It takes a book about nine months from when the manuscript is finished until the designed pages go to press. (It’s also about the amount of time it takes to create some babies, be they calf or bear cub or human.) The author may have been working on mastering the content for many years, but the publication process is fairly swift. The relationship between author and publisher is intense and personal during that time. And when it’s over, when that nascent book is off to the printer, what then? Some authors sit around and mope and feel the let-down of finishing a major project. Post-partum blues, they sometimes say.
Not Thrums Books authors. They get up and go. Mary Littrell turned in her manuscript and left the next day to spend four months on a ship sailing around the world, part of Colorado State University’s Semester at Sea program. We would hear from Mary intermittently: Honolulu, Shanghai, Cape Town, Kyoto.
Meanwhile, her co-author, Rangina Hamidi, moved house from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to Kabul to help start up an international school (while overseeing her embroidery cooperative, Kandahar Treasure, from afar). She was doing this so her daughter, Zara, would have a place to learn (among other estimable reasons). Rangina and Mary’s book, Embroidering Within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future, is now on a boat of its own, steaming toward San Diego, due to arrive in plenty of time for an October launch.
Another pair of authors of our upcoming crop of books, Josh Hirschstein and Maren Beck, fled for foreign parts the minute their book had cleared all the design hurdles. Where did they go? North Vietnam! Then back to Laos! Collecting textiles, nurturing relationships, logging adventures. We look forward to seeing them, along with three of the main characters in their book Silk Weavers of Hill Tribe Laos, at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in July. Souksakone Khakhampanh, Phouth Thongmany, and Malaitong Bounyaxe will be making their first trip to the U.S., along with bales of splendid handspun, handwoven, natural-dyed silk cloth.
Nilda Callañaupa, author of Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands, will be in Santa Fe as well, where her organization, Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, is a perennial favorite. We’ll enjoy catching up with her and hearing about plans for Tinkuy de Tejedoras in Cusco this November—a grand gathering of textile artisans from all over the world.
An award-winning author from last fall’s book lineup, Eric Mindling (Oaxaca Stories in Cloth) wasted no time after his book’s publication to take off for India, where he wielded his camera in aid of showing the work of SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) and the women it has helped. The result? A stunning collection of photographs. You can have a peek on his Instagram account, eric.sebas.
Our current hot project is Susan Schaefer Davis’s Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives, due off press next spring. Susan has been back and forth between the U.S. and Morocco several times since we started working on her book, most recently guiding a textile tour that looked like a load of fun.
Given the intense and frequent communication we have with our authors before, during, and after the publication of their books, how do we manage to keep track? The World Wide Web, of course. It’s like magic. We can send emails at any hour of the day or night, and maybe they will be received and answered. Maybe instantly, maybe not —but certainly more efficient than telegraph, or teletype, or airmail, or mail by ocean freight, or carrier pigeon.