The Cultural Legacy of Mothers

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 is a way to maintain strong family connections by working together and sharing ideas. In the most meaningful context, it nurtures a cultural legacy.

So we offer deep gratitude to those mothers who hold traditions and families together. Whether they are making little spindles for their children to practice with high in the mountains of the Andes or are teaching their daughters to stitch khamak embroidery in Afghanistan, their legacy, their beauty endures.

A woman holds a baby in one hand and the other up in prayer as she joins hundreds of other women praying for peace to commemorate International Women’s Day in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photo by Paula Lerner from Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future.
Andrea Chura from Accha Alta, Peru spins with her daughter Hilda who learned  to spin when she was six years old. Photo by Joe Coca from Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands.
Mother's Gift
Gathering every weekend to weave and just to be together is a near-sacred ritual for Cecilia Cirin, her daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.. Photo by Joe Coca from Traditional Weavers of Guatemala.
A Lao woman and baby are wrapped in cloth woven with the giant spirit pattern (phi nyak) worn for protection. Photo by Joe Coca from Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos.
Navajo weaver Lynda Teller Pete mentors her great niece Roxanne who is the seventh generation of her family to carry on the weaving tradition. Photo by Joe Coca from our forthcoming book, Spider Woman’s Children.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and to all who mother.


Celebrate mothers and all their cultural legacies with these Thrums Books available at ClothRoads, Amazon, and your favorite indie bookstore.

Secrets of Spinning








Traditional Weavers of Guatemala


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