Exciting News!

How it all began!

I am often asked how I started to make these trips volunteering my time teaching new or reviving lost skills to artisans in faraway places.

Well, it all started with me co-leading a trip to Mexico in 2008. For that trip, I held a raffle at The Yarn Tree (my business which was then located in Brooklyn, NY). We raised $2600.00 which was used to buy books, shoes, and school uniforms for the children of Calpulli de Los Niños in Txaxcalancingo, Mexico.

This led me to begin raising money, volunteering my time, and teaching free natural dye workshops to artisans around the world.  I have at times had my trips paid for or partially paid for by some of the organizations I have worked with. But the majority have only been possible through fundraising. Not only do I volunteer my time, I also supply all the necessary materials for the workshops.

The artisans’ reaction is often “But why does someone do this for us?” Once I explain, they are so filled with gratitude to think that people far away would care enough to send someone like me to teach them. I am so very grateful to my donors.

Not only do I raise money to cover the cost of the trips, but sometimes I have a side project – for instance in 2010 money was raised to provide a scholarship for Creativity & Experimentation as well as an interest-free micro-loan to artisans in Oaxaca. For the trip to Rwanda, I carried 70 pounds of donated new and gently used baby and toddler clothing, in turn, these clothes were distributed to several recipients including an orphanage in Kigali.

During my travels, I met some amazing people, shared great meals, and much laughter.
It is wonderful how textiles have a universal language.

I hope to continue this work for many years to come. May I count on your support for Oaxaca 2024?

I will travel to Oaxaca, Mexico in January 2024 where I will teach 2 free 3-day Indigo Workshops.
The first in Teotitlán del Valle at Centro Cultural Comunitario Teotitlán del Valle.
The second at Calpulli Espacio Artesanal Comunitario in Santa María del Tule.

The money raised will go to cover airfare, food, lodging, and ground transportation while I am in Oaxaca as well as all materials necessary for the workshops.

Donations can be made through my fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas
If you cannot donate, please share my campaign!

All donations made on Fundraising by Fractured Atlas will be processed by Fractured Atlas. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Fractured Atlas will issue tax receipts for all donations made through a campaign.

With Heartfelt Gratitude,

In Search of Wild Silk: Exploring a Village Industry in the Jungles of India


What do you do after you follow your passion for more than 30 years? During that time, you visited silk villages, spinners, weavers, growers, and dyers and traveled across India. You took thousands of photographs and talked with hundreds of people. You traveled to out-of-the-way villages, always ready for the next one.  Well, if you are Karen Selk, you write a book! Not just any book…a book that takes the reader on a silk journey throughout India, a book filled with rich photographs, a book that is both educational and peppered with interesting stories, a book that is hard to put down!

Not all silk is the same and Karen introduces us to Tasar, Muga, and Eri silk through text and photos. This is a personal journey, and we enter people’s villages, homes, and studios. We learn about the various species of silkworms and their habitats. We follow the silkworm’s stages of growth all the way to the finished garment.

Spanning 270 pages and 30 years, Karen generously shares her journal entries. In Search of Wild Silk is a must-read for anyone interested in textiles, India, and silk!

In Search of Wild Silk: Exploring a Village Industry in the Jungles of India  is available through Amazon order here

Follow Karen on her blog





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