MAYA WEAVERS { 14 images } Created 24 Apr 2017

For centuries, Maya women have weaved textiles for clothing using rudimentary and traditional techniques. In recent years those textiles have also been transformed into accessories such as handbags, hats, scarves and wraps, and into home furnishing textiles for pillows, threads, rugs and throws. They use two methods of weaving: the pedal weaver and the backstrap loom weaver. For this photo set I worked together with the Guatemala based non-profit organization MayaWorks which ¨helps women transform their skills into a means of financial support for their families by creating a market for the traditional arts of Maya artisans.¨ They partner with over 125 artisans in six communities along the Central Guatemala Highlands and have two offices: one in Guatemala staffed by local women who work directly with the artisans and one in Chicago which distributes and market the handcrafts.
To capture the essence of this ancient craft, MayaWorks kindly arranged for me to go take pictures of women working in both weaving methods in the communities of Agua Caliente in the central Chimaltenango Department and in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá which is located in the shores of Lake Atitlan, considered by many the most beautiful lake in the world. The women in San Juan La Laguna are also well organized into an association called Corazon del Lago (Heart of the Lake) which produces and markets textiles locally. They run a small shop in the main street of San Juan La Laguna and 90% of the proceeds from their sales go directly to the weavers. The other 10% goes for the association´s expenses.
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