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Jan 07

Textile Travel Wanderlust

Today’s mail arrived including a handful of travel catalogues. I do a quick flip through the pages to see if any of them include distant journeys with a remote chance of meeting textile artisans. I flag ones that may and put them aside to return to after finishing this blog. The arrival of these catalogues is perfectly timed for feeding my wanderlust soul. My calendar for the new year has a few open dates for potential travel and blocked out dates for those confirmed. Warning: What follows may fill in some dates for you too.

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala
Coincidentally, the email which arrived today was from Deborah Chandler, weaver and co-author of Traditional Weavers of Guatemala, Their Stories, Their Lives. She sent an updated itinerary for the ClothRoads Artisan Tour to Guatemala. This is our first test at taking a small group of fellow textile lovers along with us as we visit artisans and go behind the scenes from Deborah’s and Teresa Cordón’s new book. You can armchair travel along with us at the end of February into early March via my ClothRoads blog. Meanwhile, if you’re suffering from wanderlust now, read Deborah’s blog .


Tribal Weaving of the Lesser Sunda Islands
My next journey this year is to Indonesia. When I was a young shopkeeper without any budget for textile buying, my first acquisition (paid for month-by-month until paid off) was an old, indigo-dyed, handwoven Indonesian sarong. To this day, it prominently graces the wall in our living room, its origins unknown to me. Just last year, I read about a tribal weaving tour of the Lesser Sunda Islands led by British textile experts David and Sue Richardson. This yearning to travel to the islands of ikat has been deep since my first purchase. How could I not go? One of the stops includes Flores so I can finally visit my friend Alfonsa Horeng and her weaving cooperative Lepo Lorun. Alfonsa offers classes and workshops so if you’re ever in Indonesia and want to stay at her cooperative, do contact her (she’s on Facebook). And if you desire to see even more naturally-dyed ikat textiles, Sue told me there are still a few spaces on this year’s journey and a list started for 2017.

Festival Time in Mexico
Last year at this time, my bags were packed and I was heading to the Mayan Festivals, a small group tour arranged by Traditions Mexico. We’ve traveled with Eric Mindling and Traditions Mexico a few times and, fortunately for all of us, Thrums Books is publishing Eric’s book: Oaxaca Stories in Cloth with a release date of October 2016.

Speaking of Oaxaca, in our calendar posting for this month, you may have noticed the listing for the 10th International Shibori Symposium in Oaxaca this November. This combination of shibori and Oaxaca is deeply rich in technique, tradition, travel and textiles. A book you’ll want to bring along with you is Sheri Brautigam’s Textile Fiestas of Mexico: A Traveler’s Guide to Celebrations, Markets, and Smart Shopping (also from Thrums Books, releasing in October). This handy guide will tell you where to go, how to get there, and what to look for in traditional textiles–so plan now. Head to Oaxaca for the shibori conference–go early, stay late, and take in a festival or two, and shop the markets.

Moroccan Artisans
I’m not making promises, but how many of you would like to travel with ClothRoads and anthropologist/author/WARP member Susan Schaeffer Davis to Morocco?  Susan has worked and lived in Morocco off and on for over thirty years. She’s in the midst of writing a book about the artisans, Women Artisans of Morocco, with exquisite photography by Joe Coca to be published by Thrums Books in Spring 2017.
Here’s a few of enticing shots of Joe’s images for armchair travel. Find out more about Susan’s work, her travels, and yearly tour here.

Weaving Gathering in Peru
Pencil in November 2017 for the next Tinkuy in Cusco. Plans are underway for the third international weaving gathering, planned and sponsored by the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, with support from Andean Textile Arts. ATA sponsors an annual tour to the Peruvian Highlands and the one in 2017 will weave in Tinkuy as well. More information will be forthcoming this year so sign up on ATA’s website to receive updates. The dates for the 2016 tour (sans Tinkuy) are November 2-23, 2016.

Immersive Textile Programs in India
Plan ahead for 2017, especially if you’re traveling far and want to immerse yourself in culture and take a textile workshop or intensive training. Last week, Judy Frater, Founder-Director of Somaiya Kala Vidya (SKV), and Sally Holkar, Founder of the Handloom School, both sent their school and training programs. While the SKV program is underway right now, attending the program at the end of this year is possible. At your request they will also arrange small group workshops.

ClothRoads’s Textile Travel Resource
Visit ClothRoads’s Textile Travel for many other possibilities. Send us your recommends and a few snaps from your journeys. (Travel lusters will want to see what textile treasures you acquired). Share this blog on to others who have the travel itch or just want to armchair travel along with us. We’re sure to cross paths while traveling the cloth road.


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