15 May 2023

Review: Patch Work by Claire Wilcox

Patch Work- A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox audiobook cover

According to the blurb for Patch Work - A Life Amongst Clothes, author Claire Wilcox has been employed as a curator for the Victoria and Albert Museum for most of her working career. Since visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2018, I've followed their social media channel and enjoy the behind the scenes curator videos on offer from Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

When I saw a curator from the V&A had penned a book about her work, I imagined I'd be able to delve further than these documentary videos to gain insight surrounding the ins and outs of restoration and exhibition work, stitched together with some fascinating history and interesting objects. I was curious to learn about the career process involved in her line of work, and the physical toll it takes on the lucky few permitted to touch these priceless objects rich with provenance.

That would be a fascinating book indeed, but this wasn't it. I wanted to learn more about the author's career as a curator, and instead I learned more about the author herself.

The tantalising chapter headings held promise - Kid Gloves; Tapestry; Mail Order; The Skirt; Silver Thread; Production Line; Wedding Suit; Dust - but rarely delivered the expertise and hands-on experience I was after.

Patch Work - A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox is a memoir told in very short chapters threaded through with the tools of the author's trade as a senior curator. Listening to the audiobook, the content felt personal and very much a private project for her friends and family rather than a resource for readers interested in her work, the work of the V&A Museum, or those motivated to pursue a career in her field.

Recommended for readers of memoir only.

My Rating:

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