Women’s Work

~A book I have been anxiously awaiting greeted me in the mail today; Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Spinning teacher Margaret recommended this book, mentioning that the author would be speaking at the Vista Weaver’s Guild on Veteran’s Day. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend. Luckily, this was one of the books at Amazon.com which allowed you to read part of the book before purchasing. After reading the snippet, I immediately ordered the book

This is the description from the back of the book:

“Twenty thousand years ago, women were making and wearing the first clothing created from spun fibers. In fact, right up to the Industrial Revolution the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women.

Despite the great toil required in making cloth and clothing, most books on ancient history and economics have no information on them. The extreme perishability of what women produced is largely responsible for this omission — a gap that leaves out virtually half the picture of prehistoric and early historic cultures. But today new discoveries about the textile arts are revealing women’s vital role in pre-industrial societies.

Elizabeth Wayland Barber has drawn from data gathered by the most sophisticated new archaeological methods–methods she herself helped to fashion–to show that women were a powerful economic force in the ancient and early modern worlds, with their own industry: fabric”

Read the first snippet online, I bet you’ll be drawn in. According to Margaret, the author mentions that whenever it becomes apparent that fiber arts becomes economic, men take it over. Hum…. Probably why it’s Rumpelstilskin spinning gold – when spinning became economical, men did the spinning. And, why Jason had the “Golden Fleece”.

Coffee’s ready and book’s in hand, time to read. Ta.

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