Tag Archives: threads of life

Threads of Life – Clare Hunter

Threads of Life – Clare Hunter

This book has been in my pile for quite some time. I have read Embroidering Her Truth, I think this one just got buried under the pile of new books. Eventually I listened to it.

Here’s the blurb …

A globe-spanning history of sewing, embroidery, and the people who have used a needle and thread to make their voices heard 

In 1970s Argentina, mothers marched in headscarves embroidered with the names of their “disappeared” children. In Tudor, England, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was under house arrest, her needlework carried her messages to the outside world. From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry, World War I soldiers coping with PTSD, and the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, to the AIDS quilt, Hmong story clothes, and pink pussyhats, women and men have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances. 

Threads of Life is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power, and politics told through the stories of needlework. Clare Hunter, master of the craft, threads her own narrative as she takes us over centuries and across continents—from medieval France to contemporary Mexico and the United States, and from a POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland—to celebrate the age-old, universal, and underexplored beauty and power of sewing. Threads of Life is an evocative and moving book about the need we have to tell our story. 

It is split into 16 chapters (each chapter is the theme by which the needlework is discussed):

  • Unknown
  • Power
  • Fraility
  • Captivity
  • Identity
  • Connection
  • Protect
  • Journey
  • Protest
  • Loss
  • Community
  • Place
  • Value
  • Art
  • Voice

For example, embroidered banners are discussed in the Protest chapter (mining unions, the women’s suffragette movement)

If you are at all interested in social history and/or textiles, then you will find this book fascinating and inspiring. The research is impressive, but not overwhelming. And there are some personal anecdotes as well, which I always enjoy.

A review

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4, History, Miscellaneous, Non-Fiction, Recommended