To Weave a New Pattern–Lao Style

Our guides in this week’s travel adventure are Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck who began traveling through Southeast Asia fifteen years ago with their 9 and 11-year-old sons. After two family trips in Thailand, Vietnam, and later, Laos, Joshua and Maren wanted to transform these extended family adventures into a new lifestyle, a new way […]

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 […]

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 […]

An Armchair Traveler Longs to Hit the Road

SilkWeaversLaos

I’ve been an armchair traveler these days. It started a few weeks ago when I waved good-bye, electronically, of course, to Maren Beck as she left for Xam Tai, Laos. She was off to lead a small group of textile enthusiasts through the hill tribe villages of Vietnam and Laos. Maren, co-author of Silk Weavers […]

Yours to Mine, Giving is Hand to Hand

Rug Money

“Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand, Mine to yours, yours to mine.” Alberto Ríos  Catarina spins with a touch that turns clouds into thread. Photo by Joe Coca from the book Traditional Weavers of Guatemala. It’s the gift-giving, and gift-finding, season. Enjoy the bounty of gifts so vivid in each of these […]

Spark–the Difference between Excellence and Love

spark

We all have our favorite textiles. Maybe it’s the color, the fiber, or a combination of techniques that draws us in. Maybe it’s because of where we were when we acquired–or made–the piece, or maybe it’s the person who gave it to us. Maybe our favorite textiles speaks to us because they have a special […]

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 […]

Respected by the Whole World

Respected

“Anything that is created by human hands should be respected by the whole world,” said Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Honorary Chair of the 2018 International Folk Art Market (IFAM) in Santa Fe. As I wandered through the stalls at the Market last weekend admiring the astonishing folk art, I felt that deep sense […]

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 […]

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