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Feb 05

A Whole Village of Floral Embroidery

The Festival of San Sebastián in the village of Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico culminates in an explosion of fireworks and cutting-edge fashion of floral embroidery embellishing skirts, shawls, and tunics of Zinacantecs. The raising of the “jaguar” tree followed two days later by a full-blown festival provided the most colorful backdrop→ Read more

Jan 30

Textile Travel Leads to Maya Festivals

Would this description of a festival intrigue you: “Burning incense, booming fireworks, parades, horse races, singing, ritual dances and costume that ties the Maya of 1,000 years ago with the Spanish conquest and the present day.”? Add to that it takes place in textile rich Chiapas, Mexico, which says to→ Read more

Jan 08

Colorful Embroidery Radiates at Chiapas Festivals

My first visit to Zinacantán in Chiapas, Mexico was in 2011. Fast forward to my next one in a few weeks. This time, I’m better prepared for what embroidery, hand weaving and textile fashion may unfold as I’ve been reading, Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas, the newly released→ Read more

Dec 18

A Peruvian Tradition Brings Joy to the Children of Weavers

A toy, a rare treat of hot chocolate mixed with oatmeal, a piece of traditional Christmas bread – these simple gifts can make the holiday joyful for children of the weavers of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Peru (CTTC). Known as Chocolatada, this gifting is a Peruvian tradition.→ Read more

Dec 11

Traditional Handknits from Estonia

The start of a blustery winter has descended and the annual unpacking of woolen handknits from my mother’s former toy chest begins. In it I find the traditional, geometric-patterned mittens skillfully made by a knitter in the rural village of Kihnu, Estonia—a gift from Estonia knitting historian and folkloric knitter,→ Read more

Dec 04

Andean Handspinners Are Master Makers

It’s the time of year when the pressure mounts for us makers. We so desire to gift someone with something made by hand that we start knitting or spinning or sewing or “fill-in-the-blanks” right about now. And if the gift is an accessory, there’s time to complete it. Or if→ Read more

Nov 20

Handknitting Peruvian Hats in the Highlands

It’s like reading braille except it’s knitted versus punched. Called grutas  meaning lumps, this distinctive handknitting technique produces a textural stitch like none other. The hats, designed and knit by the women and men of the Accha Alta community in the Peruvian Highlands high above the Sacred Valley, are a→ Read more

Nov 15

Visiting the Shibori Town of Arimatsu

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on the cloth road with friends in Japan. My long-awaited visit to the shibori town of Arimatsu, a former post town on the feudal Tokaido Road, had finally arrived. Since the early Edo Period (1600s), this has been a center for shibori. With→ Read more

Nov 06

Shibori: A Shaped Resist Cloth

Shibori is a Japanese word referring to the various types of embellishing cloth by shaping it and binding it before dyeing. In my last writing on this subject, I explained the various types of bound and sewn resists. Let’s look at specific examples of Japanese shibori techniques:→ Read more

Oct 30

Woven Dreams of T’nalak Ikat

Strip, split, knot, design, tie, dye, weave, pound, iron. Each of these steps goes into the weaving of the exquisitely complex T’nalak, a resist-dyed (ikat) abaca fiber, which is backstrap woven by T’boli women in the southern Philippines.→ Read more

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