series published by the British Museum. If you like textiles and/or embroidery you will not be disappointed by these softbound books. While in London in September I found the book “Embroidery from Afghanistan” at the British Museum bookshop and was surprised and delighted to discover that some of my embroidered textile pieces I bought in Kyrgyzstan are museum worthy! I have 4 of the currently 8 books from this series. The other titles are Miao Textiles form China, Textiles from Mexico, Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa and Silk in Africa. If you have room on your Christmas wish list, the books are not too large nor heavy (each 80-100 pages, over 100 colour illustrations), one of the books might just be the right one for you.


Als ich in München lebte, hab ich zufällig das Buch “Embroidery from India and Pakistan” (Stickereien aus Indien und Pakistan) in einem Buchladen entdeckt, das Teil der Fabric Folios-Serie ist (Hrsg. Britisches Museum). Wenn Du Textilien und/oder Stickereien magst, werden Dich diese Bücher nicht enttäuschen. Als ich im September in London war hab ich das Buch “Embroidery from Afghanistan” (Stickereien aus Afghanistan) im Buchladen des Britischen Museums gefunden und mit Überraschung und Freude festgestellt, dass die bestickten Textilien, die ich mir in Kirgisistan gekauft habe, museumswürdig sind! Ich habe 4 Bücher aus der zurzeit 8-teiligen Reihe. Die anderen Titel sind: Miao Textiles from China, Textiles from Mexico, Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa und Silk in Africa. Solltest Du noch Platz auf Deiner Weihnachtswunschliste haben, diese Bücher im Softeinband sind nicht zu groß noch schwer (je 80-100 Seiten, über 100 Farbfotos), das eine oder andere ist vielleicht was für Dich.

Embroidery from India & Pakistan


Focusing on over twenty textiles from the British Museum’s fabulous collectin, this book explored the wonderful folk embroidery of India and Pakistan – in particular the domestic work made by women for their own dowry or family. Illustrated in full and in detail, these richly decorated items – costumes and household textiles – will provide designers at all levels with inspiration for new and unexpected ways of using colour and pattern in their own work.


“Fabric Folios are gorgeous designer sourcebooks exploring the variety of colours and pattern in textiles worldwide. Each book is a treasure trove of design and information.” Traveller magazine


“Lovers of textiles are sure to find a place for these reasonably priced books on their shelves … turning each page is a surprise and a pleasure.” Joss Graham, The World of Interiors

Embroidery from Afghanistan by Sheila Paine


Embroidery from Afghanistan is varied, rich and sumptuous. This book focuses on over thirty pieces and explores the embroidery of different tribes and their geographical regions. Illustrated in full and in detail, the textiles included will provide designers at all levels with inspiration for the use of colour and pattern in their own designs. In her introduction the author sets the pieces in their social and cultural context and investigates the shared traditions of the various tribes. The costumes of men, women and children are illustrated, as are embroideries for the home and yurt, domestic animals and precious possessions, information on the decorative techniques, patterning and stitching is included, together with a technical glossary that supports the main text.


I have particularly been touched by Sheila Paine’s introductory text which covers chapters on regions and tribes, dress, men’s clothing, children’s clothing, women’s clothing, embroideries for the home, domestic animals and treasures, symbolism and protection, materials, stitches, dyes, tradition and change. Here are some excerpts:
Embroidery must always be considered within the context of the lives and environment of the people who make it. That context in Afghanistan has for many years been war… In the aftermath of war many women have been left to become providers and embroidery is often the only means they have of supporting their families. Far from a gentle pastime for idle ladies or a vehicle of artistic expression for the gifted, embroidery in Afghanistan often simply means survival.

Textiles from Guatemala by Ann Hecht


Guatemala’s woven textiles are admired for their vibrant colour combinations and boldness of design. This book reflects such richness and provides designers at all levels with inspiration for new and unexpected ways of using colour and pattern in their own work. Over twenty textiles are explored in a series of photographs to reveal a wealth of motifs from fruits and flowers to birds and beasts, as well as abstract and geometric designs and, more unusually, the two combined to startling effect.


In her enlightening text Ann Hecht, herself a weaver, provides the background information to bring the pieces to life and clearly explains the full range of principle techniques employed. In addition, brief commentaries highlight the design features and a technical glossary supports the main text so you can rely on the book for eye-catching patterns as well as refer to it for specific information.


Embroidery from Palestine by Shelagh Weir


This book focuses on the spectacular embroidery which flourished in rural Palestin in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. During this period Arab village women embellished their ceremonial costumes with a variety of materials and techniques: lustrous floss silk embroidery, intricate cord couching, and taffeta and satin patchwork. Embroidery styles varied throughout the country, so that each garment was both a work of art and an expression of village and regional identity.


In her introduction the author outlines the cultural context in which this beautiful work was produced, describes the main types of ornamentation, and explains how and why fashions changed through time. Ober twenty pieces are illustrated in full and in detail, with captions identifying their provenances and highlighting their most important aesthetic features. Also provided are a glossary of terms, and suggestions for further reading. Designers and artists cannot fail to be inspired by the striking colours and patterns of this superb example of human creativity.


7 responses to “Fabric Folios

  1. Wow! It must be a real feast to go through these books! It’s so funny to see all these styles/colours come back in your lovely artwork.

  2. I absolutely LOVE THESE BOOKS! I put them on my wishlist, every last one. Thanks for highlighting them today!

  3. Thanks for that, it is wonderful to see the colours and to almost touch the textiles. This is one of the most visually tactile posts for a while.

  4. What a fantastic look at so much beautiful fabric and embroidery Belinda! Thank you for sharing so many wonderful pages! Wunderbar!
    ~*~ Patty

  5. Fantastic colourful pages, and look at all the different designs. In the meantime I need to decide which one of those to get. Thank you for sharing and taking us on this fabric road trip! I look forward to the next one.

  6. Hello Belinda! It is such a TREAT to see what’s inside these fabulous books and the variety is amazing! I’m inspired to play & create some of my own with PS (a new toy).

    My grandfather owned a textile dye house in phila & (no connection) my mom worked at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science. She always raved about their textile collection!! (When my brother was accepted as a Freshman, she couldn’t remain there. She worked for 12 professors and saw all of their tests! lol)

    – vicki xo

  7. Alexandra Seno

    Ich habe Ihre Seite durch Google gefunden und bin begeistert, einen Blick in diese Bücher zu werfen zu können. Werde sicherlich das eine oder andere erwerben. Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe!

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