A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala by Deborah Chandler

A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala

The vibrant character of Guatemala is most visible in its hadwoven textiles, which are still in everyday use and readily available in native markets all over the country. Review: Huipils, Guatemala, Luck, and Love by Karen Brock A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala is an excellent resource for discovering artisans, markets, shops, and those storied regional textile traditions. A Textile […]

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Don’t Call Me María part 3

dont call me maria

The struggle continues over who can claim ownership of the colors, threads and shapes of indigenous weavings. “The women no longer knew how to weave,” recalled Angelina Aspuac, a 40-year-old community activist from Santiago, Sacatépequez. In the Mayan community, where the huipil and corte have been integral elements of culture, the observed loss of weaving became a call to arms. […]

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Don’t Call Me María part 2

Indigenous women

Indigenous women are fighting back to receive recognition of their textiles’ artistic value and a fair market share in the sales. A cloth huipil, open like a book, lay on Natalia and Flavio Otzin’s wooden table, sunshine bouncing off its bright red, purple and blue designs. Otzin swept her hand across the shapes as she explained each one, reading the […]

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Fashion Weeks in Guatemala

Haute couture designers boast of their Fashion Weeks held in many great cities. Designers, buyers, journalists gather for each city’s displays, especially crowded at the Big Four shows in Paris, London, Milan, New York. Starting with department show fashion walks a century ago, growing in mid-century to global fashion events eight times a year, Fashion Weeks are vitally important for […]

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Textiles Handwoven in San Juan La Laguna

textiles Guatemala

Cooperative Keiji Chiij is teaching others to conserve Guatemala’s cultural textile traditions of growing cotton, natural dyes and weaving. If you are looking for quality handwoven goods that support local weavers, preserve Mayan tradition and are environmentally sustainable, San Juan La Laguna, with its numerous shops boasting natural dyes and superb local woven cotton products, offers an array of unique merchandise. […]

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Maya Woman Series on Exhibit

Wendy Carpenter’s work in weaving, dyeing and basketry spans more than 35 years. The accomplished fiber artist has spent the past nine years working with craftsmen and women in Central America and Mexico on textile designs and organizing sewing cooperatives, as well as custom-cutting jadeite and quartz geodes for making jewelry. Her Maya Woman series on exhibit at La Antigua […]

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The Art of the Gourd

The women show their latest creations (the author is in the front on the right)

Mayan Hands is a small, fair-trade organization that has been working with Mayan artists since 1989. It works with approximately 200 weavers, organized in groups of 12 to 50 women in 11 western and northern Guatemalan highland communities. Its mission is to assist these women by providing the skills and markets necessary to earn a regular income, enabling them to provide for their families and gain control over their lives.

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Linking the Past with the Present

text & photos by Kathy Rousso Ornate textiles often reveal historical records and can be a visual language, but what about a common maguey net bag? In one remote Guatemalan village this utilitarian object can tell us something about the people who make them. In most of the country net bags or morrales are made using various looping techniques. This […]

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