Tinkuy or Bust

Weavers from Cusco

It wasn’t my first time in the Andes, that trip in 2005, but it was the first time I felt a real connection to the people and the incredible textile work being done throughout the region. I was on a tour sponsored by the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) and its North American […]

The Perfect Bag: Part One

This story has two parts. It starts when I was in a tourist shop in Eastern Mexico in 1997. Flung on the shelf amid the usual stuff—bright pottery, Aztec gods, naughty little clay figures, painted wooden jaguars—was this bag. “Cuanto questa?” I asked in my pathetic high school Spanish. “Not for sale,” the shop girl […]

When Photos Go Viral

When I was in Guatemala last month, I had the novel experience of a traditional Maya woman surreptitiously snapping a picture of me with her phone. It was unnerving, but it was only fair. I’d been taking snapshots of her people all week, usually but not always asking permission. I just had never thought of […]

How A Book is Born

Sometimes, books just happen. The very first Thrums book, published in 2007, came about it that unexpected way. I had been on a tour to Cusco to visit the weaving villages of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, director Nilda Callañaupa mentioned her interest in publishing a series of books on the textile designs […]

On the Road With Joe Coca

Joe Coca

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I just witnessed the visual equivalent of about five million words being created over the course of a couple of weeks. The place: Guatemala. The picture maker: Joe Coca. The project: an upcoming book on traditional textile workers in Guatemala, by Deborah Chandler with Terésa Cordon. […]