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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Patch Work by Claire Wilcox, read by Antonia Beamish. 

Claire Wilcox has been a curator of fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum for most of her working life. In Patch Work, she steps into the archive of memory, deftly stitching together her dedicated study of fashion with the story of her own life lived in and through clothes. From her mother's black wedding suit to the swirling patterns of her own silk kimono, her memoir unfolds in spare, luminous prose the spellbinding power of the things we wear. 

In a series of intimate and compelling close-ups, Wilcox tugs on the threads that make up the fabric of our lives: a cardigan worn by a child, a mother’s button box, the draping of a curtain, a pair of cycling shorts, a roll of lace, a pin hidden in a seam. Through the eye of a curator, we see how the stories and the secrets of clothes measure out the passage of time, our gains and losses, and the way we use them to unravel and write our histories.

©2020 Claire Wilcox (P)2021 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"I am overwhelmed by this book. It is an absolute masterpiece. A book of such beauty and profundity, of such poetry in its emotion and observation [...] The way it puts words to objects and events is so original. I have been moved to such tears by the lives told here, but also by the infinite care with which she has considered them over and over again, stitched them together, pieced out of memories and love." (Laura Cumming, author of On Chapel Sands)

"Patch Work is a unique memoir told in rich, tantalising fragments that made me look at what we all wear with new interest and respect." (Tracy Chevalier)

"I couldn't put it down [...] What a wonderfully woven tangle of stories, from dreamlike rememberings of her past to the intimate glimpses of a world behind the polished facade of the museum, bound together by her devotion to clothes. Claire looks at clothes with an obsessive's eye, analysing every stitch and imagining the history of every crease, stretch and wrinkle [...] Pure delight." (Lara Maiklem, author of Mudlarking)

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  • S S.
  • 17-04-21

Not as expected

I’m interested in textiles, history and life stories. This story was disjointed, although mentioned textiles, the thoughts never seemed complete. I’d find a better listen/read with your credits and time.