Long Thread Podcast Episode 8: Keith Recker, True Colors

From Bloomingdale's to the International Folk Art Market (with stops on 5 continents), Keith Recker keeps following his passion for color.

Anne Merrow Aug 7, 2020

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As an author, color expert, and publisher, Keith Recker's path returns over and over to handmade textiles. His extraordinary textile journeys, from his time as a buyer for major home furnishing companies to researching his books, have led him to dyers, stitchers, and other artisans around the world.

In this episode, Keith shares some of the amazing places his love for color has taken him. He recounts learning about traditional embroidery and glimpsing the resurgence of traditional ikat in Uzbekistan, where decades of Soviet oppression couldn't root out the love of brilliant designs (thank goodness!). He introduces us to people who surround themselves with turmeric and indigo, exploring the connection between health and natural dye.

Keith has a foot in two worlds: As a color consultant for Pantone and other companies, he observes trends and works in the language of scientific, precisely repeatable hues. As a natural-dye enthusiast and creative director for the International Folk Art Market, which is held every year (except 2020) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he celebrates unique handmade cloth that bears the unmistakable mark of its makers.

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Keith's most recent book, a revised and updated edition of True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes & Pigments, is published by Thrums Books.

Anne Merrow is a former editor of Spin Off magazine and a cofounder and editorial director of Long Thread Media.

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