Seeds and Threads

I’m looking forward to this year’s meeting of Weave a Real Peace (WARP)  in Decorah, Iowa, in a couple of weeks. Little Decorah (population 8,000) is not easy to get to. From where I live, you either drive for twelve hours through flatlands and corn fields, or spend four hours negotiating the Denver airport and […]

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 […]

Not a Cinco de Mayo Celebration

My Friends in Mexico

Around the world, especially here in the U.S., folks are donning sombreros and sipping margaritas in honor of Cinco de Mayo. While the world celebrates the 1862 victory of Mexico over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, oddly enough, it’s a little-celebrated event in Mexico itself. So on this fifth of May, we’ve decided […]

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 […]

Pruning

We’ve just sent Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today to press. It will be three months before we have actual printed copies in hand, but in the meantime I’ll be pruning my files: the stacks and stacks of paper, heaps of books for reference, gigabytes of words and images that tend to pile up as […]

Branches and Blossoms on the Tree of Life

This week, we’re putting the finishing touches on a forthcoming book about Navajo weavers–one of two new books we’ll be bringing out this fall. One of  many memorable stories in the book is about a man who, suffering a terrible illness, commissioned for himself, a rug woven with the Tree of Life design. I’m not […]

Feisty Women

feisty women

“Fadma Wadal is a feisty old woman—my favorite kind—and a great storyteller,” writes Susan Schaefer Davis, introducing the first of many artisans in her new book Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives. She goes on to tell the story of Fadma who remembers spinning with wool stolen from the underbellies of sheep that […]

Can Textile Travel Make You Smarter?

Fadma Wadal

Sometimes Facebook is more than a guilt-inducing time suck. Case in point: This morning it reminded me of an article that ran in Time magazine three years ago: “How Studying or Working Abroad Makes You Smarter.” Creativity Intensive travel helps one, the article said, to “think more complexly and creatively.” The extent to which a […]

Breeze of Blessing

A few weeks ago, I read about an exhibition at the University of Wisconsin’s Ruth Davis Design Gallery, Whirling Return of the Ancestors. The exhibition presents the Egúngún masquerades inspired by a tradition of the Yorùbá peoples of West Africa that honors and celebrates the power and presence of ancestors. Egúngún is a unique cultural […]

Traditional Textile Creation and the Shrinking World

Joshua Hirschstein, co-author of Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos, drops in this week to share his thoughts about the challenges to traditional textiles in a global economy. Minimizing the Impact In 2008, in a small village in the beautiful Annamite Mountains of northern Laos, Maren and I met a Tai Daeng silk weaver who […]

Malcare WordPress Security