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Published: 15 April 2017

By Andy Ross

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We love books and bookshops, especially those of the second hand variety. And sometimes a visit turns up trumps in a very unexpected way...

In the Oxfam bookshop in Swansea there is a suitcase of odds and ends that no-one would normally buy because they are idiosyncratic and do not fit in with the rest of the stock in that amazing shop. There is always something to purchase in the shop anyway, but sometimes the suitcase turns up treasure of the best kind. 

Last week a rifle through the bits and pieces in the case brought a small notebook to light. It was the first page which caught my attention - a page filled with squares of colour and writing next to each describing the plants which create that particular colour. It promised to be a book of little treasures and inspiration so, for the princely sum of 20p, the studio library now owns it. 

The notebook belonged to a weaver apparently, who dyed and spun the yarns for projects, and used the pages of the book to draw inspiration and write down ideas. Although it is small there are plenty of thoughts and many ideas, and some wonderful colour combinations. One of the nicest is a sketch which I reproduce on this page along with the writing which describes how the opera Dido and Aneas inspired this particular design for a tapestry. But there is plenty in more in this little treasure of a book... 

Interestingly whoever owned this book was also in instrumental player. A flute has been used as a way to create patterns, the reflections from the keys of the instrument forming swirly coloured patterns which look rather psychedelic. My guess that this little book was created in the 1980's is borne out by the date on one of the portraits - 1982. A little bit of history indeed.

Visitors are welcome to use the library. We do not lend the collection but we do provide space and refreshments for anyone wanting to do some research or for those who simply want to browse.