Discovering Miao Embroidery with Zeng Li

“I’d like you to meet a friend of mine,” says Wang Jun, wanting to broaden our understanding of Miao textiles. I was in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, with Karen Brock and Joe Coca, working on Every Thread a Story: Traditional Chinese Artisans of Guizhou Province. So Jun took us straightaway to meet with his friend Zeng […]

Listening to the Elders

Elder

You can learn a lot from carefully studying a piece of cloth: Its age, the fiber and its origin, the interlacement of the threads, the pigments used to color it, the cultural references in its design. And so much more. Museums and scholarly books are troves of information for understanding how and why textiles have […]

A Chance Encounter, a Man with a Passion, and Our Newest Book

It was a chance encounter, my first meeting with Wang Jun. Joe Coca and I were in Guizhou Province, China, with a potential author, checking the area out for a couple of weeks. Wang Jun was our translator. That book didn’t work out, but in the course of our travels, we became enchanted with the […]

How I Won the Mr. T Award

Every Thread

I didn’t even know who Mr. T was, until I received an impressive certificate, suitable for framing, with his fierce visage staring me in the face. Such a surprise. You might wonder what I did to earn such an honor. Well, it was easy! I got in front of a video camera and babbled with […]

The Humble Poncho of Tarabuco

Sometimes it’s the humblest textile that takes up permanent residence in your memory of a place. I was fortunate to travel in Bolivia with a group from Andean Textile Arts recently, and was blown away by the fine basketry of the jipi japa palm weavers of the Santa Cruz region, and the lovely natural dyed […]

Thanksgiving Color

Shuffling through the piles of good stuff that have accumulated around my desk, I came across a beautiful poster: A Seasonal Color Wheel devised by Sasha Duerr, who holds a special place in Keith Recker’s book True Colors:World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments. Sasha has been practicing and teaching natural dyeing in the Bay […]

Chip Morris: Tribute to an Unforgettable Man

You have to imagine this: Chip Morris, scruffy, sometimes cranky author of A Textile Guide to the Highlands of Chiapas is standing in the plaza before the church in San Andrés Larrainzar, Chiapas, telling stories. He’s telling in English, but tossing off comments to passing locals in their own Tzotzil language.The story that sticks in […]

We’re Planning a Textile Tour in China–Come Join Us!

This excerpt from a recent travel guide communication just cracked me up: “The travel coach drivers in Guizhou Province (China) have the skills of a Nascar driver, the patience and gentleness of a collie dog, and the quiet charm of an Arabian prince.” Does that sound like a bit of hyperbole? Actually, it seems pretty […]

Fifty Years

Dear friends and business associates Barry Schacht and Jane Patrick of Schacht Spindle Company in Boulder have just celebrated 50 years in business. They did it with an all-day event of non-stop fun and fellowship, bringing together hundreds of old friends from all over the place. Weavers, spinners, equipment makers, retailers, sheep raisers, teachers, authors—quite […]

Weaving in Bolivia: A Treasure of Human Endeavor

I first went to Bolivia in 1994 with my husband to view a total solar eclipse. It was a stunning experience, high in the Altiplano with the sky going dark, the donkeys and cattle bellowing, the birds flapping around in perplexity. The eclipse itself lasted only moments, but the memory overshadows everything else I experienced […]

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