“Women & Textiles: A Path to Peace”
WARP’s 2019 Annual meeting was held at the Georgetown University Conference Center in Washington, DC. This was an incredibly dynamic meeting, with attendees from all over the country (and many international attendees), as well as over 50 new WARP members in attendance. Below, you will find an overview of our key participants and activities.
WARP welcomed a wonderful group of Scholarship & Assistantship recipients, who contributed greatly to the meeting:
Alice Brown Memorial Scholarship Recipients:
- Mari Grey is from Guatemala and has worked with rural textile artisans in Guatemala to produce unique textile designs and reach international markets. She currently lives in Austria, pursuing her master’s in Sustainable Development, and will be returning to Guatemala to work on her thesis. Her work with Guatemalan artisans, Kakaw Designs, can be found online at kakawdesigns.com.
- Alexander Sebastianus Iskandar is an Ikat weaver and Batik artisan, trained from Java and Sumba. He received a diploma in Fiber Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Alexander has worked with Threads of Life Bali, Bebali Foundation and Sukkha Citta as an ethnographer and studio craftsperson, and his work can be found at www.asebastianus.com.
Memorial Assistantship Recipients:
- Lola Faturoti is the creative director for Lolalovescargo, a business consisting of two parts: Part 1 is the preservation of traditional and indigenous designs, in this case merging decorative appliqué with contemporary sportswear. Part 2 is up-cycling discarded sweatshirts and tee-shirts, into fun, and thoughtful clothing. Lola’s work can be found at www.lolalovescargo.com.
- Dakota Mace is a Diné (Navajo) artist and researcher that focuses on the cultural appropriation of Indigenous design-work, material culture, and textile history. Mace received her MA and MFA degrees in Photography and Textile Design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her BFA in Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has developed workshops and lectures that focus on the appropriation and influence of Indigenous design work within fashion and popular culture.
- Sheila Meyer has worked with artisan groups worldwide as a consultant in product development, production and marketing for USAID, the World Bank, Aid to Artisans and NGOs for 25 years. She is also owner of the wholesale business One World Button Supply Co, designing buttons and knitting and sewing accessories with crafts makers from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Her retail Etsy site is Buttons and Sew Forth.
We had a fantastic slate of speakers, panelists, and demonstrators:
- Chapuchi “Bobbo” Ahiagble is a Master Weaver from Denu, Ghana. He grew up among Ewe weavers and apprenticed with his father, Gilbert ‘Bobbo’ Ahiagble and his uncles near the town of Agbozume. Chapuchi traveled to the USA in 2002 for a two month educational tour with his father where he lectured and demonstrated at the Oakland Museum of California, Skidmore College in New York, and the Detroit Museum of Art and in thirty public schools in the Washington, D.C. area. Presently, Chapuchi continues the ancient and traditional art form of Ewe Weaving in the United States.
- Cynthia Alberto is founder of the Brooklyn-based healing arts studio Weaving Hand, which seeks to bridge traditional and contemporary weaving techniques, drawing inspiration from ancient communities of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Her artwork, performances, and public weaving projects honor traditional and artisanal techniques while also incorporating unconventional materials and a zero-waste philosophy. Throughout her artwork and teaching, Alberto continuously explores the many intersections between weaving and healing, as well as craft and sustainability.
- Labiba Ali is a Bangladeshi textile researcher and designer based in New York. Through her design practice she is interested in telling stories which are at the intersection of culture, history, and craftsmanship. Her recent dress collection celebrates Bangladeshi handmade fabrics that also works as a historical document of Bangladesh’s textile heritage. Labiba has an M.A. in South Asian Studies from Columbia University where her thesis looked at Dress and Muslim Identity in medieval Bengal.
- Marcos Brown and Kalindi Attar are founders of Khadi Oaxaca. Inspired by the life and vision of Mahatma Gandhi, they work with more than 250 families working to revive local traditions in Oaxaca, Mexico. The cotton is ecologically grown on the coast of Oaxaca. In the mountains it is carded, spun, woven and embroidered by hand, using only natural, local plant dyes. All income received is invested in fostering self-sufficiency and a sustainable economy in the indigenous communities where they live.
- Yasmine Dabbous, PhD, is a Beirut-born visual culture artist and researcher. Dabbous studied textiles and jewelry at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and taught as assistant professor of journalism and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Dabbous founded Kinship Stories, a line of tribal art necklaces revolving around values, stories and craftsmanship. To read the full transcript of Yasmine’s keynote address to WARP, please click on the following link: Yasmine Dabbous Keynote Speech WARP
- Lisa Raye Garlock is Assistant Professor at the George Washington University Graduate Art Therapy Program. She also works with the international non-profit, Common Threads Project, co-training therapists in using story cloths, along with other interventions to help women recover from the trauma of gender-based violence. Her recent sabbatical project was creating the Storycloth Database, an online resource that highlights collections of story cloths that focus on human rights issues. Her own story cloth work, is a series of cloths relating to the current immigration issues here in the US.
- Laura Lemunyete, born and raised in Wisconsin, has been living in Kenya since 1994, working primarily with women’s groups on livelihood enhancement projects that range from camel management and water source development to children’s education support and income generation activities. She has been working with, and a member of, the Ngurunit Basket Weaver’s Cooperative Society for almost 20 years assisting the group to develop and market their product.
- Brenda Rosenbaum, a Guatemalan anthropologist who did her field work among Mayan women in both Guatemala and Mexico, was struck by their great need and their great talent as backstrap weavers. Moved to take action, she and her husband Fredy co-founded Mayan Hands with the aim of providing Mayan weavers with good work opportunities on a fair trade basis. That was 30 years ago, and since that time Mayan Hands has worked with hundreds of women, making a significant difference in their lives.
- Elka M. Stevens, PhD, teaches in the Department of Art at Howard University. In addition to teaching in both the United States and Ghana, West Africa, Dr. Stevens has worked as a fashion writer, a product development specialist for Aid to Artisans in Ghana and for the Ministry of Trade and Modernization of the Capital City, both in Accra, Ghana; a micro-enterprise trainer for the Peace Corps in Ghana; a technology trainer for the Ghana Tourism Capacity Development Initiative, a marketing project in Accra, Ghana and in numerous positions in the retail industry.
- Cathy Stevulak is a Canadian filmmaker and international program consultant. She is attracted to stories that can connect us around issues and solutions for a humane, diverse and innovative world. Her interest in textiles, fashion for global development and the advancement of artisan enterprise led her to direct and produce the award-winning film, THREADS. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Cathy lived internationally and worked for organizations including United Nations Development Programme, Canadian International Development Agency, and CARE. For further information about THREADS film story: www.kanthathreads.com
Thrums Books sponsored a book signing reception for recently published books by WARP members:
- A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala, Deborah Chandler, Published by Thrums Books
- A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Peru and Bolivia, Cynthia LeCount Samaké, Published by Thrums Books
- Threads Around the World: From Arabian Weaving to Batik in Zimbabwe, Deborah Brandon, Published by Schiffer Publishing