The typical day of a book shop owner has some unexpected elements, not least, the importance of hoovering. This doesn’t just apply to floors, sometimes it’s good to take all the books off the shelves, to dust, reprice, rethink and admire before putting all back up again, having hoovered the lot. This month it is the turn of the Sewing and Crafts Section.
This is one of my favourite parts of the shop. I aspire to be knowledgeable at all these things, whilst managing to be barely competent at two or three. We begin with the History of Costume, we have everything covered here, from Julius Caesar’s tunics to the history of the garb of the Flight Attendant. We canter on to Fashion (new books here to enjoy by Oliver Messel and Cecil Beaton) and then slow to meander our way through Needlework, Embroidery, Lace -Making, Knitting and Crotchet, Quilting, Tapestry and Rugs. Once here, it’s a hair-pin bend to Craft; we have Flower Art (invigorated recently by a lady’s collection of very, very, well referenced Constance Spry), Pottery (sadly looking a bit thin, always popular) and on the final straight we are approaching miscellaneous Craft embracing such niche arts as Puppetry, Ships in Bottles, Pewter work, Thatching and Furniture Restoration before landing solidly in a hefty and well stocked Woodworking Section (History and Uses of Plywood or the Modern Practical Stairbuilding and Handrailing, to name just two). Oh, and just on the end is a little bit about cleaning. Now that’s an art I have mastered.