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Jun 13

ClothRoads Scarf of the Month: Ecuadorian Ikat Shawls

When you’re in the homeland of the traditional Ecuadorian ikat shawl, known as the macana, you must search it out–which is what I did on a recent trip. It quickly became my pick for the ClothRoads scarf of the month (I figured you wouldn’t mind that it’s a shawl). This→ Read more

Jun 06

The Making of African Kuba and Shoowa Raffia Cloth

Reach out and touch. Isn’t that what we fiber folks do? We see something and our hands immediately reach out for the feel. That’s how I met artisan Emmanuel Kasongo. Well, okay–I met his handwoven raffia cloth first. Let me explain. I was drawn into his show booth by the→ Read more

May 23

Cochineal: The Royal Red of Natural Dyes

What do the British Redcoats, Cardinal Red, Incan ‘blood’ Red have in common? All of these “royal” red cloths obtain their natural-dye colorant from the small insect cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)—its size about a grain of Arborio rice. Living on cacti, primarily in the Oaxaca area of Mexico and between the→ Read more

May 16

From the Indigo Vat to Woven Cloth in Laos

Why is it every time I think of an indigo vat, the lyrics “Can’t you smell that smell?” pop out of my mouth? Assuredly, Lynyrd Skynyrd was not referring to indigo in his song. But here I was at the Lao-Japan Traditional Cultural Education Center in Vientiane and out it→ Read more

Apr 25

Kala Raksha, 20 Years Preserving Traditional Art and Empowering Artisans

Call it comforting, enriching and soul-satisfying. That’s what it felt like upon entering Kala Raksha, an Indian handcraft artisan center in Kutch, Gujarat. Hearing the chatter and laughter of the women as they sat in a circle stitching, listening to their strong voices as they told their stories about creativity→ Read more

Apr 18

Weaving On the Edge in the Peruvian Highlands

Breathless. That’s what I was after dancing at 13,000 feet in the highland weaving village of Sallac, Peru. How could I refuse the outstretched, gnarled hand of an elder, who smiled and gestured that I too should join in the festivities. Last week was the Sallac community’s 8th anniversary of→ Read more

Apr 11

Bandhani Indian Tie Dye Resist

There’s sensuousness to reading a cloth, taking one’s fingers and lightly passing over the surface, like braille. To me, Indian bandhani is the braille of all artisan-made cloth resists. Simply stated, bandhani is one form of tie-dyed cloth. It’s a technique of creating patterns on cloth by resisting parts of the→ Read more

Mar 30

Discovering Handmade Textile Treasures: Ajrakh Block Printing and Natural Dyeing

In this dry, desert Gujurat-region of India, the starkness of the landscape was a marked contrast to the vividness of the naturally-dyed cloth, the edges weighed down by rocks, drying in patches on the ground. A stones throw away, the exterior of a building deceptive of the riches contained within.→ Read more

Mar 21

All by Hand: Block Printing Cloth at Anokhi

It was an exquisite day for a journey to the centuries-old, preeminent region of woodblock makers and printers–blue skies, clear air, rich vegetation surrounding us as our van climbed up the switch-backed road outside Jaipur, India. Lake Sagar below was mirror-like, reflecting the deep-hued colors of the saris worn by the→ Read more

Mar 01

Charmed by Ñawi Awapa, a Peruvian Tubular Weaving

Ñawi Awapa, a woven tubular edging→ Read more