How to Safely Store (Most) Textiles

Christina GartonHow-To

Keeping your textiles on a shelf away from light and potential water damage isn’t enough when it comes to delicate antique or heirloom cloth. Sometimes improperly storing cloth can cause as much damage as improperly displaying it.  Roll, Don’t Fold The biggest mistake made with many heirloom/antique textiles—especially those brought out infrequently, such as extra-special table linens—is folding them before storing them. Any time you fold a piece of cloth, you’re creating places of weakness at the folds and especially at the corners. For modern pieces of cloth or those used regularly, folding isn’t a big deal, but for fabrics that are already brittle or that will be in storage long-term, folding causes damage to the cloth. Anyone who frequently … Read More

Donor Profile: Jean Cleavinger

Jannes GibsonMeet Our Donors

Spirited conversations with ATA donor Jean Cleavinger revealed that we both grew up in Iowa so it was hard not to spin off into tangential conversations. Jean’s father was director of the Iowa State Historical Museum in Des Moines from 1959-1980. Her mother worked at the Des Moines Register. As an only child, she spent time in her father’s taxidermist shop at the museum. He was well known for his work on birds; together her parents wrote the book Waterfowl in Iowa. Her mother’s father from Spirit Lake went on to be the doctor at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Jonas Poweshiek, a Mesquakie Indian from Tama, Iowa, who adopted her father, was like a grandfather to her. The … Read More

Tips and Techniques for Hanging Textiles

Marilyn MurphyHow-To

“How do I hang this?” Without a doubt, this is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Displaying textiles on your walls allows you to be surrounded by exquisite artisan beauty at all times. But by the very nature of this art being constructed of fiber, there are inherent characteristics requiring specific ways to mount and display textiles in order to preserve them. So what are some of the considerations for displaying a textile? Do you want it framed on a background cloth, hung on a decorative hanger, or mounted so just the piece shows? Each of these requires a different preparation. A proper mount needs to account for any weakness in the cloth, be aesthetically compatible with … Read More

Cultural Loss and Revitalization

Stefanie BerganiniIndigenous Connections

ATA’s mission statement is focused on helping the people of the Andes preserve and revitalize their textile traditions. What does that mean? Why do these traditions need preservation or revitalization? All cultures change over time. The fact that culture is not a fixed monolith is one of the most fundamental concepts in cultural anthropology. Instead, a group or society’s culture constantly evolves as group members experience and respond to the world around them. When cultures shift as a result of two different groups coming into contact, that sharing or blending is what anthropologists call “acculturation,” and it’s a process that’s been happening for about as long as there have been humans on this planet. In many cases, the process of … Read More

How Your Donations Help Andean Artisans

Anita OsterhaugBehind the Scenes

“Native peoples do not look for salvation from worlds beyond. . .The greatest of spiritual mysteries may be revealed just beyond the front door, in the life of a community.” ― Israel Morrow As a member of the ATA community, you help support Andean textile traditions through cultural preservation, education, and economic development. Over the years, our donors have helped Andean artisans to revive ancient textile techniques, helped provide business education for Andean weavers, helped build weaving centers, and even provided holiday joy for elders and children through Chocolatadas. But have you ever wondered how the ATA board allocates and manages your donations? Well, the answer lies in our mission statement: “Supporting the people of the Andes in their efforts … Read More

Indigenous People Face Higher Risks With COVID-19

Stefanie BerganiniIndigenous Connections

Around the world, indigenous people are bearing a heavy burden from COVID-19. For many native peoples, coronavirus is a double-whammy: it exacerbates existing inequalities at the same time that it introduces new challenges. Indigenous groups often experience what social scientists call structural vulnerability: a situation in which systemic issues like racism, sexism, or poverty (among others) combine to predispose people to a higher risk of harm. When it comes to medical issues, structural vulnerability manifests in health disparities, or instances in which one group of people carries a higher burden of illness, injury, or death than other groups. On a global scale, for example, indigenous people have life expectancies up to twenty years lower than average, and suffer from disproportionately … Read More

Timoteo Ccarita Sacaca—Master Weaver

Ercil Howard-WrothUncategorized

As I watched Timoteo, a master weaver after more than forty-five years, work with the weavers in his Peruvian community, I realized I was also watching a master teacher. Small groups of young weavers led by more experienced weavers were learning a discontinuous warp technique (also called scaffold weaving or ‘tillca’). Timoteo observed the groups and from time to time would tell a teacher to add something to the instruction or correct how the technique was being taught. Through this type of layered learning (wherein students learn technique, and at another layer teachers learn to teach and improve their own weaving), Timoteo and the other older accomplished weavers were passing on the precious weaving techniques of their ancestors to future … Read More

Board Member Profile: Reflections on a Life Touched By Textiles

Jannes GibsonMeet Our Board

Memories flood back: Trying to get the rhythm of my grandmother’s treadle sewing machine when she taught me how to sew at age 10 . . . at 16 learning to knit from the neighbor who made me the classic blue and white sweater with skaters on it that I still have—a 1940s pattern.  (Interesting that both of my daughters love textiles but are makers and creators in different forms.) My interest in textiles has been a life-long journey. My mother, who got her masters in painting at the University of Iowa in the 1930s, often drove us to the countryside, pointing out colors, textures, and landscapes—encouraging us to try new things and new colors together. Travel has enhanced my ability … Read More

A Day in Pisaq: Falling in Love with a Land and Its People

Sandi CardilloTravel Tours

From the moment our plane banked over the Andes in the final turn for the landing in Cusco, I was awestruck. I leaned over my husband Richard’s shoulder, as we both looked out the window and simply said, “Wow.” We live in Colorado, so mountains are not new to us. The Andes, however, are truly special. You can see it. You can feel it. This is a majestic and sacred place. The Andean Textile Arts tour has been on my life-list for a long while. While I am struggling neophyte weaver, I am a lover of all things fiber. I love the color of hand-dyed yarns. I love putting my hands in a big bag of wool. I love creating … Read More

2020 Textile Tour of Bolivia: POSTPONED

Pam ArtTravel Tours

After much discussion among the ATA board of directors and consultation with Kevin Healy, ATA advisory board member and Bolivia expert, we’ve made the decision to postpone this year’s Bolivia tour until the fall of 2021. We’ve been monitoring the evolving Bolivian political situation over recent months. After the general election last November, the results were challenged, an interim government was put in place, and a new election was announced for early May. Now, less than two months from that vote, the latest dynamics in Bolivia point to a post-election period that could be a troublesome time with potential unrest and protests. At the very least, we won’t know until May which way the election will go nor what the … Read More