I like to think of weaving as connecting people across time and space, uniting everyone who has ever marveled to see fabric taking shape in the mingling of warp and weft. We all love to weave, but for some weavers, the art is about more than pleasure. It’s about empowerment, an escape from extreme poverty and into self-sufficiency.
Mayan women are the poorest sector in Guatemalan society, often monolingual, illiterate, and in need of opportunities for advancement. A group called Mayan Hands works with these women, forming organized groups of of Mayan weavers to design, price, and create handwoven products that will sell in international markets.
Weaving means a lot to Mayan women, who believe the art was passed down from the Moon, the goddess Ixchel, who taught the first women weaving when time first began. The art has been passed down, mother to daughter, for thousands of years. Weaving is essential to Mayan religious and social life, but it has also historically been one of womens’ major economic contributions to family income.
If you would like to support these Mayan weavers, you can do so on their website. You can also check out the Tintes Naturales Towel Kit on the Weaving Today store, which contains fiber dyed by Mayan artisans through the Mayan Hands project. After all, we weavers have to stick together!