Patch Work: A LIfe Amongst Clothes (Paperback)
  • Patch Work: A LIfe Amongst Clothes (Paperback)
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Patch Work: A LIfe Amongst Clothes (Paperback)

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£10.99
Paperback 288 Pages
Published: 27/05/2021
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Waterstones Says

Cloth, clothes and curating are transformed into fascinating vignettes of life in this beautifully composed memoir of the V&A’s custodian of fashion, Claire Wilcox.

Claire Wilcox has been a curator of fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum for most of her working life. In Patch Work, she turns her curator's eye to the fabric of life itself, tugging at the threads of memory: a cardigan worn by a child, a tin button box, the draping of a curtain, a pair of cycling shorts, a roll of lace, a pin hidden in a seam.

Through these intimate and compelling close-ups, 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.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781526614414
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 238 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Into this tapestry of memories Wilcox weaves a melancholy thread ... The clothes are Proust’s madeleines, cocooned in hatboxes and airing cupboards ... Gripping - Mail on Sunday

In this remarkable self-portrait, fashion curator Claire Wilcox has set out mementoes of her life like objects in an exhibition, like treasures in a cabinet of curiosities ... The result is magical ... Her spellbinding memoir is like a cherished book of poetry - Wall Street Journal

Wilcox writes about clothing with an intoxicating specificity ... she uses her encounters with objects to explore themes of love and loss, birth and bereavement, family and tribe ... As skilful and oblique in its structure as the precious gowns she describes, is stitched together with loving care from narrative scraps and images, ultimately revealing how materiality and memory operate on one another again - Rebecca Mead, New Yorker, Books of the Year

An uncommon delight - Rachel Cooke, Observer

Effervescent, poetic, puzzle-like ... Wilcox picks at the heartstrings - Financial Times

Filled with dreamlike memories, this autobiography is both surprising and delightful ... A strange and mesmerising piece of work, one that tears apart the usual fabric of an autobiography - Sunday Times

In her beautifully written memoir Wilcox takes readers behind the scenes of life at the museum – while recounting the many ways that clothes have shaped her personal development in a series of lyrical vignettes - Vogue, 12 Of The Best Autumn Reads To Curl Up With Now

An extraordinary mixture of museum work interleaved with memoir … beautifully written, her book is a love story, with clothes as much as people as its heroes - Spectator

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

An exquisite book that works like a well-curated and eccentric exhibition. The chronology of time and the logic of life's sequences become irrelevant as you are led from one brightly-lit cabinet of memories and thoughts to another, while also learning about cloth, clothes and curating - JULIA BLACKBURN, author of Time Song

I loved its close detail, its sense of the warp and weft of life, of clothes and favoured objects. Everything seen is seen intensely. It’s a book to linger over and return to - LYNN KNIGHT, author of The Button Box

Intelligent and tactile - part memoir, part beautifully curated collection of treasures. I loved it - JOHN CRACE, author of Decline and Fail

A series of exquisite meditations - Harper's Bazaar

Patch Work will never leave me. Wilcox’s memoir of life as fashion curator at the V&A is as delicate and finely wrought as seventeenth-century lace - MEG ROSOFF

In elegant, evocative prose, Victoria & Albert Museum fashion curator Claire tells her life story, from formative family life to love and loss, through the prism of a life-long obsession with clothes and the beautiful garments that inspired her intriguing career - Sunday Express

Among the books that most surprised and most moved me this year was Patch Work ... The book, which is as skillful and oblique in its structure as the precious gowns she describes, is stitched together with loving care from narrative scraps and images, ultimately revealing how materiality and memory operate on one another - New Yorker, Best Books We Read in 2021

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“A Life in Patches”

This book illustrates exactly how creative nonfiction can be as effective as a traditional biography, if not more so, in the act of reflecting on one’s own life. In this innovative memoir, Claire Wilcox tells the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 34
Lucy-Bookworm

“Disappointing ...”

The “blurb” about this book grabbed my attention – I enjoy memoirs, personal histories, “hidden stories” & the like so I was intrigued by the promise of stories told through a box of buttons, a forgotten pin in a... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 33

“Unique & beautiful, patched work joy”

The book is called Patch Work which is clearly a reference to the author’s work in the Fashion Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum. However, what is a delight in this book is that it has been written like a... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 33

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