The Hat in the Hat

In our culture today, it’s most likely a felt or straw Stetson or a baseball cap, that thing men put on their heads. (In my father’s time, it was the ubiquitous fedora.) In Peru, it’s a knitted chullo, often topped with a brimmed felt hat. One for warmth, one for sun protection. The knitted chullos […]

Crafting with Grace

Accha Alta Accha Alta is a small community high in the Peruvian Andes. To arrive there, you drive up steep switchbacks on a single-track road, past ancient Inca storage structures, and alpacas foraging on almost nonexistent vegetation. Or you walk. In spite of, or maybe because of, their remoteness and sparse lifestyle, the villagers of […]

Their Daily Lives

This story could have been written yesterday, or it could have been written 200 years ago. Life can be painfully hard, or joyously fortunate, but life goes on. This story is excerpted from a book we published in 2013, Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes, and details the life of a typical Elder […]

Our Own Private World Wide Web

Oaxaca Stories in Cloth

If life hadn’t taken an unexpected pivot, we would be in China right now with a group of friends. This very day, we would have been visiting a village that specializes in folded embroidery (my favorite kind), and we would be on our way to a workshop in that technique and others at the Sun […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Mother’s Gift

Teaching textile traditions is a gift mothers pass to their children generation after generation. Whether in Mexico or Morocco, Afghanistan or Laos, mothers have been teaching their daughters (ands sons) to weave, to spin, to dye, to embroider for centuries. Sharing these skills with the next generation is practical, of course, because it creates a […]

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 […]

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