Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Book Review: The Story of Silk

The Story of Silk by Dr. John Feltwell; St. Martin's Press, NY, 1990  ISBN 0-312-05772-5

The Story of Silk by Dr. John Feltwell; St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1990. ISBN 0-312-05772-5

You guessed it, another long-time favorite caught my attention while perusing my library. “The Story of Silk” literally jumped off the shelf into my open hands. I continues to be a fascinating read covering the complete history of sericulture from its origin in China over 5,000 years ago to where the industry stands today.

The indepth text is strongly supported by a range of pen and ink illustrations as well as a selection of historical black and white and color photographs. Don’t expect the glossy magazine type book we are so familiar with today. This volume is modeled after the University textbook we recall from 20 to 30 years ago.

I was a spinner in my previous life and when studying various fibers and the way to process them, while completing the Master Spinner Programme at Old College during Fiber Week, I picked up this well researched source book. We have moved a couple of times over the years and I always cull my library – books are heavy and take up more space than we realize, not to mention the weight when moving boxes. This book has never been on the discard pile. I reach for it more often than I expected. It contains solid information and is a constant reference whenever I research and work with silk in all its preparations.

Here is an excerpt of the book jacket that sums up why I feel this book is a must have reference when working with silk: “…Here is described how silk is made, both by the traditional methods once practiced in the silk communities in southern France, and by the modern methods used today throughout the world, as well as the different varieties of silkworm and mulberry and their origin and distribution worldwide. Included too is a look at the multifarious uses of silk from its use by Romans to tie up blood vessels to its role in telescopes, clock pendulums, genetic engineering and fashion. Other chapters make the link between mulberries and monasteries, maintaining that men of the cloth are ‘men of the silk cloth’, examine the role of the Huguenots in bringing silk-weaving skills from France to Britain after the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, look at royal silks, and give a vivid portrayal of the life of silk-workers in the nineteenth century, describing their cottages and the silk mills they worked in, many of which are still in existence today…”

Back to reading… can’t put this one down!

Here is a link to Dr. John Feltwell’s website where you can find out more about “The Story of Silk” and other books he has published.

This entry was published on May 21, 2015 at 6:03 am. It’s filed under Art, Book Review, Creativity Update, Design, History, Journaling, Networking, Product review, Special Project, staying in touch and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Story of Silk

  1. John Feltwell on said:

    Glad you found the book interesting.


  2. Helene Blanchet on said:

    Thanks for this Anna. It looks fascinating.


    • I can honestly day that I have read this book several times and every time I pick it up something new and exciting jumps from its pages. Check out the library – it should be available through inter library loan.


  3. These examinations of crucial elements shaping human history always fascinate me. So add this to those volumes on salt, cod, bees, cotton, salmon, perfume, and more. And thanks!


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