Free read Ø The Golden Thread 102

Kassia St. Clair ☆ 2 Read & download

Free read Ø The Golden Thread 102 Õ From colorful 30000 year old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity Design journalist Kassia St Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that wLd redefine human civilization from the fabric that allowed mankind to achieve extraordinary things traverse the oceans and shatter athletic records and survive in unlikely places outer space and the South Pole She peoples her story with a motley cast of characters including Xiling the ancient Chinese empress cred. A real disappointment for a dilettante perhaps rather than an enthusiast A chronological approach meant some topics were just not dealt with and others the rise of knitted fabrics for example barely touched on I am not an expert though I am interested in textiles but I felt I knew too much in several sectionsMy confidence in areas where I knew less what is was badly shaken by several really elementary mistakes of fact I noticed which a decent editor should have caught if not the author Richard 's ransome was not raised by his wife Berengaria but his mother who was the Eleanor he wrote to whom St Clair refers to as his wife Early powered textile machinery was water powered and references to steam power in the 1790s show a really sloppy approach to fact checking And so on How can I be confident of any facts that were news to meThe style is accessible though pedestrian but this was a book screaming out for proper illustration not stylised chapter headings I really would not recommend this to anyone genuinely wanting to learn about the subject

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Ited with inventing silk to Richard the Lionhearted and Bing Crosby Offering insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking and countering the enduring often demeaning association of textiles as “merely women’s work” The Golden Thread offers an alternative guide to our past present and futur. To me this is a missed chance Too journalistic for its own good Kassia St Clair endlessly strings colourful facts together without drawing conclusions stressing important information or summarizing essences I foolishly expected something like a concise and stringent somewhat scholarly history of the fabric which would probably not have fitted into one single volume anyway Instead this book presents loosely linked chapters on individual historical subjects which in turn are highlighted by a random selection of archeological findings and events The result to me feels directionless and strangely cramped maybe also stressed by the layout of the hardback edition with its condensed print space due to an extreme portrait format All in all the book is too caleidoscopic and cinematographic to really enlighten the reader

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The Golden ThreadFrom colorful 30000 year old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity Design journalist Kassia St Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that wou. As I write these words I’m wearing sweatpants and an old faded shirt I suspect that most readers are also wearing clothes Oddly humans are the only animals that make and wear clothing Our ancestors evolved in the tropics of Mother Africa where it was so warm that many folks preferred the comfortable and practical bare naked look Evolution spent several million years fine tuning our bodies for life on the savannah and the result was an excellent designAfter humans migrated out of Africa and colonized tropical Asia and Australia some folks decided to wander north It was a cool place to live and the farther north they wandered the cooler it got In snow country tropical primates were like fish out of water Brrrr They wrapped themselves in animal hides lived in protective shelters and huddled around warm campfiresOver time they learned how to cut and sew hides into custom tailored clothing that provided better protection for both humans and body lice Eventually they learned how to spin plant fibers into thread which could be used for stitching seams together In the Republic of Georgia researchers have found spun and dyed fragments of flax fibers that were 34000 years old At some point folks learned how to weave thread into fabric We aren’t sure when Cloth made from natural fibers is perfectly biodegradable leaving few clues for modern archaeologistsKassia St Clair wrote an interesting book about fabric The Golden Thread It’s not a comprehensive history but a collection of snapshots — linen wrapped mummies in Egypt the silk monopoly in China wool production in medieval England slavery and the rise of cotton synthetic fibers and so onMy great great grandmother Sarah Cleaton Rees was a handloom weaver in central Wales and so were many of her female kinfolk and neighbors Flannel was made from wool produced by herds of sheep grazing on the surrounding deforested hillsides Prior to power looms and factories millions of women spent much of their lives spinning weaving and sewing in their homes where they could also tend to their childrenI learned about St Clair’s book by reading a fascinating essay No Wool No Vikings My ancestors also include Vikings from the west coast of Norway where the homesteads were scattered across numerous rocky islands Boats were how they got around Sheltered deep water harbors were not common so boats were designed to ride high in the water so they could stop in shallow places or on beaches Early boats were propelled by paddles or oarsSails were not used until clever folks learned how to add keels to boat bottoms Keels made wind powered sea travel possible Large sea worthy shallow draft boats with sails set the stage for the Viking era — several centuries of rowdy raiding pillaging bloodshed and colonizing that rocked northern EuropeThese new boats totally surprised many communities that had formerly been safe and secure for centuries In AD 98 Tacitus wrote about the Suiones who lived along the Swedish coastline For them the sea provided an invincible defensive barrier It was impossible for enemies to attack them by water For the first time Viking ships made many safe places vulnerable to violent surprise attacksWhile history recorded the names and sagas of some heroic male warriors it disregarded the hard working women who made the Viking era possible The adventurous lads were attired in wool from head to toe slept under wool blankets and traveled long distances in boats with woolen sails This reuired large numbers of sheep and enormous amounts of tedious human labor The wool of 18 sheep was needed for each blanket It took two highly skilled women than a year to make a typical suare sailViking sails were another revolutionary turning point in the human saga They enabled Scandinavians to cross the Atlantic and establish settlements like L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland Canada In Viking times most of humankind spent their entire lives fairly close to their place of birth Imagine gaining the ability to sail to unknown lands than a thousand miles away This was a mind blowing possibility It rubbished the traditional perception of space and limitsLong distance sea travel flung open a ghastly Pandora’s Box Sailing ships enabled aggressive conuerors to colonize vast regions around the world Environmental history is loaded with horror stories of pathogens delivered by long distance sea travel — potato blight anthrax Dutch elm disease chestnut blight white nose fungus bubonic plague smallpox cholera typhoid yellow fever influenza and countless others Millions of unlucky indigenous people were forcibly absorbed into oppressive alien systemsAnyway wool was a life preserver in snow country The notion of “no wool no Vikings” can be expanded to “no wool no Britons Saxons Scots Picts Teutons Gauls Vandals etc” Prior to the nineteenth century clothing was the product of extremely labor intensive processes For hardworking common folks clothing was precious and carefully kept mended and patched Many likely owned little than what they were wearing Like moon explorers wool space suits enabled tropical primates to survive in chilly life threatening environmentsIn the eighteenth century cotton began displacing wool Large cotton plantations emerged in the American south where legions of slaves enjoyed miserable lives Power looms and cotton gins sharply reduced the labor needed to produce fabric Cotton remained the dominant fabric until the 1970s when synthetic fibers rose to dominance — rayon nylon polyester and so onIn recent decades polyester clothing has shifted from cruddy stinky and creepy to comfortable practical and very cheap It’s made from petrochemicals which arouse the snarling displeasure of Big Mama Nature A lot of the apparel sold at stores in your community is made by poor women who work long days in nasty conditions and maybe earn 37 per month The apparel industry is the world’s biggest employer of women of whom only two percent earn a living wageAs the human herd grows folks enter the consumer class and clever marketers wickedly accelerate the pace at which super trendy styles suddenly become horribly uncool So the demand for new clothing accelerates “In 2010 for example it was estimated that 150 billion garments were stitched together enough to provide each person alive with twenty new articles of clothing” according to St Clair “For the first time in human history the vast majority of fabric being made has become disposable something to be consumed and thrown away within weeks or months of being made Synthetic fibers made this possible”Marc Bain reported that the future of clothing is plastic synthetic Wool has become an endangered fiber Cotton production experienced modest growth since 1980 and has now plateaued Polyester zoomed past cotton in 2007 In 1980 its production was 58 million tons rising to 34 million tons in 2007 and is projected to soar to 998 million tons by 2025It’s daunting to contemplate the future of clothing Wool production is limited by the availability of grazing land and the need for much manual labor It seems impossible that the huge human herd can go back to dressing in wool Cotton production reuires cropland fertilizer extra large doses of pesticides and water and lots of energy guzzling machineryThe human herd recently zoomed past 77 billion Should current cropland be used for producing food fiber or urban spawl Oil is a finite nonrenewable resource and the mother of polyester The easy to extract oil is about gone and what remains is increasingly expensive to produce Resource limits guarantee that the plastic clothing era has an expiration date All industrial scale apparel production is ecologically unsustainable On the bright side neither cotton nor polyester biodegrade when buried in landfills So the latest fashions in coming decades might be mined from dumpsWill climate change solve this challenge by transforming snow country into a toasty tropical nudist colony Our ancestors once lived like the San people of the Kalahari in a time proven low impact manner Their way of life was leisurely compared to the workaholics of snow country The San had no need to spend much of their lives spinning and weaving They had no need to construct sturdy warm cottages They had no need to produce and store surplus food for consumption during the icy months They had no need for herding livestock or planting crops or mining minerals or building cities Imagine that