Welcome to ClothRoads
Our mission: Creating opportunities for supporting indigenous textile artisans worldwide.
TRAVELING THE CLOTH ROAD TOGETHER
The collective “we” worked together as the Executive Team at Interweave Press in the 1990s and early 2000s (see Who We Are below). In 2005, after successfully finding new owners for Interweave Press, some of us were ready to explore new horizons. We believed it was important to support the bigger world of weavers and artisan makers as it relates to traditional textiles, and this also satisfied our personal passions for making and collecting textiles.
But what exactly did that mean to us? We all had notions about this. Discussions took us down many a path—what’s so important about traditional textile-making cultures? Why just textiles? What about contemporary interpretation? A few key themes took hold– women, weaving sustainability, publishing, and of course, travel and having fun.
For some of us, going to developing regions such as Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Amazon, Laos and more was a novel experience. For others, it was country well-traveled. We began funding projects, including textile books on the Peruvian Highlands, Guatemala and Chiapas. We met interesting, talented artisans, as well as entire villages of weavers, spinners, dyers, knitters and embroiderists. What became a common refrain was the need for “markets” to sell their high quality work. Without more markets, many talented artisans produce for the common market which doesn’t always honor or reward artisan skills. But what usually occurs is that the artisans no longer have a means of supporting themselves and their families by their craft. So they leave their village and work in factories, turn to menial jobs, or make money other ways that take them away from their homes.
Over time, our discussion about women weavers and, particularly women’s cooperatives, took on greater importance. We have found that in the villages where a healthy cooperative is working, the health, education, and well-being of the women and their families is vastly improved. So our questions and challenges became: How could we best create new market opportunities for these artisans? How can we support their culture of making with a fair, sustainable commerce model? Could we also utilize our publishing experience, presenting high-quality information about techniques, processes, and cultures around making cloth? As makers, publishers, anthropologists, and textile enthusiasts, the answer seemed quite simple—to provide a store experience accompanied by informative blogs that focused on all these elements. We’d done it in our past careers with magazines, books, videos, and patterns, plus we had retail experience running fiber stores. Couldn’t we provide an educational experience as well as a shopping experience, providing much needed exposure for talented textile artisans? In reality, we have gained deeper knowledge of what it means for the work of artisans to be sustainable, have met amazing people who have shared their understanding of working in a global community, stumbled through many roadblock, but finally….
ClothRoads.com was born. If you love the world of cloth you should find much to enjoy here. Subscribe to our blog and newsletter. Meet the artisans, learn the techniques, experience the cultures. Participate in our Facebook community, we want this to be a dialogue, not a monologue. We often have trunk shows in Colorado and hope to expand our reach in the year ahead. We have found, in talking with some of you, that the travel experience, even if it’s vicarious, is as important as the finished cloth. Our blogs will be an armchair journey along the cloth road.
Our “studio” in Loveland, CO is part of an older home that once housed Interweave Press. Visitors are welcome. Get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 685-4964 and we can set up an appointment. We can’t promise a boutique experience but we can show you some gorgeous textiles and accessories.
We do hope you will join us on the journey. Please email (email@example.com) with your thoughts, questions, queries, ideas, or just share the cloth love.
WHO WE ARE
Marilyn Murphy is the former President of Interweave Press, working side-by-side with Linda Ligon and many other talented women for 16 years. Before Interweave, Marilyn started weaving and spinning in college where, soon after her graduation, she bought the Weaving Workshop in Chicago and then founded the first Textile Arts Centre there in 1986. After 19 years of living and breathing retail and teaching, she moved to Colorado and pursued the crafts through publishing. In her “retirement”, she’s able to pursue her life’s passion of textiles by traveling to countries rich with textile traditions. Now, through ClothRoads, she’s able to share this journey with you.
Linda Tiley Stark is the former V.P. Publisher of Books, Sales & Marketing at Interweave Press, stepping into the textile world in 2000. A native of Colorado she has worked in book publishing since she was a wee child. In 1985 she began dreaming of developing a high-quality arts and craft catalog with a publishing buddy. Afraid to quit the security of a real job, she put it on the back burner—simmering. How rewarding to see this dream come to life with ClothRoads and to once again be working with these smart, adventuresome women.
Dee Lockwood is the former Controller of Interweave Press. Dee first met Marilyn Murphy when she volunteered to be Treasurer of the Textile Arts Centre in Chicago. In that position, she was able to combine her two loves: accounting and textiles. Dee is an avid knitter and a collector of textiles and textile art. She is excited to be able to present the handcrafted textile wonders of the world through ClothRoads.
Linda Ligon founded Interweave Press in 1975 and continues her involvement there as Creative Director for weaving, spinning, and needlework publications. In her spare time, she publishes books on the textile traditions of Central and South America under the Thrums Books imprint. Of course, all this requires research, which means traveling, writing, and editing. Linda is a board member of the Andean Textile Arts Association..
Suzanne DeAtley joined Interweave Press after leaving the academic world where, as an anthropologist, she focused her studies on the relationships among technology and social and economic changes in societies. During her years at Interweave, she put her interest in weaving and other textile techniques to use in editorial, product development, market research, business operations, and ultimately serving as VP of Human Resources. Being part of Cloth Roads feels a bit like coming full-circle. Suzanne savors the rich contribution traditional textile traditions make to contemporary life, and is happy to be helping communities maintain their technological heritage in the face of ever-pressing social change.