Long before women could read or write, they spun their stories in thread; they dyed, wove, stitched, and robed themselves in their own skill. Cloth is a language springing from the hands and imagination of women; I want to keep it alive.
I have traveled to find artisans who carry the stories in them, taught to them by mothers and mother’s mothers. I want to provide a market for those keeping their legacy not only alive but lively, engaging, breath-taking, true - and allowing the rest of us, the world beyond, to say, Yes, that is glorious. A handwoven shawl, a striking color wrung from the earth, a garment fit for a woman of strength.
To women in the west, the worth of this handwoven legacy is obvious. It brings joy, originality, memory, meaning, soul, power. To the artisan, it brings change - financial self-sufficiency, the chance to choose her life, to honor her cultural past, to lead and elevate the future.
ibu is women around the world believing in one another, belonging to one another. It is weaving a new economy for women. It is wearing the signature of change.
Ibu is all of us together rising into the full stature of our self-created lives. ibu, the world over: women of respect.
~ Susan Hull Walker
Susan Hull Walker began illoominata.com in 2010, an online business dealing in vintage global textiles, which led to contact with artisans producing compelling new work and her desire to provide a marketplace for their exquisite cloth. Susan is a weaver and textile artist who spent 18 years as a congregational minister in Portland, Maine, San Franciso, and most recently, Charleston, South Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Trenholm Walker.
Susan designs her ibu line of women’s garments in collaboration with global women artisans, drawing from each native textile tradition and interpreting it for her market. She is working currently in India, Madagascar, Chiapas, Laos, Guatemala, and developing relationships in posts beyond.