Posts filed under ‘Bolivian Weaving’

Global Citizens, Global Community

How big is your creative community?


Our lives as fiber artists are woven together through a common thread of passion for color, texture, technique and purpose.

This community  is bigger than you might think! Right now, around the world, people are weaving, spinning, knitting and crocheting!

Thanks to the internet, we have more options than ever before to learn and share our different techniques, styles and cultures as we manipulate our favorite fibers. is pleased to be a common thread between you and the global community of fiber artists!

Sari Silk: Helping women earn a fair wage!

Sari Silk is a 100% recycled multi-colored silk spun from recycled “saris” that women South Asia wear. Silk sari fabric is shredded and then respun into a vibrant silk yarn.

This industry helps support the many struggling economic regions of Nepal and India and mainly benefits the women and women’s development groups there.

Whether you choose to spin your own sari silk yarn from the silk fiber, purchase the sari silk yarn, or one of our sari silk kits (click on kits above, to learn more) , you’ll be helping women around the world as well as creating a truly unique product. I love Sari Silk!

 Folk Series: Bring the world to your fingertips!

For the worldly-minded knitters, travel the world and explore the culture with the Folk Series of books from Interweave Press. The history and traditions, folk stories, and regional histories from the countries of origin are presented in each volume.

What a wonderful way to connect to these folk traditions.

You too can Weave a Real Peace: Join WARP!

WarpCollagereCornersRemember the phrase, Act Locally, Think Globally? Weaving a Real Peace (WARP) is an international networking organization based in the United States that delivers. Founded in 1992, WARP offers a forum for those interested in supporting individuals and organizations that strive to maintain long-standing textile traditions.

Their resource guide is available just by clicking here! WARP was started by Deborah Chandler who wrote Learning to Weave.

Come join me at WARP’s Annual Meeting May 29-31, 2015 in the Bay Area and feel part of the global “tribe of fiber artists”. Rocio Mena Gutierrez  (read her blog)  will be giving a presentation on the Importance of Textiles to Grassroots Economies in Guatemala.

Travel to Guatemala from the comfort of your loom!

Mayan Hands, a fair-trade organization The Natural Dye Project brought the ancient craft of dyeing cotton yarns with local plants to the women of San Rafael, Guatemala and to produce these Friendship Towels with Tintes Naturals that you can now weave!


As you weave these gorgeous naturally dyed towels, you will not only be creating a set of four all-cotton towels, but you will be giving the women of Guatemala a chance of better life and honoring the skills they have spent a lifetime learning.

Over 150 kits have been sold; the women’s annual, fair-trade income increased ten-fold from the sale of these kits. A joint community effort of dyeing instructors, towel designer, graphic artist, and Cotton Clouds marketing of this kit has all been done through volunteer work.

Join the community of  our Kit-of-the-Month Members! Kits

In the spirit of continuing the community, Cotton Clouds has created a new group on Facebook: the Cotton Clouds Kit-of-the-Month Club. If you have participated in any of our monthly Kits or Clubs, please join us!

Creating Community one post at-a-time!

This group is a place to ask questions, share your projects and be inspired by the work of others. Our kits are easy and affordable, and there is something for every fiber artist! Now is a great time to check out the variety we offer and ensure that 2015 will be your year to feel creative and accomplished!

Insta-Community on Instagram!

CCIGSay Cheese! You can now connect with us on Instagram, we’re @CottonCloudsYarns. We’d love to see what you are doing with your cotton and natural fibers: spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting or even dyeing!

It is truly rewarding to feel connected to the thread of fiber artists all over the world whether here at home or half way across the globe.

Irene Schmoller, Cotton Clouds’ founder and owner.

01/19/2015 at 7:22 pm Leave a comment

The Fabric of Our Lives

I wonder why we have such a love affair with fabric.  Is it that in some subconscious way it reminds us of the intertwining of our lives.  How we in some way are all interconnected; that the warp of our everyday lives is made whole by the greater weft connections of the bigger picture we live on planet earth, within the solar system and beyond the  Milky Way Galaxy.  How earth, water, fire, air and spirit bring us together as one beautiful tapestry.  How caring and giving connects us within this greater fabric of being.   

Bolivian Chuspa

Weaving is ingrained in the lifestyle of the Bolivian women living in rural Independencia of the Bolivian Andes where Dorinda Dutcher is connecting them with their native community of dye plants; connecting weaver to weaver and weaver to the outside world of commerce and the fellowship of other weavers here in the US and beyond.   

High in the Cordillera Oriental of the Bolivian Andes

PAZA (Project Atensania Zona Andina) translates to PEACE.  PAZA has developed a series of five natural dye workshops available to rural weavers.  Two intensive “train the local trainer” courses per year continue the momentum so that this knowledge will pass from village to village and from generation to generation.   

Preparing the yarn prior to dyeing at a local workshop

The rural weavings are rustic, one-of-a-kind works of art.  The practical everyday items have been used for centuries by the Quechua people.  Each weaver crafts her weaving from sheep to finished product.  The biodiversity of the Andes provides a plethora of dye plants.  The traditional figures are woven  on rustic looms.   

Learning about & collecting native plants for dyeing

As  a result of these dye workshops and the community they create these women’s weavings have become more beautiful and diverse in color and design. As more and more local dyeplants are added to their weavings, these fabrics (which are mainly made into lovely and quite practical bags) reflect the beauty of  life high in the Bolivian Andes and the amazing women who create them.   

Colorful handspun, hand dyed, handwoven Bolivian bag for sale

Do these women spinning, dyeing weaving on a daily basis ponder the same questions as we?  Do they separate their weaving from the rest of their lives?  I think not.  They are their weavings, they are the fabric of their lives, they are the warp and the weft of the moment, intertwining of fire, air, earth, water, spirit within our Milky Way Galaxy.   

Always spinning even at an early age.

The sale of these bags helps support these women to continue living a life of rural subsistence. Contact Durinda  Dutcher at Read the PAZA blog to stay informed.

Dorinda  has these beautiful bags for sale and can arrange delivery to you.  Wholesale inquiries to shops are also welcome.  Let’s give Dorinda a hand by the purchase of these bags and donations to her sparsely funded project. Through her work in Bolivia, Dorinda is  keeping us all connected to the fabric of our lives.   

Dorinda Dutcher high in the Andes of Bolivia.

05/21/2010 at 4:25 am

A Peace Corps Project That Became Life’s Calling


Weaving on a rustic loom in Bolivia

       While at the recent annual meeting of W.A.R.P. Weave a Real Peace ( ) in Carefree, Arizona, I met Dorinda Dutcher, a fomer Peace Corp volunteer who is working with weavers in Bolivia.    Her amazing story of determination, compassion, hard work and devotion to the Quechua women in the Bolivian Andes touched my heart.  Was it because I saw myself in her, 20 years ago when I almost left everything behind to go into the Peace Corp?  Was it because I had just written in my diary that I wanted to do more than Cotton Clouds?  That I wanted to “give back” somehow to women all over the world who made their substanance living by weaving?  Is that why I went to the W.A.R.P meeting in the first place?  For crying out loud, my name means PEACE anyway and that’s all I want in this world!

Dorinda Dutcher with friends, now family.

    So, after hearing Dorinda’s amazing story of how her initial Peace Corp project of helping with tourism in Independencia never materialized, because there were not tourists there, but developed into helping the women in the Cordillera Oriental of the Bolivian Andes learn more about dyeing their handspun wool using local plants on a very limited budget (she lost her job with the Peace Corp when they left Bolivia……that’s another story for another day……….) Bonnie Tarses ( and I decided to donate a portion of the sales from Bonnie’s designs of the Cotton Clouds’ Horoscope Shawl & Baby Blanket kits ( to help Dorinda continue this project. She will be setting up a PayPal account soon to  take donations.

A day's worth of dying at Dorinda's dye workshop

     Following are photos provided by Dorinda   There are lots, lots more terrific images that take you high in the Andes. I’ll be posting more photos and lots more stories about what Dorinda is doing to help these women market their lovely handspun, hand dyed, handwoven shoulder bags so that they can continue doing this beautful handwork.  Whether I ever go and help Dorinda or not, I am dedicated to helping her continue this terrific project. 

Quechua woman weaving bag straps.

Cochineal and mordants were introduced by contracted instructors

Mother & Daughter

    The projet is called “Project Artesania Zona Andina or PAZA” (Peace) which then again is what my name means. Visit the  PAZA blog to stay informed.

05/09/2010 at 11:58 pm

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