Cover Image: This Long Thread

This Long Thread

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Member Reviews

Absolutely loved the vignettes in this book and the range of people interviewed. This had me hooked from the beginning and Hewett deftly weaves in her own experiences in the industry. The data points really painted a picture and helped uplift the emotional stories. Absolutely delightful!

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This book should be a just read for everyone. Women of color have long been involved in textile art and other crafts, but their contributions have not been acknowledged. I love the way this book is formatted, using interviews and other first person essays. There is a delicate balance of intersectionality between race, feminism, politics, and arts. Would absolutely recommend!

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This Long Thread is a well annotated look at the ethnography of crafting and its intersection with women of color and creative community, written and collated by Jen Hewett. Released 16th Nov 2021 by Roost Books, it's 376 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats.

The book is formed around a survey questionnaire sent out to crafters, artists, and makers. The author writes coherently and very well about creativity and community and how being women of color affects the creative process and art. The content is presented organically - interviews, surveys, stories, and highlights throughout.

The author has also included a comprehensive list of links to contributors and collaborators in the back of the book. I've enjoyed the book twice, first by reading and savoring the actual book, and a second time by visiting the online studios of many of the artists featured in the book.

Especially considering our near-universal isolation during the pandemic, this was a much needed interlude and felt like a warm and sociable moment with friends.

Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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I'm deeply grateful to Jen Hewett and the work she's done assembling This Long Thread. Needle arts is an area that's inadequately explored by those studying and writing about women's lives—and what little that's out there is dominated by white norms and expectations. Too often, the story we have of needle arts is the story of white women engaging in needle arts. This Long Thread takes a thorough approach to looking at needle arts as learned and created by women of color and mixed-heritage women.

Hewett uses an extensive survey of women of color doing needle arts, both professionally and for their own pleasure, as the spine of her book, focusing chapters on topics like how needle arts have been passed down in families, the gradual shift from doing needle arts out of necessity to doing them by choice, and the ways needle arts spaces can be welcoming or exclusionary for women of color. She pairs these chapters with interviews with women of color who are needle artists, allowing for rich, individual perspectives, as well as an overview of the community.

For anyone serious about needle arts—either engaging in them or studying and documenting the work of others—This Long Thread is an essential text. It's an opening to a conversation that allows a more inclusive, and more *true* picture of needle arts and the roles they play in the lives of many women.

I received a free electronic review copy of this text from the publisher; the opinions are my own.

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What a timely title. Timely meaning that this book has a good chance to make it into the hands of those that may have passed it by a few years ago.
From the start I was captured by the data, history, and by the various BIPOC fiber artists themselves. The book sheds light on the underrepresentation, under valued, acknowledgement, respect, etc. of people of color in the fiber arts community. It is long overdue and in reading there is hope and empowerment. This book allows their voices, stories, and art to be seen and heard, It is a stepping stone in growth for the reader and brings to the forefront the beautiful, incredibly talented, culturally rich, and diverse artists.

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This is such an important and valuable series of testimonies and interviews, and Jen Hewett was the person who was meant to record and seek them out. The story of sewing and textiles in America is one that has buried the importance of many of the craftspeople who fused life into them.
By taking the time to record the histories of makers who identify as female or non-binary and people of color, both we as readers and future generations will be able to find inspiration and properly give provenance to artwork being created by many powerful yet often under-represented makers.
Hewett is joining the ranks of invaluable quilt historians such as Cuesta Benberry and Gladys Marie Fry. I am grateful to see this book published and reaching a wider audience that I think is open and wanting more information on under-represented textile artists' stories.

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This book stands alone as a beautiful collection of essays and interviews with BIPOC crafters. Anyone who loves fiber and textile work will enjoy learning about these wonderful artists and craftspeople, their techniques and back stories. Seeing the crafting community through the experiences of those who do not fit the traditional “mold” we have for fiber artists was enlightening, infuriating and inspiring*.

In addition to the beautiful narrative, the data is amazing. This was a great survey that collected data both qualitative and quantitative. While anecdotes of lived experiences should be all we need to identify ways in which the crafting community could better serve everyone, having some solid data was edifying.

Overall a fantastic read for anyone who loves the world of fiber arts/crafts while also aiming for a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive crafting world.

*As in, this will make you want to pick up your own creative work, not as in “white savior loves BIPOC doing bootstraps” inspiration.

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