As I look back, I was always taken with textiles. Raised in a family of Swedish heritage in rural Northern Lower Michigan, we got along by making. My father was an amazing carpenter and my mother, a maker and gardener. With six children, we made out of necessity, and what was made was beautiful and well-crafted.
When choosing a career, I opted to study languages and eventually completed a PhD in Spanish that allowed me to travel, experience other cultures, study, teach, and research both in the US and abroad. But coming from my heritage of making, it should not have been so shocking to me to find that after investing 20 years in my academic career, I was driven to do a scary thing: give it up to take my first classes in weaving. Only after reading about and meeting others involved in the textile arts, did I realize I was not alone–many have left more traditional careers to follow their love of textiles, a discovery that validated and encouraged me in my decision.
While I continue to weave and experiment with other textile traditions, I find that my cultural and academic experiences have impacted my love of textiles. The result is this website where I write about the skilled traditions of the textile arts and the people who carry them out. I link to other textile stories around the web and feature inspirational pictures–nature, color, textiles, culture, people, products–anything that might serve as a muse for the creative spirit in all of us working with textiles.
I hope that with this site, you are inspired by stories of individuals working in textile craft, relate to personal anecdotes of my own learning and making, decide to learn a textile skill, gain an understanding of a people or culture through textiles, want to travel to experience craft for yourself, or that you just plain enjoy perusing the site at your leisure. I also hope that if you are in a place that I was, longing to do what you really love, you can find the courage and means to do so. –Amy P Swanson