Of course, the end of the year offers a time to reflect on all we’ve accomplished in the last year, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed next. I wanted to share some of those highlights but also some of the smaller moments that have a big impact too.
In the spring, Publisher Linda Ligon and I along with Thrums photographer Joe Coca traveled around Guizhou Province, China working on a book that turned into two books! We’ve packaged them together in a truly beautiful boxed set ready for publication in early April. More about that in a few weeks.
We also published two travel guides in the spring—A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala and A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Peru & Bolivia, and we published two books in the fall—Keith Recker’s True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments and The Human Thread: Photography of Joe Coca. Both of those books premiered at the International Folk Art Market where we had a booth showcasing all of our books. In the fall, with our partners at ClothRoads, we sponsored a third textile journey to Morocco with Women Artisans of Morocco author Susan Schaefer Davis. I traveled again with a delightful group of women to visit weavers, buttonmakers, embroiderers, and other artisans featured in Susan’s book.
And our books won awards, authors gave lectures, book signings, radio interviews, and led tours, and we attended conferences and plotted more books for 2020. Yet amid these grand adventures and accomplishments, what stands out for me in 2019 are much smaller moments, glimpses of understanding how people are impacted by our books, often in unexpected ways.
Like Doug in Santa Fe who read about Keith’s book True Colors in the Santa Fe New Mexican and immediately hopped on his bicycle and rode to the International Folk Art Market just to buy the book. That Keith was in our booth to sign it for his new fan was pure serendipity.
And too, there was that weaver at the Folk Art Market who after seeing Joe Coca’s photography book, fondly remembered him taking pictures of her weaving project for Handwoven magazine more than 30 years ago. It reminded me why we titled his book The Human Thread.
Then there were the Chinese tourists standing in front of a stack of Women Artisans of Morocco for sale in the Yves Saint Laurent gift shop in Marrakesh. When they realized they were also standing next to author Susan Schaefer Davis, they squealed and insisted on having their picture taken with her.
There are other small moments, like watching Wu Meng Xi in Dimen, China fold paper she’d made from the inner bark of mulberry trees, as she has for the last six decades, into a clever needle case. What a privilege to buy a few sheets of her paper and to carry her work, her story, her joy home with me.
And our dear Joe taking the time during a rigorous day of shooting in Sandu County, China to photograph a group of curious and friendly Chinese kids on their way home from school.
Each of these moments, and so many more, reiterates to me the value of our work, reminds me of the lives we touch and those that touch ours. How fortunate that Linda Ligon leads us into each new adventure with such insight and joy, and always the right questions. And how fortunate we are to work with dedicated, smart, and inspiring authors who gift us—and you—with these meaningful stories.
Thank you all for making 2019 a terrific year: authors, photographers, designers, cherished readers. May your 2020 be rich with small moments.