Textiles That Talk

A lot of textile books come my way: scholarly tomes, museum extravaganzas, technique how-tos, and much more. But I don’t think I’ve ever laid hands on a book quite like Maid, Mother, Crone and the Rabbit Net.


First, there’s the time span. It starts in 525 CE, jumps to 1875, then to 1953 and present times. Then there’s the cast of characters: Girl, a child of the Basketmaker (aka Anasazi) era; Gah, a middle-aged Navajo woman of the 19th century who was raised by Mormons; and Bunny, a modern-day textile science and history professor at the University of Arizona. But wait! The real star of this meandering tale is an Apocynum plant—a smart-mouthed, observant, enduring bast-fiber plant used to make nets—in this case, a rabbit-catching net of heroic proportions. Two-hundred thirty-four feet long! Real, not fictional.


There’s so much here: desert botany, migration theory, archaeology, anthropology, thigh-spinning, netting techniques. There’s how a dig is organized. There’s speculation on the purpose of including handspun human hair in a rabbit net. There’s even a recipe for mesquite cookies! Every short chapter tempts one to head off in a new direction of inquiry.

This little page-turner is the creative work of Judith Lopez Billings, PhD, a retired textile professor and the “crone” of the title.



You can have your own copy of this 130-page, 7”x8 ½”, paperbound book by sending a check for $20.00 made out to Judith Billings at 1533 East Spring, Tucson, AZ 85719. It would make a great holiday gift for yourself or a fibery friend.



More great gifts for your fibery friends from Thrums Books.

Dead Dance

Secrets of Spinning

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