One World

one world

This time last year, I was in the Peruvian highlands, in the little town of Chinchero. It was cold and wet, and we were working out of doors with the snow-capped Andes shining in the distance, taking notes and photographing weavers and spinners of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco as they plied their […]

Gifts from Beyond Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Exactly three years ago, Thrums Books released Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu. It was such a pleasure working with the author, Libby Van Buskirk, who had deeply researched the folk tales and folkways of the Peruvian highlands during her many years of travel in that country. And the illustrator, Angel Callañaupa Alvarez, is a […]

Laughing it Off

laughingitoff

Sometimes you just have to laugh. Sometimes you leave all thoughts of “political correctness,” of propriety, of good manners behind and just let it bubble up. Laughter is universal. People laugh at themselves, their foibles, each other, their fate, the universe. Take this traditional Quechua riddle recorded in Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands: Dreaming Patterns, […]

Textiles: The Bridge between Cultures

BridgeBetweenCultures

The Bridge The Thrums Books virtual gallery and museum tour has traveled around the world over the last year, from Oaxaca to Toronto, from Colorado and Arizona to points beyond. We’ve introduced you (or perhaps just reminded you) of some fabulous textile collections far afield and maybe in your own back yard. This month we’re heading to […]

A World of Blue

Peru Indigo

It was pretty blue at the Textile Society of America Symposium a couple of weeks ago, indigo blue. There was the indigo dye workshop on Ossabaw Island and a tour of its indigo history, an indigo art exhibition, and Catharine Ellis and Rowland Ricketts each chaired different sessions called “Indigo and Beyond” offering seven different presentations related to […]

The Wonder of Will and the Story of It All

Wonder of Will

Today, I am traveling with a dear friend to peer inside the original 1623 book that gave us The Tempest (one of my favs), Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and all the bard’s best. Well, in fact, all the bard. The book, Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, is the first complete collection of his plays. […]

The Long Thread

Symmetry

I’ve been reading a terrific book called I Contain Multitudes about microbes and their pervasive role in all of creation, not to mention my own gut. So a recent story in the New York Times immediately caught my eye: “Could Ancient Remedies Hold the Answer to the Looming Antibiotic Crisis?” As I dug into the story, […]

In the Twinkling of an Eye

TwinklingofanEye

A little 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 […]

DAM This Is Good: Collections and Crossroads

DAM

It all began in 1927 with the gift of a Kashmir shawl. That shawl was the Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) first recorded non-American Indian textile. In the decades that followed, the museum’s collection grew exponentially. Now, its Textile Art and Fashion Collection holds over 5,000 objects from Asia, Europe, and North and South America. These range from […]

A Mother’s Gift

Teaching textile traditions is a gift mothers pass down to their children (okay, dads can get in on it, too, but that’s a story for another day). Whether in Guatemala, Mexico, or Peru—and I’m learning in Morocco, Laos, and Afghanistan, too—for centuries, mothers have been teaching their daughters to weave, to spin, to dye, to embroider. Passing down these skills […]

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