John Becker (1915–1986)

with the collaboration of Donald B. Wagner

Pattern and Loom

A Practical Study of the Development of Weaving Techniques in China, Western Asia, and Europe

John Becker was the youngest of the old guard in Scandinavian hand-weaving, and one of the last to know the traditional techniques from daily production. He was also an artist, had the beginning of an academic education, and was careful to draw on other experts as necessary, so that his book is unique: based on his own very extensive experience as a weaver, on personal examination of numerous artefacts, and on written sources in Scandinavian languages, English, French, German, Spanish, Flemish, Chinese and Japanese. In his practical research he wove replicas of ancient samples, and learned from this a great deal about the ancient techniques. John Becker’s intention with the book was that it would be useful to professional weavers, textile historians, and museum conservators, but historians of technology will also appreciate it. It will undoubtedly also be attractive to amateur weavers, though they may well find that the use of his methods requires more sophisticated equipment than is available to most amateurs.

John Becker died in July 1986 at the age of 71, while the first edition of this book was in press. After the publication of an edition of a few hundred, the clichés from which it was printed were destroyed; reprints have therefore not been possible. When his widow Kirsten Becker died in 2003 I inherited the copyright to the book, and the original publishers have kindly relinquished their rights. In this new edition I have done the typesetting and layout myself, and I hope that readers will find that the sizing and cropping of the illustrations, and their placement in relation to the text, are now more satisfactory than in the original edition. In the text I have corrected a few minor matters, but this is essentially the same text that John Becker and I proofread together in 1986. It was difficult to find a publisher who was willing to risk publishing this book, but finally NIAS Press has taken it on.

Second edition, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2014.

The earlier free download, 2009, is still available.