Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Threads Around the World: Volume II

It’s creeping up on me.

As my first full draft of my book “Threads Around the World: From Arabian Weaving to Batik in Zimbabwe” neared completion, I started thinking of a second volume. I told myself that if the book was well received I’d write a second volume.

After the book was published, I found myself bogged down with marketing—giving presentations and interviews, writing textile essays for various publications, and attending book events. I didn’t have enough breathing room to think about another volume.

As the excitement over the first textile book subsided, my focus shifted. Perhaps I needed a break from writing anything textile-related. I found myself concentrating on memoir. (My first book is a memoir about recovery from brain injury and I was now writing about living with brain injury, how it changed my perception of the world.) But my passionate interest in ethnic textiles prevailed. I continued to write about ethnic textiles for the WARP (Weave A Real Peace ) and was always on the lookout for interesting traditional textiles.

On social media, I noticed an ad for Jamdani textiles (handwoven in Bengal)—sheer textiles with opaque motifs, all woven in the same color. The effect was stunning. I purchased a Jamdani shawl online—I had to see whether its beauty survived close-up scrutiny. It did. I should write a chapter on Jamdani textiles.

When I came across a knitter on Etsy who knitted Faroese shawls, I ordered one. I’d already written an article for the WARP newsletter about shawls made in the Faroe Islands. If I ordered a Faroese shawl from her, I could use it for photos for a chapter. I’d open the essay with the line—”In the Faroe Islands sheep outnumber the human inhabitants two to one.”

Through my online presence, I recently came in contact with a young man from a village in the Eastern Himalayas. I was intrigued by a photo of a handwoven cotton blanket he posted. How did the weavers achieve the fluffiness on it one side? Was it knotted pile? Or something else? We started interacting online. After a few exchanges, he invited me to visit his village to weave with his mother. I hope to, sometime in the Fall of 2022—It would certainly make for a good story for my next textile book.

More and more, as I went through my daily life, I thought of textile techniques I encountered in terms of whether they had the making of one of the chapters in Volume II.

When I first wrote a newsletter article about the textiles of the Shipibo tribe in Peru, the sparse resources contained little information. Now more than a decade later, there’s plenty of information readily available.  A chapter on Shipibo textiles is a must.

I also came across a wealth of information about Kaitag embroidery from the district of Dagestan in Russia. I was fortunate enough to meet (online) a Dagestani embroiderer—I could ask her for photos of the process.

I attended a fabulous exhibit on ikat textiles from Uzbekistan and bought a wonderful book about them in the museum gift shop. It contained all the information I needed for a chapter on Uzbek ikat.

I perused the articles I’d already written for WARP, and counted off the new ones I’d like to write—I definitely have enough for a second volume.

Will this blog-post trigger my writing for the second volume of my textile book? I’m certainly close to that point.