Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Book Review: Hidden Tapestry

"All but a few artists struggle to pay their bills. This is the compact the artist makes with the universe: to create with no guarantee of remuneration, and yet to live always in expectation and hope. It requires nerve, faith, perseverance and above all the ability to survive disappointment." Debra Dean, Hidden Tapestry; Jan Yoors - his two wives and the war that made them one

A couple of months ago the author, Debra Dean, contacted me to see if I would be willing to read her new book on Jan Yoors.  I was happy to do so because I'm always looking for good books and one that deals with tapestry?  Yes, please!

It is not exactly what I expected but it turned out to be so much more.

Ms Dean has thoroughly researched the lives of Jan, Annabert and Marianne.  Any telling of their story would be incomplete without how World War II shaped their respective lives.  This book is a fascinating examination of how war impacts young people (all were children or, in Jan's case, a teenager when the war began) and how they managed to shape their lives as they became adults.

It is also an intimate look at an alternate lifestyle, one that includes being an artist in the post war era.  Of course my main interest is in the tapestry style that they utilized but also glimpses into the art world first in England, then the United States.

There is also information on Jan's relationship with another emigre family in New York - the Paternaya brothers and how they worked to provide Jan with custom colours for his tapestries.  The Paternayan line of yarns is still being used today.

Debra Dean has clearly observed the lives of a trio of artists and shows great understanding - and compassion - in her depiction of these people.

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