Amy Kotkin is Director of Smithsonian Journeys, the educational tour program of the Smithsonian Institution. She joined the Smithsonian in 1974 and over the past 35 years has developed a wide range of educational benefits for Smithsonian members nationwide. Click here to read Amy’s bio.
When I return home from my Around the World tour with Smithsonian members in April, chances are that my suitcase will be stuffed with colorful textiles. It never fails! Wherever I travel, I’m drawn to the artistry of local weavers and needleworkers whose works I’ve found in small shops, museums, on the streets, or even strung on a closeline between village huts. More than once I’ve been grateful that textiles became my particular travel passion! Portable, unbreakable, and usually inexpensive, textiles are pretty easy to bring home…far easier than, say, brass elephants.
So what happens when these fabrics “unite” in my home? Well, many become “working” pillows on the living room sofa and the upstairs bedrooms. But they all carry wonderful memories of previous Smithsonian Journeys, and I am always delighted when friends and family ask about their origins. Take the three in this picture that hang out together in my living room. (more…)