Margot Selby is the master weaver featured in the wonderful BBC series Mastercrafts, which you can watch on YouTube.
Colour and Texture in Weaving: 150 Contemporary Designs by Margot Selby
Now that I know how much effort is involved in learning to weave I appreciate even more the journey taken by the Mastercrafts apprentices. I also know, from my own experience, much swearing, unweaving and how many broken warp threads were involved, that never made it into the final program. The omission of this material allowed the documentary makers to focus on questions of craftsmanship and quality, how to market traditional wares and the personal dramas experienced by the apprentices, all of which make for an interesting and fast-moving program.
I recommend watching the entire Mastercrafts series, which covers thatching, blacksmithing, green woodwork and, of course, weaving.
I do not recommend buying Colour and Texture in Weaving before you’ve taken a good look inside. I suggest you borrow it from the library, and buy it if you feel it meets your needs. My guess is that it won’t meet your needs if you are interested in a ‘how to’ book. I am thankful that I didn’t give out any of my hard-earned income for it because I crave information, and have no shortage of inspiration.
The summary of this book on Amazon says:
Beginner weavers will find helpful guidance for color warping and a plethora of expert weaving inspiration.
That statement is probably about right, again, more because of omission. The book does not give you the actual tie ups and gives no projects. I am not a textile designer, except as a happy by-product of making weaves. If I wanted to replicate one of Margot Selby’s designs from the information provided in this book, I would be hard pressed to do so.
I can hardly improve on the excellent Amazon review provided by ANC, which says it better than I can. I suspect ANC is a much more experienced weaver than I am.
There are a number of things that frustrated me about this book. One is that the warp colour pictures are presented above the pictures of the finished weave and the two images have an identical width. It was only the second time I took a look inside the book that I realised that the scale of the two images was different. This is a page design/layout related issue that is down to the editors of the book, not to Ms Selby, but it’s an excellent example of why the book is a frustrating read. The annoying names she (or her editors) give the designs is another. Three weaves are called Bowie, Rex and Floyd. My goodness.
On a more positive note for this holiday season, I managed to secure a second hand copy of Handloom Weaving Technology by Allen A. Fannin and will be reviewing it soon. I am very impressed with it so far and am delighted to know it will be on my bookshelf to reach for whenever I have a question about why a particular approach is recommended in a book or by one of my teachers.