Last week, I had the privilege of attending my first annual meeting of the international textile arts organization WARP (Weave a Real Peace), held at Kent State University located about an hour from Cleveland, Ohio. WARP is a textile arts community that includes artists, artist supporters and sales partners like HoonArts, academics, authors, tour leaders, and other textile enthusiasts. It was an amazing experience, filled with new friends and connections (and customers for HoonArts!), education, field trips, enthralling artistry, inspiration, and lots of laughter.
This week, I wanted to share some of the highlights of the weekend with you, primarily through images captured on the fly. Since I couldn’t be everywhere, this is only a snapshot of some of the highlights I personally attended. There was plenty more! Strap on your skates and enjoy this quick sprint.
THE WELCOME CIRCLE
The WARP Annual Meeting always begins with the Welcome Circle, which is the highlight of the event for many. Each member in attendance introduces themselves and their connection to the world of textiles.
For my first participation in the Welcome Circle, I "borrowed" one of the HoonArts handwoven, hand embroidered kimono jackets from Munir of Tajikistan.
HoonArts Founder, Rikki Quintana, in Welcome Circle
THE GOLF CART EXPRESS
We stayed in campus dormitories and ate in the student dining halls, which brought back memories of our time as college students. I think most of us were happy to be past that stage of our lives, especially since climbing into those bunk beds proved a challenge for many of us.
One of the unexpected delights of staying on campus was our transport system: oversized golf carts that zipped us around as if we were on a Disney World ride.
We were delighted to be part of the Marketplace, which featured artisan made textiles from around the world.
Ready for shoppers at the Marketplace
Bring on the shoppers . . .
HoonArts Silk Road Textiles Display
Sharing and Learning at the Marketplace
Guatemalan Backstrap Weaving Treasures From Lidia Lopez de Lopez
Happy HoonArts Customer-Seven Sisters Eco-Printed Silk Scarf
EDUCATION: A Sampling of the Sessions
Jessika Pinsky, Founder of Praxis Fiber Workshop in Cleveland, From Local to Global: The Journey of a Textile Organization (HoonArts is in discussion with Jessica about a Silk Road Textiles Exhibit in their Gallery in 2025)
Presentations by Kent State University textile arts faculty members:
Janice Lessman-Moss, Disovery/Dissemination/Exchange
John Paul Morabito, A Queer Tangent in Tapestry
Presentation by the Rustbelt Fibershed: Clothing and Ecosystems: The healing Potential of a Local Textile System
Reggie Meredith Fitiao, presenting live virtually from American Samoa: U’a, I’e, O’a ma isi/Bark, Beater, Brown Dye & More: Making Siapo in Leone
WARP Member Closing Presentation by Normal Schafer:
Threads of Connection in Oaxaca and Chiapas: Meeting Textile Artisans Where They Live and Work
One of the topics Norma discussed was a topic close to my heart in relation to HoonArts—avoiding cultural appropriation as we work to bring world attention to the artistry of our artisan partners.
THE GALLERY EXHIBITION
The Kent State University Downtown Gallery invited WARP members to put together a curated exhibition of textiles from around the world. The result was a showcase of the beauty and diversity of textile artistry represented within the organization.
HoonArts was honored to participate in the Gallery Exhibition with our red poppies on black silk scarf from Seven Sisters of Kyrgyzstan, which I often tell people is our “booth magnet” at any live event. It quickly got too crowded to capture a good photo, but you can admire the red poppies at this link. Our inventory is down to just a handful of these stunning scarves, so you should act quickly if you want to snag one now.
Maren Beck Explaining Artistry of Weavers in Hill Country of Laos at the Gallery
FASHION SHOW & LIVE AUCTION
Checking out potential Fashion Show finery from Bhutan
A number of WARP members strutted their most beautiful handmade fashion in the live Fashion Show. I participated, wearing my brand new Suzani Embroidered Long Jacket designed by Sanjar Nazarov. Unfortunately, since I was IN the fashion show, I wasn’t able to capture any of the action, because we runway models were in motion or lined up for the second walk throughout. Here’s me in my jacket, taken at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market earlier this month.
Reversible Silk Jacket, Suzani Hand Embroidery & Handwoven Ikat Designed by Sanjar Nazarov of Bukhara, Uzbekistan
The live auction is a fundraiser for WARP, with items donated by WARP members. Daniel Johnston an accomplished and nationally recognized ceramics artist (and more importantly, fiance of WARP Executive Director Kelsey Wiskirchen), was our auctioneer for the evening. The many beautiful items raised over $2000 on the spot to support WARP’s continuing activities.
The evening closed with a surprise donation scholarship challenge posed by Daniel. He told the moving story of the impact on his life of being taken on as a paid apprentice by a potter at age 16 after an impoverished early childhood. As Daniel put it, being paid said to me that “I had value.”
Daniel went on to challenge all of us present to donate funds to the scholarship fund (which provides scholarships to young textile and fiber artists to attend the WARP annual meeting), to offer that same statement of value to the future leaders of the textile arts world. He also promised that he would do a live dance with Norma (another WARP member and one of his earliest supporters) if we met the challenge. We did, raising over $2000, and he and Norma gave it their all!
WHAT IS WARP ALL ABOUT?
Sunday morning, before we dispersed and returned to our homes around the country and the world, we had a wonderful update about WARP– its past and its future. Shared below are some of the slides that inspired me the most.
If you would like to learn more about WARP, or join us in our collective mission and vision, visit the WARP website at www.weavearealpeace.org.