With a Little Help from My Friends

When I think of the Peruvian highlands, one of the first images that comes to mind is a steep and winding dirt road with switchbacks stretching out as far as the eye can see, and mid-vision, a tiny figure walking along at a steady pace. She’s wearing her many skirts (for warmth), and her beautifully […]

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 […]

Where in the World is Alepio Melo?

About four years ago, Linda, photographer Joe Coca–with the excellent help of Diana Hendrickson–and I spent a couple of weeks in the Peruvian highlands learning from, documenting, and photographing master artisans of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. CTTC director Nilda Callanaupa had arranged for various artisans from all of the communities that comprise […]

A Tricky Stitch from the Peruvian Highlands

trickystitch

One of my favorite Andean textiles is the humble potato sack, or costal. It’s deeply traditional, handsome, and almost indestructible. I first saw costales in use when I visited the very high village of Accha Alta in 2005. The area is known for the best and most varied potatoes, but the terrain is so steep […]

Travel Advice–Thrums Books Style

travel advice

Last week Joe Coca and I were invited to do a presentation at Interweave’s annual Yarn Fest. The idea was to show what we’ve been up to since leaving Interweave and launching Thrums Books. The event was great—so many old friends, such a yarn-loving vibe. Figuring out what to share was something else—there’s been so […]

Guess What We Did? The Ever-Expanding Thrums Books

Thrums Books

More than ten years ago, in partnership with Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez and the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, we published our first book Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands. During the last decade we’ve published 15 more books exploring textile traditions from around the world. We’ve brought to life the life stories of textile artisans who […]

I Want to Give You a Scarf from Peru

Win a Peruvian Scarf

In our very first Thrums Books textile giveaway, you have a chance to win one of my treasured Peruvian scarves. I bought this alpaca scarf while I was working in Peru with Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez on her book Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands. It’s a beauty of a scarf, isn’t it? It makes […]

The Next Generation

One of the biggest concerns, for those of us who love and work with indigenous textiles from around the world, is “Who will carry on the traditions?” It’s complicated. Young people once learned from their elders, stayed in their home villages, got a sixth-grade education at most, married young, and spun and wove for the […]

Respected by the Whole World

Respected

“Anything that is created by human hands should be respected by the whole world,” said Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Honorary Chair of the 2018 International Folk Art Market (IFAM) in Santa Fe. As I wandered through the stalls at the Market last weekend admiring the astonishing folk art, I felt that deep sense […]

Portal to Peru Old and New

I just drove down to Santa Fe to attend the Fifteenth annual International Folk Art Market. It’s always a great time to connect with fiber friends and especially our authors as many are also artisan participants, volunteers, or translators. (Look for a full recap in next week’s blog.) Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez of the Center for Traditional […]

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