The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois
Abrams Books for Young Readers
A True Tale
with A Cherry On Top
A uthor: Amy Novesky
and Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
C haracters: Louise Bourgeois
O verview from Abrams Books for Young Readers website:
"Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) was a world-renowned modern artist noted for her sculptures made of wood, steel, stone, and cast rubber Her most famous spider sculpture, Maman, stands more than 30 feet high.
Just as spiders spin and repair their webs, Louise's own mother was a weaver of tapestries. Louise spent her childhood in France as an apprentice to her mother before she became a tapestry artist herself. She worked with fabric through her career, and this biographical picture book shows how Bourgeois's childhood experiences weaving with her loving, nurturing mother provided the inspiration for her most famous works. With a beautifully nuanced and poetic story, this book stunningly captures the relationship between mother and daughter and illuminates how memories are woven into us all.".
T antalizing taste:
"Louise kept diaries of her days. And in a cloth tent pitched in the garden, she and her siblings would stay till the dark surprised them, the light from the house, and the sound of a a Verdi opera, far away through the trees.
Sometimes, they'd spend the night, and Louise would study the web of stars, imagine her place in the universe, and weep, then fall asleep to the rhythmic rock and murmur of river water.
The river provided flowers and fruit, a lullaby, and a livelihood.
Louise's family restored tapestries - art woven from wool - and the wool loved the tannin-rich water, which cleansed and strengthened it, and allowed it to soak up color."
and something more: I feel so fortunate to have read, early on, a draft of Amy's amazing book in which she wove together her poetic evocative words. Amy shared with me what inspired her to write this book: "The inspiration for this book came from a 2004 New York Times article about Louise Bourgeois’s cloth work. I immediately fell in love with her fabric odes, whose colorful graphic and tactile shapes resonated with me, and, I thought would with young readers. But I didn’t find my way into the story until years later when I discovered a monograph of her cloth work at the Sausalito Library. While the book was 12 years in the making (!), I wrote the story in a week."
I heartily concur with the New York Times review: "Novesky's writing is alert to young readers' voracious appetite for the aliveness of language. The story is strewn with beautiful, pleasantly challenging words ('indigo,' 'fragments,' trousseau'), words that have earned the right to make themselves at home in a child's imagination ... Cloth Lullaby is one of the loveliest picture books I've encountered - a tender homage to an extraordinary woman."