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Madder-dyed, shibori spider design (kumo) on rayon by Judy Newland.

Aug 13

Natural Dyes: Madder

For the last of the summer series of natural dyes focused on red, let’s journey on to madder, one of the world’s most ancient dyes. Madder-dyed, shibori spider design (kumo) on rayon by Judy Newland.→ Read more
Ikat handwoven pattern adapted from a Paisley design.

Aug 06

Uzbekistan Ikats Then and Now

When asked to choose my favorite textile, I have difficulty in responding. Truth is, I have to say handwoven silk Uzbekistan ikats are at the top of the list, perhaps because I lived there for eight years. But their bold colors and patterns make wearing an ikat outfit intimidating, at→ Read more
Book cover for " A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World, an epic story of art, culture, science, and trade".

Jul 16

A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World

The natural dye cochineal has fired the imagination in producing an exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe and the accompanying book, A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World, of amazing depth. You may know something about cochineal from my June blog, and→ Read more
The Tai Lue, one of the largest of the ethnic minorities who live in northwest Laos, use the lac natural dye along with many other local ones.

Jul 09

Natural Dyes: Lac

Our summer of naturally-dyed reds continues with an investigation of another scale insect. Let’s follow the trail of natural dyes to lac in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Thailand and Laos.→ Read more
Swiss fabric company Jacob Schlaepfer has been producing hand-embellished fabrics for fashion designers and home décor for over 100 years. This beaded and embroidered piece was in the Ralph & Russo Summer 2015 collection. Photo courtesy: Jacob Schlaepfer.

Jun 25

Talking Textiles: An Endangered Species

I’d gladly spend any time talking about textiles. So when Lidewij Edelkoort of Trend Union was noted as a speaker at the “Talking Textiles” seminar, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. Her company, Edelkoort, Inc, along with curator Philip Fimmano had organized this half-day event at Parsons School of Design. With presentations→ Read more
Marilyn with Dahyalal at Santa Fe Folk Art Market. He's wearing one of his traditional shawls.

Jun 20

Celebrate The Men Making Textiles

In our quest to bring you the best of global artisan textiles, we diverged a bit from our original goal of supporting women hand weaving cooperatives. Our first divergence was expanding beyond weaving since women’s handwork in most developing countries must be portable. The second fork in our road led→ Read more
Collecting cochineal bugs in Peruvian Highlands. (The collecting cloth is naturally dyed with cochineal.)

Jun 11

Natural Dyes: Cochineal Red

What do we see when we look in our red natural dye pots? Passion, fire, fertility, blood, desire? Each caldron of color is infused with history, tradition, and cultural meaning—all swirling with stories. The red dyes have invoked strong feelings and cloaked royalty since ancient times and this summer we→ Read more
#4 Shipibo pillow top placed on cloth.

May 21

Inspired by the Artisanry of Shipibo Embroidery

The three-day weekend forecast is rain and more rain. Sounds like “making” time to me (oh “yeah” I say silently.) I keep a whiteboard in my studio where I list DIY projects for the house, all in random order waiting for inspiration and time to collide. “Make Shipibo Pillows” has→ Read more
A completed sari stack ready for sale.

May 14

Handmade Felt Transforms Lives in Nepal

This is a story of transformation that began before the earth shook Nepal twice in a few weeks, when women artisans were transforming scraps of saris, silk, and wool through a hand, wet-felting process into fashionable, felted art-to-wear scarves for the U.S.-based company, The Red Sari. It’s a story of→ Read more
Front side of runner with supplementary weft.

May 07

Sustainable Hand Weaving Makes its Way Out of Myanmar

How can fine hand weaving, made on simple backstrap looms by Myanmar women artisans, make its way out of an economically poor, hard-to-navigate country to new markets? Yoyamay, based in Myanmar, has made it its mission to assist the Chin weavers in preserving and developing the Chin textile tradition and→ Read more

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