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Textiles To Travel For

Dreaming about a guided textile trip? These organizations offer textile-related trips and tours.
Updated for Winter 2009-2010!

Robert Fletcher, Director, Active Travel, First Floor Garema Centre, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. +(02) 6249 6122;;

Shunning the 21st century technological age, skilled artisans around the world, proud of their heritage, produce beautiful traditional textiles and provide for us the focus of our Warp&Weft Textile Tours. Our programs are comprehensive and don’t forget the important historical and cultural sites at each destination. Our highly acclaimed Guest Lecturers provide an opportunity to meet wonderful people and learn of their skills, introduce excellent local cuisine, and show you the great sights, which, when combined, provide a truly rewarding travel experience. In 2009 and 2010, we present a range of tours to Egypt (October 2009), Vietnam and Lao (January 2010), and West Timor (June 2010).

Liza Fourré, 4758 Lyndale Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55419. (612) 825-0747;; In Guatemala: Callejon Lopez #22 (por San Francisco), Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala. (502) 7832 6403.

Liza Fourré organizes educational travel for artists, writers, and photographers to learn art/craft skills while experiencing Guatemala. The mission is to provide a unique, insider’s glimpse into local Guatemalan life while at the same time stretching creative horizons.

Amalia Davies, 2642 Shadow Ct., Fort Collins, CO 80525. (800) 484-2460;;

Fabric artist Amalia Davies invites fellow artists from the United States to come home to Rome with her for a workshop experience like no other. Hosted by her mother, Maria, at their family villa in the heart of Rome, the workshops offer the chance to exchange ideas, learn from fiber arts masters, explore historic Roman neighborhoods, and see fabric collections at local museums. Davies accompanies participants traveling from Denver to Rome to ensure safe arrival at the villa, where they will be greeted by Maria's southern-Italian home cooking. Due to lodging room, space is limited to ten people per retreat.

El Roda El Sharefa St., Luxor, Egypt. +(20) 95 2379660;;

Tours are available all over the Egypt. See the pyramids, sphinx, and the Nile. Try snorkeling and scuba diving off the coast. Then visit Ekmim, home of some of the oldest textiles in the world, and Kerdasa, famous for its handmade scarves. Meet village embroiderers, weavers, dyers, and carpet makers and get to know their way of life. Beauty Egypt offers a diverse travel experience with over 20 years in the tourism industry, a highly qualified staff, mint-condition vehicles, and the flexibility to tailor your trip to your needs. Student discounts available.

5580 Sobrante Ave., El Sobrante, CA 94803. (510) 275-3662;;

Dyeing damask in Mali. From a Behind the Scenes Adventures tour.
Photo: Cynthia LeCount.

On these tours, Cynthia LeCount, ethnic textile and costume expert and author of Andean Folk Knitting (Adventure Publications, 1993), is joined by other textile specialists. For example, Chloe Sayer, expert on Mexican costume and textiles, leads the Oaxaca, Mexico, adventure; Nancy Thomas, knitting author, often leads the Andean knitting and weaving trips; and Pam Allen, editor of Interweave Knits magazine, is the knitting expert on the 2007 Easter in the Andes tour.

Behind the Scenes Adventures specializes in textile, costume, and festival tours. All trips include important cultural sites. Most trips include a festival celebration; many include workshops and/or cooking classes. Trip participants meet local textile artists, designers, and costume makers in their homes and studios and watch them at work.

6776 Warboys Rd., Byron, NY 14422. (585) 548-2667;

Husband-and-wife team Tom Muir Wilson and Sherry Clark Wilson have been designing and running special-interest travel programs since 1984. Through their trips, they share their love of travel, the special craftspeople they have met, and the unique places they have found over the years. Both Wilsons were educated as craftspeople: Sherry as a weaver and feltmaker, and Tom as a woodworker and furniture designer. Tours are offered to such destinations as Myanmar, India, Mexico, Central Asia, Ecuador, the Southwest Balkans, Romania, and Morocco.

Eniko Farkas, 156 Crescent Pl., Ithaca, NY 14850. (607) 273-2179;;

Adam Molnar has been offering guided tours focused on Hungarian folk dance, music, and crafts for more than ten years. Molnar creates custom tours for any group size, length of stay, and interest. One-day sightseeing tours as well as combination tours to multiple central European countries are available. Custom Travel Hungary also offers preplanned and prescheduled tours. On these tours, participants see the highlights of traditional Hungarian crafts, visit public and private collections, have the chance to buy museum pieces, and take part in hands-on craft workshops in embroidery and beading. Accommodations include friendly, small hotels as well as home stays with families.

Pat Dalton, 10721 Cougar Canyon, Littleton, CO 80124. (303) 790-0121;;

Patricia L. Dalton, Jin Xu Tao (a national guide based in China), and experienced local guides lead tours in China focused on all kinds of needlework and textiles, as well as on historical sites. Highlights include two-sided embroidery at the Silk Research Embroidery Institute in Suzhou, Miao; embroidery in Guizhou province; weaving at the Brocade Weaving Institute in Nanjing; and production of silk carpets in numerous areas.

(800) 377-7481;;

Nancy Craft, a weaver and dyer who spent seven years living in Kyoto, Japan, studying various weaving and dyeing techniques, leads tours related to Japanese textiles and baskets. Small-group tours include visits to artist studios, selected temples and gardens, insider shopping, and gourmet cuisine.

PO Box 468, Western Springs, IL 60558. (708) 246-9466;

This fifteen-year-old organization offers programs to educate fiber-art collectors and connect them with artists. Frequent programs and tours are offered throughout the United States in conjunction with major fiber exhibitions. The group organizes trips to Poland for the International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz (in 2007, artists from fifty countries were included). The tours are open to artist and collector members of the organization and include visits to fiber and fine-craft exhibitions and artist studios.

8220 S. D St., Tacoma, WA 98408. (253) 476-3040;;

Kathy Brassill designs and lead tours to Great Britain and Ireland that revolve around fiber arts, textiles, and craft. Included are studio visits, workshops, and visits to craft centers, related shows, and events. Small groups offer personalized experiences. In addition to tours, Handcrafted Holidays provides research for people who want to travel independently; the company wrote and sells the book Resources for the Creative Traveller, a handbook of United Kingdom and Ireland resources for knitters, weavers, spinners, dyers, and feltmakers.

Jane Sinauer, PO Box 634, Leverett, MA 01054. (413) 367-9200;;

Jane Sinauer crafts Horizons’ tours by exploring the destinations herself first—sampling hotels and restaurants and meeting artists, guides, and innkeepers. She believes that travel is a fine-art and learning adventure. Group size is kept small to enhance the learning experience, allowing travelers to visit out-of-the-way places and meet local artists. Tours last for one to two weeks. Trip dates are chosen to avoid crowds. Some tours include workshops, and all tours center on one culturally rich location in Europe, Southeast Asia, or Central America.

Barbara Arlen, 210 E. 68th St., 6E, New York, NY 10021. (212) 628-1289;

Join global textile designer Barbara Arlen for a tour of India February 1–20, 2008. Participants will take part in hands-on craft workshops in Kerala, Marharashtra, and Orissa given by award-winning ikat and Paithani weavers, block printers, and expert natural dyers. Travelers will see temples, mosques, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and museums in each state and will visit the homes of private collectors in Mumbai.

Fiona Wright, 7 Church St., Gresford 2311, Australia. 61 2 49 389 410; 91 98 69 080 318;;

Fiona Wright is a textile artist and was a Steiner/Waldorf teacher. She first encountered India when doing research for a master’s degree. Wright, with Parveen Nayak, who has worked in the tourism industry of India for nineteen years, leads textile-focused tours around Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Tours include hands-on workshops in artisan studios. Group size is kept small, so one-on-one contact with local people is possible. Indian Adventure also offers custom tours, organizing transportation, accommodation, and itineraries to meet individuals’ specific needs. Participants can travel by train, plane, camel, or elephant.

Studio 4, Mushroom Works, St. Lawrence Rd., Newcastle Upon Tyne NE6 1AR, Tyne & Wear, England. 0191 228 9888;;

Ingrid Wagner of Ingrid Wagner Real World Journeys in Morocco with two weaving-trip participants. Photo: Anna Kari.

Ingrid Wagner, a textile designer/maker, global traveler, and language teacher, offers small-group travel to Morocco. Participants learn how to weave, knot, and embroider in the Moroccan rug-making tradition; visit local dyeing and spinning workshops; and create their own pieces of work. The trips are based at a weaving workshop in the village of Sidi Mokhtar near Marrakech. Real World Journeys backs sustainable economic development.

Conference World Tours, 1200 Sheppard Ave. E, Ste. 201, Toronto, Ontario, M2K 2S5, Canada. (613) 299-7505;;

Since 1996, Joyce James, a travel agent and knitter, has planned tours and escorted small groups to a variety of destinations, including Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Turkey. Tours are tailored for travelers with an interest in knitwear and textiles. Visitors have the opportunity to meet local designers, guilds, and craftspersons, tour mills, visit yarn shops, take workshops, and enjoy relaxed time for knitting. Museums and archeological sites and other cultural experiences are also on the itineraries. Recent tours have been accompanied by noted authors, teachers, and designers: Jean Frost on A Knitting Journey to Wales, Yorkshire, and London; and Sally Melville on a Viking Journey to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Norway.

Tina Topuridze, 2 Panjikidze str., Tbilisi 0160, Republic of Georgia. (995) 32 375456;;

Tours offer those who wish to learn about Georgia’s cultural heritage and traditional craft the opportunity to attend master classes in various regions of the republic. Classes with local artisans include embroidery; kilim, rug, and Gobelin weaving; knitting; natural dyes; and feltmaking. Tours scheduled by request.

Inonu Cad, 390/74 Hatay-Izmir, Turkey. Contact: Asli Kumari, 01190 533 368 31 13;;

A yurt in Mongolia. From a trip offered by Melitour. Photo: Meli Seval.

Mehlika Seval (Meli) leads groups and individuals on cultural tours, educational tours, and special-interest tours with themes that include weaving, traditional textiles, history, archaeology, steam trains, arts and crafts, Biblical sites, and St. Paul. Melitour offers tours in western Turkey, eastern Turkey, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia and west China on the Silk Road, and Morocco.

Judith Pineiro, Manager, Upper Level Memberships, Museum of Arts & Design, 40 W. 53rd St., New York, NY 10019. (212) 956-3535 ext. 132;;

The Museum of Arts & Design’s travel program is open to current members of the Collectors Circle and higher membership levels. Trips focus on art events and include visits to local attractions.

976 Tee Ct., Incline Village, NV 89451. (800) 670-6984 or (775) 832-5454; (Dr. Antonia Neubauer, president) or (Katie Post, operations coordinator);

Traveler, humanitarian, and teacher Toni Neubauer is the guiding spirit behind Myths and Mountains and founder of READ Global, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering communities by increasing literacy and access to education. For more than twenty years, Toni has traveled within Asia and Southeast Asia, getting to know the people and their way of life. Among tours offered are The Art of Bhutanese Textiles, Bhutan: Fabrics and Festivals, Laos: Weavings and Monasteries, China: Festivals and Textiles of the Miao and Dong, and Argentina: Artisans of Tradition/The Tapestry of Life.

10545 Snyder Church Rd., Baltimore, OH 43105. (740) 862-6554;;

A Ndebele woman outside a traditional house in South Africa. From a tour led by Nancy Crow. Photo: Nathaniel Stitzlein.

Nancy Crow, who has been creating contemporary quilts for twenty-five years, and Nathaniel Stitzlein, an artist who has lived in Brazil and studied ceramics while living in South Africa, are joined by local tour leaders on art trips to destinations such as France, Mexico, South Africa, and Guatemala. The tours are designed to take visitors off the beaten path to discover the textiles, arts, and crafts of the regions; small groups of travelers meet local people in their homes and studios and visit colorful markets. Crow and Stitzlein also produce art workshops at the Crow Timber Frame Barn, Crow’s studio at her farm east of Columbus, Ohio.

Sasha McInnes,;

A 2008 PUCHKA Peru textiles/folk art/market tour group in the southern city of Arequipa with Peruvian friends and teachers. Photo: Sasha McInnes.

PUCHKA, which means "drop spindle" in Quechua, was founded by Sasha McInnes who was raised in Peru, owns a home there, and considers Peru an open museum of cultural and artistic adventure. Its mission is to guide visitors into the heart of Peru's artistic and cultural heritage, promote awareness of Peru's textile and folk-art communities, and introduce visitors to the nation's textile and folk artists through hands on workshops with internationally renowned textile/folk artists. Participants also experience the culture of Peru through visits to: collections of ancient textiles, folk-art, and colonial art; ancient archaeological sites; Peru's music, cuisine and colorful markets. Participants also  have the unique opportunity to experience behind the scenes of the high-end alpaca-fashion and yarn industry. Included during the twenty-two-day tours are Lima, Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, Cusco, The Sacred Valley of the Inca, and Machu Picchu.

Faye Doyle, 40316 304th Ave., SE, Enumclaw, WA 98022. (360) 825-1204;;

Quilt Seminars at sea has been hosting quilt cruises for over 15 years with three or more cruises launching annually. Cruises last 7–12 days. A variety of classes are available on days at sea, and travel itineraries are organized so as to ensure exposure to multiple instructors. Ships feature game rooms, a library, restaurants, theaters, gyms, spas, and shopping venues. Quilting supplies are available including sewing machines.

Jerry Saber,;

Since 1997, Jerry Saber and his wife have been leading tours to Japan. Tours include visits to rock gardens, castles, and other noteworthy locales. Travelers experience the traditions of Japan and natives' ways of life. Shopping at local flea markets gives visitors a closer look at the wearable textiles of Japan.

Jill Heppenheimer, (505) 982-1737;
Jill Heppenheimer, owner of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery and a textile collector with an art-history interest, has been arranging textile tours of Japan with Nancy Craft of Esprit Travel & Tours. Heppenheimer has also organized textile trips to England and Laos and is planning one to central and northern India with another tour-logistics company.

Nadine Sanders, POB 268, Chehalis, WA 98532 (360) 740-0914;;

Musician and fiber educator Nadine Sanders invites curious travelers to experience the vibrant arts culture of past and present Scotland. Nadine has traveled extensively in the country. Meet her textile artist friends with visits to studios. Go behind the scenes with talks by museum curators. Take a workshop from an acclaimed Scottish fiber artist. Experience the energy of Celtic music in sessions and performances. Drink in the ancient stone sites and their mysteries. We will travel around the country, as far north as Orkney Isles and west to Harris & Lewis. Anyone who has yearned to visit Scotland and who loves all kinds of textiles will have their senses saturated. 14 day, annual spring tours for 15 travelers.

Eric Mindling, 303 Avery St., Ashland, OR 97520. (541) 482-0818;

Traditions Mexico offers tours and workshops focusing on the artisans and folk artists of Oaxaca and neighboring states in southern Mexico. They take you beyond the guidebooks into the villages and homes of rural Mexico for face-to-face, hands-on experiences with artisans who carry on indigenous traditions that are many thousands of years old. They offer rare and unique tour and workshop opportunities focusing on the master skills of artisans and their rich world in the little known, culturally diverse lands of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Michoacan. This season’s tours and workshops include: Fiber Arts of the Oaxacan Coast, Zapotec Tapestry Workshop, Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshop (focusing on murex, cochineal, and indigo), Mayan and Zapotec Textiles and Culture, and Highland Maya Backstrap Weaving and Dyeing.

Gwen Erwood, 5500 Bucks Bar Road, Placerville, CA 95667. 1-800-762-4216;;

Travel Concepts International offers many fully escorted tours involving crafts, carpet weavers, and beadmakers. Participants visit places such as Ecuador, Southeast Asia, Turkey, and Russia and learn about the art, culture, and history of the people in these areas. Tours are limited to fifteen participants.

2320 S St. NW, Washington, DC 20008. (202) 667-0441;

The Textile Museum sponsors educational travel tours to destinations around the world, primarily to areas with vital textile traditions. All tours are led by experts in their fields and are accompanied by a tour operator and a representative of The Textile Museum. Past trips have included tours to Central Asia, Japan, Peru and Bolivia, Syria and Jordan, India, Russia, Madagascar, Mali, and beyond. Future trips are in the planning stage.

Stephanie Schneiderman, (734) 769-7839;;

Dyed wool hangs to dry in the Zapotec weaving community of Teotitlan del Valle in Mexico. Tia Stephanie Tours offers weaving and natural-dye workshops in this community. Photo: Stephanie Schneiderman.

Stephanie Schneiderman, who grew up in Mexico City, leads tours throughout Mexico that specialize in the country’s textile traditions. The unique study journeys are led by experts and are designed for both textile and culture enthusiasts. The study journeys are designed to introduce travelers to the rich textile-arts traditions in Mexico, from the Maya weavers in Highland Chiapas, to the ikat-dye traditions in Tenancingo, State of Mexico, to the preservation of natural dyes in Oaxaca.

Patrick Mahoney, 367 W. Broadway, Gardner, MA 01440. (508) 254-8265 (answering service), (39) 329 07 77 215 (Italy, after March 31);;

Patrick Mahoney produces workshops that combine instruction and hands-on creativity in a variety of topics, including textiles and fiber arts, with travel and culture in Tuscany, Italy, and other destinations. Textile workshops specialize in tapestry, silk painting, and knitwear design.

For information, contact Orysia Tracz, For booking, contact Martha Banias, Great Canadian Travel Company, (800) 661 3830, ext. 208;;

This tour will explore the traditions and expression of the Ukrainian people through their folk costume and folk arts. The tour includes shopping, entertainment, dining, cultural experiences, and visits with museum curators, artists, and folk-art masters. The focus includes embroidery, weaving, pottery, woodcarving, beadwork, and pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). Tour leader Orysia Tracz is a recognized specialist in Ukrainian ethnology and culture and has been leading tours to Ukraine since 1993.

Yoshiko Wada, 696 Hilldale Ave, Berkeley, CA 94708 (510) 527-3432;;

Get up close and personal with local traditional artisans. Learn new skills & build a greater understanding of the world of fiber arts. Slow Fiber Studios tours offer an inside view of textile traditions on a local level. Programs are led by experienced artisans and art professionals, such as Michel Garcia for Provencal natural dye printing, Tsuyoshi Kuno & Hiroshi Murase for Arimatsu shibori, and Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada. Capacity very limited to provide an intimate cultural experience and learning atmosphere.

Norma Hawthorne, (919) 274-6194;

Master weavers Federico Chavez Sosa and his son Eric Chavez Santiago are sharing the secrets of traditional Zapotec weaving techniques during four-day workshops at their home studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. Designed for small groups of five weavers, knitters, dyers, artists, teachers, or any combination thereof, their workshops offer intensive instruction on their traditional art form. Contact Norma Hawthorne for details, registration, travel, and lodging information.

This information has been updated as of May 14, 2008. To add to this list, e-mail assistant editor Liz Good at



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