Block Printed Textiles of India: Imprints of Culture, authored by Eiluned Edwards and published by Niyogi Books, Delhi, has been selected to receive the RL Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award for 2016. The award will be formally presented at the award banquet, which will be held at the next TSA Biennial Symposium, 19-23 October 2018 in Vancouver, Canada. At that time, a certificate will be presented to the RL Shep Award winners for 2016 and 2017.
This award is aimed at encouraging the study and understanding of textile traditions by recognizing and rewarding exceptional scholarship that clearly communicates its subject, fostering appreciation for the field of textiles. Although not a first from the Asian continent, Block Printed Textiles of India: Imprints of Culture is the first ever book from India which has won this award. It describes how one of the subcontinent’s foremost crafts has played a key role in the creation of visual identity in India and has also been a significant source of revenue through centuries of international trade.
The book reveals how block prints are integral to both caste dress and modern urban style. It also explains contemporary production and use of block prints as well as the social and historical roots of the craft. It reflects the author’s extensive field research over the past twenty-four years—working with block printers, block makers, dye producers, entrepreneurs, designers, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, in museums and private collections all over India. The book is lavishly illustrated and presents a vibrant account of the development and recent regeneration of the craft, confirming that block prints are stamped with the imprints of an ancient, diverse and ever-evolving culture.
In the year 2000, the Textile Society of America established the RL Shep Ethnic Textiles Book Award, through a generous donation from RL Shep. This prestigious award, presented yearly, recognizes a book on ethnographic textiles for its outstanding scholarship and communication about textiles. The shortlisted books are reviewed by the RL Shep Award Committee, an independent committee appointed by TSA. Given annually, the award consists of a cash prize of $1,000 funded by an endowment established by RL Shep in 2000.