A new history of ingenuity from the author of The Secret Lives of Colour.
A Radio 4 Book of the Week
All textiles begin with a twist. From colourful 30,000-year old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to what the linen wrappings of Tutankhamun's mummy actually meant; from the Silk Roads to the woollen sails that helped the Vikings reach America 700 years before Columbus; from the lace ruffs that infuriated the puritans to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution, our continuing reinvention of cloth tells fascinating stories of human ingenuity.
When we talk of lives hanging by a thread, being interwoven, or part of the social fabric, we are part of a tradition that stretches back many thousands of years. Fabric has allowed us to achieve extraordinary things and survive in unlikely places, and this book shows you how -- and why.
With a cast that includes Chinese empresses, Richard the Lionheart and Bing Crosby, Kassia St Clair takes us on the run with escaped slaves, climbing the slopes of Everest and moonwalking with astronauts. Running like a bright line through history, The Golden Thread offers an unforgettable adventure through our past, present and future.
About the Author
Kassia St Clair studied the history of women's dress and the masquerade during the eighteenth-century at Bristol and Oxford. She has since written about design and culture for the Economist, House & Garden, Quartz and 1843, and has had a column about colour in Elle Decoration since 2013. She lives in London.
A history of fabric might not sound immediately exciting, but St Clair's book is a refreshing treat, every page bursting with surprising insights. Clothing, she argues, is central to history, from myths and legends to trade and technology. The threads woven by the Greek Fates, the bandages that wrapped Egyptian mummies, the wool that made medieval England rich, the lace in Vermeer's paintings : it all makes for a smart and entertaining historical tapestry - SUNDAY TIMES, History Book of the YearThe history of the world through the eye of a needle... Fascinating... I recommend this book to anyone
- THE SPECTATOR
A joyful commingling of text and textiles - Nature
Will make you rethink your relationship with fabric - Elle DecorationA charming, absorbing and quietly feminist history that takes us on a journey from the silk roads to sportswear, from ruffs to spacesuits... I devoured this book
- SUNDAY TIMESA joyful commingling of text and textiles in 13 beautifully wrought stories.
We visit a cave where dyed fibres more than 30,000 years old have been discovered; goggle at the starched intricacy of sixteenth-century lace ruffs; flinch over astronauts' nappies and the sodden sleeping bags of early polar expeditions; and savour the idea of materials spun from spiders' webs. - NATURE
The Golden Thread is worth a read for informing your political thinking, and it will entertain you far more than most 'political' books. - Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine
Such a captivating read its likely you'll want to devour this engrossing patchwork of textile history in one sitting - Embroidery