Strange Material

Strange Material coverStrange Material: Storytelling through Textiles

The art of storytelling through textiles, exploring the many ways in which narrative can be expressed through cloth and needle.

Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles explores the relationship between handmade textiles and storytelling. Through text, the act of weaving a tale or dropping a thread takes on new meaning for those who previously have seen textiles―quilts, blankets, articles of clothing, and more―only as functional objects. This book showcases crafters who take storytelling off the page and into the mediums of batik, stitching, dyeing, fabric painting, knitting, crochet, and weaving, creating objects that bear their messages proudly, from personal memoir and cultural fables to pictorial histories and wearable fictions.

Full-colour throughout, the book includes chapters on various aspects of textile storytelling, from “Textiles of Protest, Politics, and Power” to “The Fabric of Remembrance”; it spotlights well-known projects, such as the profoundly moving Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, as well as unique undertakings such as Climbing PoeTree’s S.T.I.T.C.H.E.D, Mark Newport’s Knitted Superheroes, Tracy Widdess’s Knitted Monsters, as well as poetry blankets and stitched travel diaries. Offbeat, poetic, and subversive, Strange Material will inspire readers to re-imagine the possibilities of creating through needle and fabric.

Price: $24.95 CAD $24.95 USD
ISBN: 9781551525501
EPUB ISBN: 9781551525518 (check your favourite retailer) – available in Nook, Kobo, and Kindle formats.
For more information contact [email protected] or ask your local bookstore to order it for you.

Order Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles online at: IndieBound, Powells Books,,, Barnes and Nobel, or Chapters/Indigo.

Praise for Strange Material:

Prain reminds us that the stories which fill our lives are not only spoken and written, but they are also made by hand and thread. These material stories are no less meaningful but they can suffer from under-acknowledgement. Perhaps they are so imbedded in daily life that they are easy to overlook? Whatever the reason, this book reminds us of the sheer variety of stories – new and old – told through textiles. ―Jessica Hemmings, editor of In the Loop: Knitting Now

We all know that stories matter, and how their meanings intertwine with the material. But Leanne Prain’s cunning and useful book has much more to say: We hear directly from a fascinating array of highly original creators whose handmade work expresses narratives, ideas, politics, humor, imagination, and memory. Even better, Prain prompts — or invites — the rest of us to participate, with intellectual nudges and practical projects designed to convert reader to storyteller. Edifying … and inspirational. ―Rob Walker, co-founder of and

Whether the artists are being irreverent, capturing memories, speaking truths, creating political tools or building community, Strange Material makes a strong case that some stories are best told through craft. — Steffanie Pinch,


Strange Material is named one of 19 textile books to get and give in 2014 by the Surface Design Association – link

The Rise of Craftivism: Weaving Together the Political and the Deeply Personal by Nathalie Atkinson, The Globe and Mail (Canada) October 15, 2014- link

Textile artists reclaim narrative through ‘Strange Material’. Some stories are best told through craft by Steffanie Pinch, (Canada) February 26, 2015 – link