The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art, by Katherine Duncan Aimone is a lovely, lavishly illustrated book to inspire fiber and fabric artists. It’s like attending a stylish, wearable art fashion show in the comfort of your own home. In 171 pages — on high-quality paper — you’ll see an array of wonderful wearables by fiber artists based in the United States.
Published in 2002, this book is a little dated with clear references to materials, styles, and techniques of past decades. However, it’s an important work for students of fabric art and aspiring clothing designers.
- Rich, varied designs by a wide range of artists.
- Magnificent photos that convey the essence of each piece.
- Unparalleled insights in entertaining interviews and biographies of the artists.
- What was innovative in 2002 hasn’t always held up well in terms of exciting designs.
- Many of the pieces involve heavy use of earth tones, especially browns. While this keeps the book cohesive, like a fashion show would, it can seem to lack sufficient variety.
- In some cases — such as several of Tim Harding‘s pieces — form has trumped function to the point of being lovely art, but impractical to wear. In other cases, designs seem almost mundane, sacrificing aesthetics for practicality. I’d like to see more works with flair that would work at a gallery opening, but I’d also want to wear in my daily life.
To understand where fiber art and art-to-wear is now, it’s key to know where it’s been. And, to take wearables to the next level, we need to revisit materials and techniques that can be pushed to greater limits, today.
In 2002, I probably would have given this book 4 1/2 stars. Today, I think it’s a fine retrospective, but perhaps most useful as a starting point to search the Internet for these same artists’ current works.