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Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2019

This book focuses on a greater scope of the involvement of women in the production of textiles and the author presents it in a way of a historical literature. There have been other literary accounts of women and textile but most of the books concentrate on the home-based factory.

This book has broadened the research by focusing on a larger scope of the women in the textile industry. The entry of women in other aspects of life such as social, political, economic, ethnic, and cultural aspects began with their involvement in the textile industry. The book depicts the fact throughout its entire text.

Apparently, the needle and textile industry has not been accorded due attention by most scholars, but this book has given great insight on this subject. This book has given the needle and textile industry a historic recognition alluding to their impacts and influence to the present innovations.

The book has shown how different gender and ethnic identities formed with the involvement of women in this industry. This is when the feminine culture arose and the introduction of economic empowerment of the women began.

The book is actually a collection of essays by different authors. The discussion revolves around a certain dress that was made with concealed trousers and the dress is commonly referred to as the “Willard dress.”

The Willard Dress, though we cannot find any existing examples, symbolizes the ways that the individual embroidery could take on not only realistic but political scopes, in the customs that women endeavored to poise their personal political schedules, like suffrage, with manifestations in order to uphold a firm modesty in an antagonistic political atmosphere.

These political ideas are drawn more openly in Part III, “Politics, and Design in Yarn and Thread.”

The editors describe politics reasonably at this point, to their recognition, acknowledging the politics of the women culture at the back, knitting for militia during a period of war. Most of the essays outline the customs that material manufacture shifted from a woman’s requirement to the formation of textile items surrounding an enormous compilation of meanings.

For instance, one of the essays examines the launch of the home embroidery appliance into the countryside during the post-World War II Canada, permitting women to not only scrimp and save their own home’s possessions, but also to maintain the most modern fashions for themselves and their families.

Women took incredible satisfaction in their designs, acknowledging the way that they customized the designs to make individualized patterns that represented their own identity. In the essays, some authors argue that quilting liberated the industry by offering cheap fabric that was affordable to all the women across all the social classes available at that time.

The book shows how women used stitching to save and preserve cultural and family records that would serve records of family history. The quilts are the perfect texts that can be used to trace and explain the culture of women.

During this era as the book alludes, there were many cultural practices that shaped the behavior and conduct of women even in the present day generation. The book shows clearly the intersection of race and ethnicity and textiles. Quilting introduced the Western missionaries who also turned to be the oppressors of their subjects.

Concisely the book shows how the women cultural practices introduced the political outfits in the African world. Similarly, restorations in the art of the Mandala, “the conventional Puerto Rican art of handmade bobbin lace,” symbolize reinforcement in Puerto Rican ethnic uniqueness that has helped encourage the traveler’s trade.

Amusingly, Mandela also continues to back Puerto Rico’s long account of relocation and the conflict and associations linking original, African, and European traditions. In addition, the formation of mundillo for American expenditure shows the island’s place in a superior history of work and abuse in the twentieth century, as the formation of market merchandise commence to shift to cheaper, and less easily synchronized, locales.

Although this appraisal cannot assert to be comprehensive, the effort under contemplation is an outstanding input to the increasing field of material culture studies.

The contributor signifies an extensive collection of discipline—the editor’s verdict to embrace quite a few museum curators in the position of these writers, for instance, gives the work a unique viewpoint. The striking illustrations also present an extra length of each author’s argument.

While there are definite stories that motionlessly remain a plain debate about the function of women in sweatshop manual labor in the behind schedule twentieth century comes to mentality ,the essays in this quantity would nevertheless hand-round not merely as an outstanding accompaniment to upper-level learner or graduate route in history, myths, women’s studies, or museum studies.

From an erudite standpoint, they present motivation into the infinite empire of the connotation of women’s work, in addition to the transfer in women’s job over time.

This book represents the ideal women’s culture and the influence of the material industry especially in the textile industry on women’s culture. The term material culture was first used in the 19th century and early 20th century to refer to the relationship between artifacts and social relations.

Materials have greatly influenced the African culture in a number of dimensions. The African culture takes many forms and the material used in different cultures shapes all these forms.

The book has clearly outlined the impact and the social balances and imbalances based on gender orientations. Gender disparities have been based on materials and cultural beliefs that have borrowed significant practices from the same.

The book is a good collection of essays written by many people who have specialized in the study of artifacts. This book therefore is a legitimate source of information in regards to African culture. The arguments and debates presented are well organized and quite convincing. The book is insightful and detailed touching on all aspects of African culture.

Textiles are part of the African culture and cannot be detached from them. It has been a culture within the African people for a number of centuries and in West Africa, this culture is still embraced. Textile has many myths and spiritual meanings and some symbolize some good and bad omens. As suggested in the book, women’s culture was created around the textile and needle industry.

The current modern woman started her formation from the error of needles and textile. The textile industry gave the women financial empowerment and hence giving them a highway to greatness and liberty. With the empowered women, the possibility of having a democratic society was realized and that is why it is correct to say that women are the backbone of modern civilization.

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"Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles." IvyPanda, 17 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/women-and-the-material-culture-of-needlework-and-textiles/.

1. IvyPanda. "Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/women-and-the-material-culture-of-needlework-and-textiles/.


IvyPanda. "Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/women-and-the-material-culture-of-needlework-and-textiles/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/women-and-the-material-culture-of-needlework-and-textiles/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles'. 17 April.

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