The Family of Thrums

Our good friend, and Thrums Books author, Deborah Chandler has been visiting us for the last few days. Last night she wrote down a few words about her life in the world of Thrums. Thanks, Deborah!

Tonight, I am especially conscious of how lucky/blessed I am, aware of being part of the extended family of Thrums Books authors, many of whom I can also call friends. Last weekend my coauthor Teresa Cordón and I attended the festivities of the International Latino Book Awards in Los Angeles. We were finalists (Traditional Weavers of Guatemala received an honorable mention in the nonfiction category), as were Eric Mindling (Oaxaca Stories in Cloth received second place in the Art category), and Sheri Brautigam (Textile Fiestas of Mexico received first place in the Travel category). As they could not attend, I was happy to accept their awards for them.

Some of the finalists in the nonfiction category at the International Latino Book Awards. I’m in the middle with the happy face! Photo courtesy of Latino Literacy Now.

Seventeen months ago, I attended a similar award ceremony sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association where Traditional Weavers of Guatemala received a Silver award and Chip Morris’s book Maya Threads received a gold award, which again I got to receive on his behalf. I have never met Chip face-to-face, but I remember talking with him on the phone sometime in the early 1990s; he had already been living in Chiapas for some years, and I was in Houston working for Pueblo to People, which eventually led to my moving to Guatemala in 1999.

Author Chip Morris shows a weaver her photo in his book, A Textile Guide to the Highlands of Chiapas.

Right now, I am in Loveland, Colorado, home of Thrums Books, which has allowed me two more Thrums-author treats. Last night I stayed awake way past midnight reading the manuscript for Mary Anne Wise’s upcoming book about the Multicolores rug project in Guatemala: Put that book on your want list! This morning, I got to see Susan Schaefer Davis whose book on Moroccan weavers is in production. Susan was in town with her Peace Corps buddies visiting ClothRoads. It was her stint in the Peace Corps that led Susan to Morocco in the first place, 52 years ago! While I was also a Peace Corps Volunteer, it is our membership in Weave A Real Peace (WARP) that brought, and brings, Susan and me together.

Fadma Wadal
Susan Schaefer Davis shares time with Fadma Wadal while in Morocco working on her book. Photo by Joe Coca.

In November, I’m going to Tinkuy in Peru, where I will again get to see my friend and Thrums Books’ first and many-times author Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez. I’ll also see Mary Littrell, coauthor with Rangina Hamidi of the hot-off-the-press Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future. I first met Mary in the early ’90s too as she was at People to Pueblo doing a case study for her first book on fair trade. Two  years ago, I had the treat of hearing Joshua Hirschstein and Maren Beck talk about their adventures in Laos to a rapt audience at that year’s annual meeting of WARP. Now their book Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos: Textiles, Traditions, and Well-Being is also hot off the Thrums press.

Josh and Maren showing Joe Coca and Linda Ligon how to toast in Laos!

In the end–so far–the only Thrums Books’ author I don’t have some personal connection to is Carol Karasik, but the characters in Maya Gods and Monsters are definitely familiar to me from Maya tales I have heard, so I still feel connected via a thread some 5,000 years long.

Life in Guatemala revolves around extended family, and I have learned a lot living there. For me, life in Thrums is, in part, about extended family as well. And it feels good.

–Deborah Chandler

The World of Thrums Books is available at ClothRoads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and at your favorite bookstore.

2 thoughts on “The Family of Thrums

  1. Marilyn Anderson says:

    Deborah Chandler’s piece here about the Thrum’s “family” of authors is a joy to read. It gives a picture of the talented authors who belong to this family that inspires still more appreciation of them and Linda Ligon’s ability to produce these remarkable publications books to the world.

  2. Kate Colwell says:

    Congrats to all the authors, not just for awards but mostly for the wonderful books. The new Thrums books are coming out so fast now that I get to read from some new book every night. All wonderful!! Felicidades Linda and extended tribe.

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