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The Folk Art Market banners rise above the crowds.

Jul 24

The Splendors of the Santa Fe Folk Art Market

Last week we returned from the yearly “pilgrimage” to the Santa Fe Folk Art Market. This year’s market felt especially fresh, mostly attributable to a third of the artisans being first-timers which meant new textile treats and new friends. Imagine these new artisans being in the U.S. for the first time and having 22,000 people […]

Lustrous silks all natural dyed.

Jul 10

Lao Weaving + Natural Dyes = Hand Woven Cloth

At the start of every trip, I’m reluctant to plop down money at the first hand woven textile which calls to me. But here I was on my first visit to Laos where “Everyone knows how to weave but not how to survive with their weaving” (as explained to me by Rassanikone Nanong, founder of […]

Nilda Callañaupa from CTTC raises cochineal-dyed yarn after a successful dye day in Acopia, Peru.

Jul 03

Celebrate Natural Dyes Red, White, and Blue

Celebrate the Fourth with natural dyes explosion of color–crimson red from cochineal, white (how natural, no dye needed), and blue from indigo. Early Americans used natural dyes to create the flag’s signature red stripes and blue canton. Red The small female insect cochineal (Dactylopius coccus), about the size of a grain of rice, yields a […]

The intricate pattern is handwoven using naturally dyed black and natural rattan. The artisan is from the Eheng village.

Jun 25

100% Natural Anjat Basket: Hand Woven Rattan with Natural Dyes

Without fail, the most common asked question to an artisan or maker, is “How long did it take you to make that?” In the case of this Anjat basket which is handwoven and naturally-dyed from the bast fiber rattan, the answer would depend on whether it includes the growing and harvesting of the rattan. Or […]

The front view showing the fringe at top; rod is inserted in sleeve on back.

Jun 16

Two Simple Ways to Hang and Display Textiles

How many times have you taken your favorite textile and just pinned it up on the wall? Or grabbed a rod or stick, and folded the textile over it, securing it with a pin or tape to hold it in place? It’s easy enough to do. But it’s certainly not the way to preserve a […]

The men from Sallac knitting traditional hats. Note that they are also wearing knitted vests.

Jun 12

Men at Work: Knitting and Weaving in Peru

It’s impressive watching the skillful hands of the Peruvian Highland men as they knit away on colorful hats, working the bicycle-spoke-sized knitting needles, tossing colored yarns to and fro, and nary a written pattern in sight. Or weaving the finely patterned cloth stretched out on a backstrap loom, their fingers quickly picking patterns, and beating […]

Abdul Jabbar Mohammed Khatri (left) stands next to his son. He and other family are traditional Ajrakh block printers.

Jun 05

All in the Family: Indian Male Textile Artisans

When we launched ClothRoads, our focus was to support women weaving cooperatives. And we do, mostly. But as we traveled the globe and met more artisans, it didn’t take long to realize the scope had to be expanded to include male artisans too. It became ever more apparent in India—a country rich with textile traditions. […]

Spiral shibori, indigo dyed fabric

May 22

Shibori aka Tie-and-Dye

Last year, ikat was the big trend in fabric. This year, it’s shibori. The fashion world has adopted the name shibori to apply to any number of shaped-resist patterns. But shibori is a Japanese word encompassing various types of shaped resists created through the manipulation of fabric. Many textile-producing cultures have their own name for […]

Resist-dyed indigo fabric.

May 15

An Indigo Blue Day

When packing for the recent Weave a Real Peace (WARP) conference, I realized that my bag was loaded with indigo-dyed or indigo-colored clothes. It reminded me of my navy grade-school uniform. And, as uniforms go, I felt reassured knowing that no matter what I wore, I would be coordinated in the color du jour. Halfway […]

Florentina's sister, Proferina, is wearing her traditional brocaded cotton huipil.

May 08

The People of the Loom, an Amuzgo Village in Guerrero, Mexico

Talk about a long-awaited day—we were about to see the finest backstrap-loom-woven brocade textiles produced in Mexico. We were also nearing the end of our fiber tour of coastal Oaxaca, traveling a tad into Guerrero and into the region where the Amuzgo people live, to the town of Xochistlahuaca, which translates “People of the Loom”. […]

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