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 book.
The stories behind traditional textiles expose our commonalities—we have too much in common with each other to be divided into us and them, to be regarded as more or less. Stories allow us to acknowledge the person in each other.
Our conversations continue. He has been giving me a wealth of information about his community’s traditional products. I requested close-up videos of the weaving of the gudas. “I’ll ask my mom to take one.” She also sent a video of a cousin’s wedding, asking guests to wave at the camera.
Stories are inherent in traditional textiles, about the artisans and their communities, and about their cultures and traditions. Some of the stories are in the process, others are integrated in the designs, through figurative or geometric motifs. Though we usually associate stories with words, many are told through symbols or images, whether through hieroglyphics, geometric designs, or figurative imagery. Stories do not have to have a beginning, middle, and end, and they can take many forms, such as prose, dance, poetry, or even a list.
The first time I saw a photo of a Turkish shepherd wearing a floor-length kepenek over his shoulders, I thought of a toddler wearing a snowsuit, standing stiffly, barely able to move—it looked so bulky and cumbersome. I couldn’t begin to imagine a shepherd working while wearing such a garment. Surely there was more to … Read more
I think it might have been her glorious smile that first caught my eye. Perhaps it was the warm color of her skin that attracted my attention. Wait! Was this racism on my part? That my first impression of her was through the color of her skin? I didn’t want that to be the case. … Read more
Roaming the vendor hall during a weaving conference, an intriguing pillow case caught my eye. I stopped at the booth to examine it. It looked as though it was a patchwork of four differently colored handwoven patches with invisible joins. I studied it closely—they were definitely not sewn together. It was more like an invisible … Read more
When the editor of Selvedge Magazine (https://www.selvedge.org) showed interest in my journey to WARP, I didn’t need to think about it—the words were right there, ready to spill over onto the page. WARP, an acronym for Weave A Real Peace, is a networking organization (https://weavearealpeace.org) many of whose members include textile artists and textile aficionados, … Read more
I want to weave a scarf for a very special person, Annabella. I met her once, and I may never set eyes on her again. I want to weave a scarf that will do justice to her eyes, the colors of the sea at the Amalfi Coast in Italy, startling blues and greens. I want … Read more
We treasure gold and diamonds, and to a lesser degree silver, rubies, and emeralds. But what if precious metals and gemstones didn’t exist? Would we have looked to other natural resources to treasure? Or to something completely different such as handmade items or skill? Arts and artists? Books and writers? Among Plolynesians, this issue was … Read more