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Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

I think this children’s book, reviewed at Brain Pickings, is one I need to buy.

Maria Popova writes, “This Moose Belongs to Me (public library) — a disarming story about a boy who believes he owns his pet moose Marcel, only to discover that so do other people, who call him by different names, while the moose himself doesn’t quite get the concept of being owned and is thus oblivious to the boy’s list of rules for being a good pet. …

“For the backgrounds of his illustrated vignettes, Jeffers reapporpriates classical landscape paintings by a mid-century Slovakian painter named Alexander Dzigurski, rendering the project a sort of posthumous collaboration and a creative mashup.”

Read the intriguingly philosophical Brain Pickings review here.

And here is a children’s book reviewed by Asakiyume that embraces insights about both the environment and other cultures.

She writes, “Discarded plastic bags are more than just an ugly nuisance in the West African nation of the Gambia. There, plastic shopping bags kill livestock that eat them and provide a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

“A woman named Isatou Ceesay found an ingenious solution. She learned how to make plarn [yarn made from plastic bags], and, with her friends, started crocheting small change purses from the discarded plastic bags, which she and her friends sold. The trash problem — and attendant health risks — disappeared, and Isatou and her friends had a new source of income. The project was so successful that Isatou started teaching women in other villages, and in 2012 she won the International Alliance for Women’s World of Difference award.

Miranda Paul, a writer who has lived and taught in the Gambia, wrote about Isatou in One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (illustrated by the fabulous Elizabeth Zunon).” Lots of reasons for buying that book here, at Asakiyume’s blog.

Art: Oliver Jeffers

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Photo: The Slater Mill, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, bears the name of Samuel Slater, the father of the American Industrial Revolution.

Suzanne is interested in textiles as well as jewelry. (Check out the little purses she had made for Luna & Stella using weavers in Bhutan, here.) So I wasn’t surprised when she passed along an article from the NY Times on the U.S. textile industry today.

It seems that in addition to artists who create textiles for artistic purposes (see yesterday’s post), niche textile businesses still exist in the United States.

Rivka Galchen writes, “In 1776, America didn’t have a single textile mill. There were no spinning mules, no water-powered looms. There were only rumors of what such things might look like … Nearly every American woman, except the wealthiest, knew how to spin her own yarn and weave her own cloth …

“Samuel Slater was 14 when he began working at a cotton-spinning mill in Derbyshire, England. Seven years later, in 1789, he disguised himself as a farmer to pass English customs and board a ship to the United States. When he arrived in America, he got a mechanized loom up and running, then a textile factory and later factory towns, eventually becoming known as both Slater the Traitor and the father of the American Industrial Revolution.”

In 2010, Galchen continues, photographer Christopher Payne “came across a yarn mill in Maine and was transfixed by the way it seemed to exist both in the past and the present; it became the first textile mill he photographed.” He has since photographed more than 20.

“Langhorne Carpet Company, in Penndel, Pa., used to share its building with a hosier, but that business closed long ago. … On the day I visited, a young man in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans was making a five-color runner on one of the narrow looms, while an older man in a denim smock was restringing a broad one; 5,040 spools of yarn needed to be knotted on.

“ ‘We’ve stayed in business because we’ll take a 20-yard order, that’s our niche,’ said Langhorne’s president, Bill Morrow, whose grandfather and great-grandfather founded the company in 1930. … Langhorne has made reproductions of historic carpets for the Frederick Douglass house in Washington; the Congress Hall of Philadelphia; and the Rutherford B. Hayes home in Fremont, Ohio. …

“Langhorne employs about 40 people, whom it trains in-house. When a machine needs a new part, it is specially forged. ‘We’ve bought a lot of [our] machinery from other companies that have closed down,’ Morrow said.” More here.

Kind of nice to know that not all manufacturing has gone overseas. American ingenuity still can create jobs doing specialty work, training people in-house.

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