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It was Dahyabhai's first market and his first time in the U.S. Judy Frater, Founder Director of Somaiya Kala Vidya is on right and I'm on his left.

Aug 28

Indian Hand Weaver Meets Santa Fe Folk Art Market

Spending immersive time with hand weaver and textile designer Dayalal Kudecha (Dahyabhai) from India, twice within an eight-month period, was a rich learning experience. I introduced you to Dahyabhai in January after meeting him at the weaving gathering in Peru. At that time, he had just learned of his acceptance into the Folk Art Market […]

A woman from the Jabaliya Bedouin tribe embroidering a bag.

Aug 21

Hand Embroidery, Art of the Sinai

Masterful, hand embroidery and bead artisanry often reminds me of the “hamsa”, the symbol of the hand of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Mohammed. It symbolizes patience, loyalty, faith, and resistance against difficulties. The Bedouin Jabaliya women, who create the embellished hand arts for the social enterprise FanSina, represent these qualities too. Preserving Cultural Tradition […]

Peruvian belts, known as chumpis, come in a variety of patterns, widths, and lengths.

Aug 07

5 Ideas with Steps for Displaying Narrow, Long Textiles

Displaying textiles, especially narrow, long ones such as bands and braids, can be a challenge. Dangling them over a rod is an easy solution, but not very attractive. Plus, there are visual and conservation considerations: A proper mount needs to account for any inherent weakness in the textile, be aesthetically compatible with the work, and […]

Indigo-dyed silk with spiral woodblock pattern.

Jul 30

Come Behind-the-Scenes: Naturally Dyeing and Printing Silk Fabric

How often does one get to travel to India and see the actual natural dye process and block printing of your own fabric? Follow along and you’ll get to see the video of the making of this mulberry silk, hand woven in a window-pane gauze, being created under the guidance of the Creative Bee husband-and-wife […]

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 […]

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