Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Textile Traditions

A Smattering of Perugia

July 27, 2018

Marta Cucchia Matteo suggested we visit Rocca Paolina, the 16th century fortress in Perugia, the capital of Umbria in central Italy. I thought it would be like all the other castles I’ve encountered in the past. I assumed we’d climb up the keep, gaze at the view from the wall-walk, and peek thorough the murder … Read more

Amish Quilting

June 16, 2018

Streak of Lightning; photo credit: Daderot My son, Daniel, a toddler at the time, and I sat on the grass knoll overlooking the site of the auction, an Amish auction. Daniel, mesmerized, watched the kids playing tag and hide-and-seek among the quilts flapping in the breeze. An older girl pushed a little boy on a … Read more

Back Strap Weaving

April 28, 2018

The Mayan weaver was kneeling on the ground in front of her loom weaving complex patterns. I stood above her mesmerized, watching her fingers flying across the warp, one row, then another and another. How did she do that, so deftly, without consulting a design? How did she keep track of all those colors? Weaving: … Read more

Polynesian Featherwork

April 12, 2018 Feather boas, feathers decorating Mardi Gras masks, peacock feathers in vases, ostrich feathers embellishing hats, but an entire cloak made of feathers? That was new to me. I had to investigate further. Since Polynesia lacked precious metals or gemstones, the Polynesians came to treasure natural materials such as feathers. Featherwork garments were worn (usually … Read more

Faroese Shawls

March 4, 2018

Sheep, outnumber the inhabitant of the Faroe Islands two to one. Strong winds, an abundance of rain, and shallow soil inhibit the growth of trees. Grass covers most of the land on the group of islands in the North Atlantic. There is plenty of grazing for the sheep. Not surprisingly, there is a strong knitting … Read more


February 14, 2018

I’ve always been intrigued by the ‘stans—Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Growing up, the names fascinated me. According to World Atlas, the suffix “stan” is an ancient Persian or Farsi word meaning country, nation, or land of. As an adult, I was intrigued by them as homes of a wealth of textile techniques—stunning … Read more

Omar’s Shop

February 9, 2018

This was my first time striding purposefully through the alleyways in the Old City of Jerusalem. During previous visits, I’d always strolled along taking in the sights and smells of the bustling market surrounding me, peeking into a pottery shop here, stopping into a textile shop there, pausing to breathe in the aroma of herbs … Read more


February 4, 2018

When I wore skirts or dresses, I walked differently, my hips swayed more, it was almost a floating sensation, as if… as if I was a girl.I felt awkward, ungainly, like I didn’t quite fit in the role, like I wasn’t myself. I haven’t worn one in more than a decade. When I needed to … Read more

The King and I

January 30, 2018

Hand towel to the king Rinzin pointed at her mother, Leki. “She’s a weaver to the king.” Leki nodded and smiled. She didn’t speak English. My friendship with Rinzin Wangmo, began in the summer of 2006 at a weaving conference, where Rinzin and Leki were selling their gorgeous handwoven textiles. Apparently, Leki is well known … Read more

To Market

January 20, 2018

The only direction that remained open was behind me. I wriggled through gaps in the crowd until I found myself against the railing at the back of the stage. A tad disappointed I wouldn’t see the parade of nations as they made their way along the street, I took in my surroundings–the railing marked the … Read more