I believe my love for handmade items goes all the way back to my own early interest in artwork from kindergarden. I loved to draw, and I loved looking at other peoples artwork. My Norweigan background and visits to Norway introduced me early on to other forms of artwork including an amazing array of handiwork: rosemaling bowls, embroidered national costumes, and of course the beautiful handknit sweaters. It seems that everyone knows how to knit in Norway. I've tried my hand at rosepainting as well as knitting and have a hat, mittens, and a half-finished sweater to show for many hours of purl 2, knit one....
I went to my first rug auction during my teen years. Though I could afford nothing, it was astounding simply to contemplate the amount of work that goes into the creation of even a small handwoven rug. They were simply beautiful. My first purchase of a handwoven rug was from an antique store in Birmingham, AL for my apartment. It's a Baktiai rug woven in Afganistan.
As other rug collectors know, once you are bitten by the rug bug, it is hard to stop ...even when all of your floors are covered with beautiful rugs. Resisting the purchase of a another rug, one whose color palatte is so pleasing, whose weave is so meticulously well-executed, whose rarity almost guarantees that it will be difficult to find a similar one again ... well ... it is just hard to resist.
So, yes, I'm smitten. Our home is beginning to look a bit like a textile museum. Since my first rug purchase in 1995, I've collected many handwoven rugs as well as an array of textiles, from Guatamalan huipils, Miao baby carriers, to suzanis from Uzbekistan. The most satisfying purchases are those bought during visits to the country in which they are made, and particularly buying from the people who actually made them. Though that is not the case for most of my textiles, some of my prize weavings are from a six week sojourn to Guatemala in 1999. I went to study Spanish (see Travel/Central America/Quatemala) and chose Guatemala because of the strong Mayan presence there. My two week stints in Antigua, Xela, and Tordos Santos, and weekend trips to the amazing markets like Chichcastenango provided many opportunities to interact with weavers selling their beautiful handicrafts. I brought home a suitcase filled with beautiful weavings and embroidered textiles. That was the beginning of my textile collection, and I have no doubt that it will be a life-long vocation (obsession).