When I was CEO of Interweave Press, I had some of the best co-workers in the world: President Marilyn Murphy, Book Publisher and VP of Marketing Linda Stark, CFO Dee Lockwood, and VP of Human Resources Suzanne DeAtley. We were a powerful team, and we had fun.
In the almost 10 years since we sold Interweave, the four of them have gone on to form a sister company to Thrums Books called ClothRoads. It’s an online purveyor of textiles from around the globe, with the mission of “Creating opportunities to support indigenous textile artisans worldwide.” I just came away from our annual meeting feeling proud of what these women have accomplished, and humbled by their future plans.
You can read more about the people and the purpose of ClothRoads on the website by clicking here, and see the old haunted house that the business calls home. (It’s not really haunted, but one of the toilets tends to flush of its own accord in the middle of the night.) But you won’t enjoy the colors and textures and even smells (raw wool! silk!) that I did throughout our meeting. It’s pretty wonderful to be surrounded by Andean sling braids, dancing skirts from India, Guatemalan huipils, silk scarves from Madagascar and Laos, handspun yarn from Tajikistan, and on and on. While I make books that show these things on paper, my colleagues are handling the real stuff (sometimes forgetting that they are supposed to be selling it to the wider world, not buying it for their own stashes).
We’ve taken some memorable trips together: Peru, Guatemala, northwest India, and more. They are getting ready to head out to the Pacific coast of Oaxaca to see the last living dyer of purple derived from marine snails. Not your typical Mexican holiday, but I’m sure they will consume their share of margaritas. Meanwhile, I’m staying home this time to keep up my momentum on Chip Morris’s new book, Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas. With luck it will be in print by late summer. Stay tuned.