So what's a lady to do? In times of creative crisis, I've found it helps me to look at textile/textural things presented in a cultural setting, as opposed to a fine art setting. Huh? Put that in your dissertation.
What follows is an awe inspiring, eye candy-ing reading list of lovely books and magazines. I'd scan photos out of them, but I don't want to get sued by the man.
(You can click on the books above and get linked to Amazon)
Kyrgyzstan, by Claudia Antipina- Beautiful illustrations and photos of traditional dress from the region. It will make you want to play dress up, make your own clothes, and mad that you don't have a traditional costume. Johnny Murder gave this to me for Valentine's Day a few years ago, and I almost cried I was so excited. It's expensive, but if you can find it used, it's so worth it.
Embroidered Textiles, by Shelia Paine- Did you know that it's bad luck to see a woman embroidering or spinning? That's because it's magic, and they can tie you up in their thread. Only one of the many interesting bits in this huge book, detailing traditional embroidery from all over the world. Amazing photos, and there's even a chapter explaining the significance of embroidery on certain parts of your clothing. (Protection, fertility, luck...) Also a thorough look at common patterns and their meanings, and a chapter on embroidery and magic. No shit. It's kind of the Alpha and Omega of embroidery. Also spendy, find it used if you can.
Taschen Style Books- Great little books detailing interior and exterior design and architecture. I love looking through these for textural ideas and interesting color combinations. You can usually find them for a couple of bucks used on Amazon.
The Quilters Resource Book, by Maggi McCormick Gordon- Fabulous photos and patterns detailing the history of quilting from around the world. I could look through this all day. Too bad I can seem to finish any of the quilts I've started.
The Art of Embroidery/The Art of Knitting, by Francoise Tellier-Loumange- These books are mostly just really pretty eye candy. Unfortunately, they mostly cover machine work, but they're still great to look for unusual textures.
Making Mathematics With Needlework, by Carolyn Yackel- That's right NERD! This book is serious business. If you're interested in Mandelbrot sets, Möbius strips, Diophantine equations, or you've ever wondered how ssk k2tog k2 yo translates into a x/y axis, you've found your new favorite book.
Silk, by Mary Schoeser- History of silk, with lush photos. You'll want to roll around in it. Expensive, find it used.
Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber- If you're a spinner, weaver, or anthropologist, this book is for you. Everything from the history of string to sailcloth.
Fiber Arts Magazine- Super cutting edge amazing pieces, contests, and stories that will make you spit with envy. Everything from sculptural clothes to huge installations. It will make your brain fall out.
Selvedge- I'm not going to link to them, because I'm mad at them. I paid a crap load of money for a subscription, and then only received two magazines. Then they told me I never subscribed to them and had no record of my payment, yet they constantly send me renewal notices in the mail. Jerks. But it is a beautiful magazine. Double Jerks.
When none of that works, it's time for a nap, a muscle relaxer, and music in a different language so I can pretend I'm lounging on a foreign beach. Ahhhhhh.