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 […]

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 […]

Silkworms, Mezcal, a Few Potatoes, Exquisite Cloth

silkworms

I was digging around in the pocket of a fleece jacket the other day, and found a small handful of roasted squash seeds. The memory was instant: I was back in a little hut in the Oaxacan highland village of Santo Domingo Roayaga. Our hostess was graciously extending hospitality. All she had to offer was […]

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 […]

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 […]

Language, Textiles, A Flash of the Human Spirit

At Tinkuy Gathering of the Textile Arts  in Cusco, Peru last fall, anthropologist Wade Davis, gave a remarkable keynote speech, “Geographies of Hope.” His talk was a celebration of the world’s indigenous cultures, but also he warned about the rapid disappearance of these cultures and the impact this has on the cultural web of life, […]

The Cultural Legacy of Mothers

legacy

For centuries, the world over, mothers have been teaching their children to weave, to spin, to dye, to embroider, to remember the stories of the ancestors. Passing down these skills to the next generation is practical, of course, because learning them can help develop a livelihood. On the other hand, this intergenerational transference of skills […]

Refrains of Nature on Earth Day

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter. ” Rachel Carson In celebration of Earth Day, we have a reprise of last year’s post–updated with some of our favorite places on earth—and some of our favorite people in those places. People who […]

Three Awards and an Unexpected Prize

The winds have been whirling in all directions at Thrums Books the last couple of weeks. We’re still celebrating the publication of Susan Schaefer Davis’s Women Artisans of Morocco, but we’re also finalizing the last details for two fall books we just sent to press, and now manuscripts are coming in for books we’ll bring […]

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