Patch Work: WINNER OF THE 2021 PEN ACKERLEY PRIZE (Paperback)

Patch Work: WINNER OF THE 2021 PEN ACKERLEY PRIZE By Claire Wilcox Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days



“As skillful and oblique in its structure as the precious gowns she describes.” -Rebecca Mead, New Yorker, “Best Books of the Year”

An expert and intimate exploration of a life in clothes: their memories and stories, enchantments and spells.

A linen sheet, smooth with age. A box of buttons, mother-of-pearl and plastic, metal and glass, rattling and untethered. A hundred-year-old pin, forgotten in a hem. Fragile silks and fugitive dyes, fans and crinolines, and the faint mark on leather from a buckle now lost.

Claire Wilcox has worked as a curator in Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum for most of her working life. Down cool, dark corridors and in quiet store rooms, she and her colleagues care for, catalogue and conserve clothes centuries old, the inscrutable remnants of lives long lost to history; the commonplace or remarkable things that survive the bodies they once encircled or adorned.

In Patch Work, Wilcox deftly stitches together her dedicated study of fashion with the story of her own life lived in and through clothes. From her mother's black wedding suit to the swirling patterns of her own silk kimono, her memoir unfolds in luminous prose the spellbinding power of the things we wear: their stories, their secrets, their power to transform and disguise and acts as portals to our pasts; the ways in which they measure out our lives, our gains and losses, and the ways we use them to write our stories.

About the Author

Claire Wilcox has been Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A since 2004, where she has curated exhibitions including Radical Fashion, The Art and Craft of Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–1957, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, and, as co-curator, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, and instigated Fashion in Motion (live catwalk events in the museum) in 1999. She is Professor in Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion and is on the editorial board of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. She lives in South London.

Praise For…

“In this remarkable self-portrait, fashion curator Claire Wilcox has set out mementoes of her life like objects in an exhibition. Short chapters, some only half a page, are displayed like treasures in a cabinet of curiosities . . . The result is magical . . . Her spellbinding memoir is like a cherished book of poetry, one to be dipped into over and again.” —Wall Street Journal

“This memoir unfolds as a series of vignettes, each one as precisely constructed as an exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum . . . Wilcox evokes the sensual and spiritual meaning in the fabrics we weave, wear, and leave behind.” —The New Yorker

“A series of exquisite meditations.” —Harper's Bazaar

“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.” —The Sunday Times

“A finely crafted memoir of luminous vignettes.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“A fascinating memoir . . . a textual mood board that flits dreamily from intimate childhood memories and poignant remembrances of her father . . . This intricate work enchants.” —Publishers Weekly

“A longtime curator of fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Wilcox (The Golden Age of Couture) offers tantalizing, richly sensuous glimpses into her life inside and outside the museum.” —Booklist

“Fascinating, strange, and enthralling.” —Maggie O'Farrell, author of HAMNET

Patch Work is a unique memoir told in rich, tantalizing fragments that made me look at what we all wear with new interest and respect.” —Tracy Chevalier, author of GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING and A SINGLE THREAD

“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.” —Laura Cumming, author of FIVE DAYS GONE

“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 WITH BILLIE

“Intelligent and tactile--part memoir, part beautifully curated collection of treasures. I loved it.” —Jim Crace, author of HARVEST

“I loved its close detail, its sense of the warp and weft of life, of clothes and favored objects. Everything seen is seen intensely. It's a book to linger over and return to.” —Lynn Knight, author of The Button Box: The Story of Women in the 20th Century Told Through the Clothes They Wore

“Among the books that most surprised and most moved me this year . . . As skillful and oblique in its structure as the precious gowns she [Wilcox] describes.” —Rebecca Mead, New Yorker, “Best Books of the Year”

Product Details
ISBN: 9781526614414
ISBN-10: 1526614413
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: February 8th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


Indie Bestsellers

This feature require that you enable JavaScript in your browser.

Indie Next List

This feature require that you enable JavaScript in your browser.
Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.