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 […]

Preservation or Innovation: What’s Best for Textile Traditions?

TextileTraditionChinchero

I get the best email. Dear Linda, Here’s a question that has been wandering around in the back of my mind ever since I went to Peru a couple of years ago. I’m a weaver, knitter, and sewist, so I love this stuff. In the Sacred Valley, we saw Nilda Callanaupa and her merry band […]

Skiing in our Chullos

PitumarcaPeru

Recently, my son Ian and I were skiing at one of our favorite spots in the Rockies. Ian wore his chullo that I’d brought him from Peru a couple of months ago. I’ve been skiing in mine for years, and now my kid gets to be one of the coolest dressers on the slopes, too. Chullos […]

Mother and Daughter

Accha Alta A little more than ten years ago, I was visiting the breathtakingly high, beautiful Andean village of Accha Alta. This very traditional small community was still farming potatoes the old way, tilling near-vertical land with handheld hoes. They were still weaving sacks (costales) of handspun llama wool on backstrap looms to take those […]

Cloth Is a Language

inkuy ToCloth is a language

Since Linda and I returned from Peru a couple of weeks ago, where we were hard at work on a future Thrums book, Peru has occupied much of my brain space. Visions of sugar plums and all that fun holiday stuff were nudged aside by images of Andean peaks and Inca ruins and textile–ancient and […]

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