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 […]

Keeping Track of the World One Thread at a Time

My fascination with kipus likely began when we were working on our book Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands in Chinchero, Peru. Kipu, from the Quechua word for knot, are the knotted cord devices that the Inca used for record keeping. They were made of long cords of thread suspended from a […]

Gifts of Gratitude

Textile Traveler's Bundle

We’ve just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, keeping in mind all for whom we are grateful. Our readers are at the top our list. We’re showing our gratitude by offering several book bundles with amazing discounts for you or for the readers, crafters, and travelers in your life, These spectacular deals are only available through the end […]

Photography and the Fine Art of Disappearing

Indigo

Still photography captures moments. I can only imagine the moments of memory Joe Coca experienced sifting back through the thousands of images in his archive, selecting just a hundred or so for his new book, The Human Thread. Working with Joe for the past forty years, I have my own memory moments, ones that weren’t […]

Facing up to the Likeness

My mother-in-law looked Chinese. This petite, pure Okie born and bred Caucasian lady—I thought of her so often when I was traveling in China recently, because I saw her double everywhere. How could that be? Each of us is unique, face-wise. When I passed through immigration in Beijing, the clever machine that checked my identity […]

The Heights of Machu Picchu and other Poems

Poetry

I’m feeling a tad guilty that April is National Poetry Month and here we are in the final stretch, having done nothing to celebrate. Over the years, we’ve often found ways to join text with textile in poetic ways. For International Women’s Day a few years ago, Marge Piercy’s “For Strong Women” set a meaningful […]

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 […]

In the Twinkling of an Eye

More than thirty years ago, National Geographic magazine published an issue with a young Afghan woman on the cover. Her intense green eyes were so unexpected, and her expression so loaded with hard-to-read emotion, that the photograph has become iconic. Just google “afghan girl” and there she is, after all this time. Kind of like […]

A Long and Winding Road to Peru and Bolivia

My friendship with Cynthia Lecount Samaké, author of our new A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Peru & Bolivia, has been a long and winding road, much like the tours she leads to far flung places all over the world. It started in the early 1990s when Interweave, which I then headed, bought rights to her […]

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