What are the threads that bind friendships? This past Sunday, disparate friends of Dee Lockwood’s came together to celebrate her life, to share their memories, to laugh, to cry. Dee was ClothRoads’s business partner and a long-term friend; she left this life too soon on June 23. I’m sharing some of these memories because many of you have been part of the web having met Dee over the years at shows, in the ClothRoads studio, or traveling on the cloth road.
Our journey began thirty years ago having first met at the Textile Arts Centre in Chicago. Dee moved to Colorado to become controller at Interweave Press in 2000, and when Dee retired from there, she, along with a few of my other so-called retired colleagues from Interweave, Linda Stark, Suzanne DeAtley, and Linda Ligon, launched Thrums LLC with sister companies ClothRoads and Thrums Books. The threads that bound our friendship were woven together in a shared passion of the textile arts.
The Beginning of ClothRoads
I clearly remember when we laid the first threads for the idea of ClothRoads. The five of us (noted above) had traveled to Santa Fe for the annual folk art market and we had returned to our casita laden with our textile treasures. We talked about our shared love of culture and textile traditions. We asked ourselves what could we do, given our backgrounds and interests, to give back to the artisans who had so enriched our lives, how could we support them, what was needed? We began journeying to places where we met talented artisans and discovered entire villages of weavers, spinners, dyers, knitters and embroiderers. In 2011, ClothRoads was launched and Thrums Books the following year–both companies created to support the beauty, skill, and textile legacies that we saw and the people we met while traveling. We found ways to create market opportunities for these artisans and their textile cultures with a fair and sustainable model while using our publishing skills to educate, inform, and foster textile appreciation. Dee was with us the whole time creating business spreadsheets, figuring out our inventory management, setting up our infrastructure.
Here are some memories of Dee from my Thrums partners:
“Some of my most vivid memories of Dee are in Mexico and Central America on several of our Thrums trips. Dee loved Zocalo life. She would get up early in the morning and head to the center of town. She always came back smiling and with a few purchases that she would share with us from the many vendors and children that she befriended during her morning journey. She always came back with a huge contagious smile.” –Linda Stark
“Here’s the thing about Dee: On the one hand, she had a wicked sense of humor often bordering on sarcasm; on the other, she was one of the most caring and selfless and kind people I’ve ever known. Whether it was for family (which first and foremost included her stepson Joe), or friends, or acquaintances, she was a source of warm comfort. She was always there.
Then there’s this: She was a paper hoarder, and her desk and surrounding area always resembled the county landfill. But at the same time, every number, every detail was perfectly filed in her big brain. The amount and complexity of information she could track was stupendous.
In one of our recent rambling conversations, she said that she should have stuck with being a librarian. Tracking and storing ideas mattered to her more than tracking and storing numbers. I think she did both, superbly.”—Linda Ligon
“Dee was my flamenco groupie. In the years I was dancing, Dee would always be there clapping to the beat. I like to think that the music and dance was an inspiration to her “detour” she took in spring 2015 when she traveled for three months throughout Spain taking in art, architecture, music and dance. [Dee shared this time in a blog aptly named, “Dee’s Detour”.] –Suzanne DeAtley
While Dee will no longer be traveling with us on the cloth road, may this final detour find her on one even more magnificent.