Discover the Art of Travel

We founded NatureQuest, a leader in active travel for the discerning explorer  in 1992. Since then our journeys have been based upon one simple conviction and one heartfelt mission.  We believe that there is an undeniable magic to personally-involving, adventurous, small group expeditions that immerse one in the treasures of each carefully chosen destination.  Our mission steadfastly remains that of encouraging a love and understanding of this planet through responsible travel with truly intimate, and often spontaneous contact each land and its people.

 

Loom Dancer Weaving Odysseys is a natural spin-off for NatureQuest focusing on the rich textile traditions of this world full of so many wonderfully diverse styles of global fiber art to discover and explore.  Each year, a handful of journeys focus on and explore the various fiber arts centers of the world.  Created for adventurous fiber arts enthusiasts of all kinds, our odysseys offer the discovery of colorful, culturally rich destinations combined with an opportunity for hands-on textile experiences in the style and tradition of that country, taught by local masters.  

 

In addition to providing participants with one-on-one experiences with local textile experts, we also strive to be responsible stewards of the money entrusted to us through participation in our trips. Our tours offer aid in sustaining worldwide textile populations by funneling a significant amount of this money and support back into these indigenous communities through our tours and interaction.  We invite you to join us for rich tapestry of experiences. 

 

 

 

 

Our Director and Guide

Cari Ann Sample-Malver

Cari has been in the travel industry for more than twenty-five years and has traveled extensively throughout the world.  Based on her passion for travel and a desire to help in fostering a love and respect for the many peoples and environments of the world, Cari founded the adventure travel company, NatureQuest in 1992 dedicated to responsible travel worldwide.  For the past 19 years, she and her company have offered a variety of uncommon journeys around the world designed for active travelers. 

    

Cari is an award-winning weaver trained in the Rio Grande tradition of weaving unique to the Southwest.  This style of the art was brought to Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century.  Rio Grande weaving is a result of the interweaving of the Spanish, Mexican native and local Indian pueblo weaving cultures.  Cari is passionate about weaving and exposing others to the many forms of fiber art around the world.  In addition to leading our textile expeditions, she teaches weaving classes here at home. 

Cari weaving in Oaxaca

 

It is Cari's belief that, as adventure travelers, we all share the rare opportunity to have a positive impact on our destinations.  She feels that learning as much as possible about each land, its people and rich culture helps us to fully understand the global puzzle.  "It's through close encounters, we learn to care about the people we meet, minimizing our differences and deepening our respect.  I believe that only through education and personal involvement can the pristine areas and rare cultures of our planet remain intact."

Click here to visit Cari's Online Weaving Gallery  www.loomdancer.com

 

Guide and Textile Expert

Ginger Snip

Born in Germany and raised in Texas, Ginger learned to sew and knit as a child.  She graduated from the University of Maryland in Textile Marketing and spent years studying weaving and dyeing at the Southwest School of Art and Design in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to being an award winning weaver, she now co-owns and operates Needle Rock Fiberarts, a yarn and knitting salon, in Telluride, Colorado.    

At Needle Rock, she teaches knitting and encourages all who enter to delve into the rich world of fiber.

 

Ginger is a grandmother of 2, a mother of 3 and lives with her husband, dog, cat and 4 horses. She weaves on a Rio Grande loom at home and loves to travel and interact with fiber enthusiasts everywhere.

Guide and SAORI Mentor

Karen Elrod

Karen has recently retired from working in the computer world as a Database Administrator and is now pursuing her real passions in the fiber arts world.  She learned to weave in the eighties, knit in the nineties and began spinning a few years ago.  Although Karen does not consider herself a master in any one area, she likes the variety of exploring the many aspects of fiber.  The study of fiber is the entry point into her lifetime mission to study historical cultures, those particularly involved in weaving, knitting and spinning, etc. 

Karen was born and still resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She is a member of the Mary Meigs Atwater Weavers Guild, a past Treasurer of the Millcreek Irrigation Co-op, and an ESL adult education teacher.

 


 

Assistant Guide

Kathy Strathearn

After retiring about 12 years ago from property management, Kathy began weaving on a Rio Grande loom at a class in New Mexico.  She has made many Rio Grande blankets and rugs (at least 25) on her 4-harness Rio Grande walking loom that adorn the homes of her family.  Two of Kathy’s Rio Grande tapestries can be seen at the Denver Art Museum at its SPUN exhibit.

 

A few years after learning to weave, she adventured to the Navajo Indian Reservation to learn the Navajo way of weaving and makes it a yearly commitment to go visit her friends on the Reservation and gain greater insight into Navajo weaving and its traditions.  Having portable Navajo style looms makes it easy to weave the many many rugs she has woven while on the go.  

Besides weaving, other interests include spinning on a spinning wheel and Navajo hip spindle, and Plains Indian style beading.  She is also a member of Handweaver’s Guild of Boulder and Rocky Mountain Weaver’s Guild.  Two study groups she is involved with are a tapestry weaving study group and a Navajo style weaving study group.

 

Kathy lives in Lakewood, Colorado, with her husband, two beautiful Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers and her nine looms with an extensive yarn stash.  She has three children and three grand children all of whom she adores. 

Social Media Marketing Coordinator

Janet Buddle

Janet grew up in Southern California but left the frenetic pace to pursue a life in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Retired from accounting two years ago, Janet is enjoying ranch life with horses and her rescued cats and dogs.  She enjoys designing and creating fiber art using crochet and teaches the craft. 

 

Janet loves to travel and finds that combining her love of fiber art and exploring the world the perfect combination.  After her daughter created a Facebook page for her, Janet jumped in with both feet and enjoys sharing and connecting people through any form of social media.

Malcolm "Rufus" MacGregor III

Clan Chief of the Loomdancer Woolobites

Malcolm "Rufus" MacGregor III was borned and raised in St. Andrews, Scotland. Adopted by the Loomdancer Woolobites while in Scotland, he quickly became their Clan Chief and Mascot.

 

While new to international travel, Rufus is a natural adventurer.  He made his inaugaral trip to Oaxaca in January 2014 where he enjoyed himself immensely and quickly became a favorite of the group.  Rufus lived it up in the honeymoon suite at Parador San Miguel (below right), tasted mezcal (below middle) and immersed himself in Zapotec culture at Monte Alban (below left).  Rufus is looking forward to many more Loom Dancer odysseys!

 

Rufus will soon have his own Facebook page and you can follow his exploits on this site.  Watch for his new adventures...