Spoiler Alert!

Wild Fibers - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - Linda Cor­tright Pub­lisher and Ed­i­tor *To see a video about the women from Pan­gong go to: www.wild­fibers­magazine.com

Ihaven’t a clue about the gen­e­sis of the term “spoiler alert.” I know peo­ple in so­cial me­dia use it when they just can’t seem to keep a se­cret and in­stantly Tweet, “Lady Edith (from Down­ton Abbey) is preg­nant!” and 4 mil­lion fol­low­ers let out a col­lec­tive gasp and in­stantly re-Tweet the news. If you hap­pen to be one of those peo­ple that doesn’t watch Down­ton Abbey dur­ing its regular Sun­day evening broad­cast and choose to de­lay view­ing via some type of techy tool, you might not know Lady Edith is preg­nant, and now the Tweet­ers have spoiled the sur­prise.

El­e­vat­ing the is­sue of spoiler alerts to a broader au­di­ence, take the Olympic Win­ter Games at Sochi. An­tic­i­pa­tion is shat­tered as peo­ple dis­cuss the win­ners of the ice danc­ing com­pe­ti­tion or who Pres­i­dent Putin’s curl­ing part­ner is at the Krem­lin.

I am rais­ing this ques­tion about spoiler alerts be­cause it oc­curs to me that I have a few of my own, for ex­am­ple, this ed­i­to­rial. After­all, this space is where I tell you what is about to hap­pen in the next 80 pages and there is a fine line be­tween a creative tease and spilling the beans.

It’s the same with open­ing my re­frig­er­a­tor door. There is a nar­row mar­gin be­tween an ac­tual spoiler alert of “Oh-my-god-whatthe-hell-stinks?” ver­sus “Whoa... maybe it’s time to throw out the Gen­eral Tso’s!”

I prom­ise you there are no un­planned preg­nan­cies in this is­sue, not a sin­gle knocked-up goat or Ti­betan yak at­tempt­ing to land a triple lutz. Ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one is strictly ac­cord­ing to Hoyle, even if this is about wild fibers.

This is­sue, how­ever, does con­tain a strong royal zest that may give you a case of palace envy. Felt­maker Jan­ice Arnold takes us in­side her ex­tra­or­di­nary Palace Yurt (made of wool) re­quir­ing a space al­most as big as Down­ton Abbey to ex­hibit. (The Cooper-He­witt Na­tional De­sign Mu­seum housed in a New York man­sion proved am­ple enough.)

Mean­while, veteran trav­eler and pho­tog­ra­pher Torie Ol­son re­turns from a royal yurt ad­ven­ture in Kyr­gyzs­tan. In ad­di­tion to vis­it­ing the coun­try’s pre­miere yurt build­ing work­shop (who knew?), Torie en­coun­ters Tal­gar, a Kyr­gyz fal­coner and his beloved Tumara, who boasts a six-foot wing­span. Anx­ious to show off his bird’s lethal prow­ess, Tal­gar lets her take flight on a rab­bit hunt. (No spoil­ing! You will have to read the ar­ti­cle to see if the rab­bit sur­vives.)

Sev­eral years ago I ran a cover story (Spring 2010) on Nilda Cal­lanaupa and the Cen­ter for Tra­di­tional Tex­tiles in Cusco, Peru. Nilda is an ex­tra­or­di­nary force in the world of indige­nous weav­ing and once again took cen­ter stage this past November with the wildly suc­cess­ful Tinkuy de Te­je­dores (A Gath­er­ing of Weavers) in Cusco.

Hun­dreds of weavers pa­raded through the streets in long black braids, crim­son col­ored hats, and lace-up boots that were the envy of ev­ery Goth-minded on­looker – not that there were a lot. The three and a half days of schol­arly lec­tures and work­shops, along with cer­e­mo­nial song and dance, fur­ther ce­mented the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing na­tive tra­di­tions, which leads me not only to the point of this ed­i­to­rial, but the mis­sion of Wild Fibers.

This is now my 11th year dis­cov­er­ing and shar­ing the world of wild fibers with all of you and it’s time for me to re­ally walk the talk. (Spoiler Alert!) Af­ter sev­eral years of care­ful preparation and train­ing, I have de­cided to build a cash­mere com­mu­nity cen­ter in Pan­gong, In­dia: the home of my dear friend Kon­chok Sto­b­gais. This is by no means a small com­mit­ment, but the ul­ti­mate benefits per­fectly em­body ev­ery­thing that both I, and Wild Fibers, stand for.

As you will read­ily un­der­stand af­ter read­ing, “Keep­ing Pan­gong’s Fu­ture Warm,” the no­madic fam­i­lies who live in In­dia’s high Hi­malayas lead a life that seems to dance daily with death, but is also com­pletely en­twined in their herds of cash­mere goats. Con­struct­ing a cash­mere com­mu­nity cen­ter in Pan­gong will give these women an ap­pro­pri­ate shel­ter not only to spin cash­mere into hand­knit­ting yarn, but also a warm build­ing (with bath­rooms) where their chil­dren can safely play close by. To my way of think­ing, of­fer­ing these women a sim­ple struc­ture where they can earn a de­cent wage from their creative skills seems far more de­sir­able than the cur­rent (and only) al­ter­na­tive to swing­ing an axe by the side of the road.

When I was com­pil­ing the pre­vi­ous is­sue (our 10th an­niver­sary!) I was si­mul­ta­ne­ously mak­ing ar­range­ments for my trip to In­dia to meet with Ex­ec­u­tive Chief Coun­cilor of Ladakh, the Hon. Mr. Rigzin, and of­fi­cially launch the cash­mere com­mu­nity cen­ter in Pan­gong.* Now, it is my turn to of­fi­cially launch it to all of you.

As fol­low­ers of the magazine’s mis­sion it is my dear­est hope you will choose to sup­port this wild new un­der­tak­ing. Per­haps you can do so in­di­vid­u­ally, or per­haps you can en­cour­age your lo­cal fiber guild to play a role as well. If I have learned any­thing in my years of travel it has been the in­valu­able role of com­mu­nity, the women in Pan­gong have cer­tainly shown me that re­peat­edly. And we, the wild herd, are a com­mu­nity too.

The only thing stand­ing be­tween bit­ter cold and a warm fu­ture for these women is $45,000 – it’s a lot of ru­pees. But the build­ing will pay for it­self in both pro­duc­tiv­ity and qual­ity of life be­yond what most can read­ily imag­ine —cer­tainly not Lady Edith!

Wor­ried that my West­ern-style cloth­ing might not keep

me warm, a no­madic woman loaned me her coat.

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