ARTIST OF THE LOOM
˜In the textiles of Chiapas, Mexico, Maya women tell a story in their weavings and textile embroidery about their understanding of time, space and the mythological forces of nature and the cosmos. The weavings of these Highland Maya women tell their individual stories and so assert their independence in creating an art form with designs and symbols derived historically from their ancient ancestors to which they have added their own modern interpretation of earlier design˜.
Traces of the World collaborates in Mexico with different artisan communities in the Highlands of Chiapas. Each of these communities with its precise recognizable weave techniques. With all these artisan communities we work under sustainable and ethical standards. 95% of the artisans in this groups are woman, these weavings groups still exists as a way for single moms, widows, and unmarried women to make a living.
Chiapas is one of the states of Mexico that Its main producers of handcrafts. Culturally, the most important reason is the various indigenous ethnicities that are found in the state, which has one of the highest indigenous populations in Mexico. In general, the handcraft producers are indigenous, mostly living in the Los Altos (Highlands) region. This area lacks industry, so handcrafts play an important role in the economy, alongside agriculture and work in service occupations. In addition, many indigenous see handcraft production as a way to preserve traditions.
Many textile products are still made completely with traditional methods, from materials such as wool, cotton thread and natural dyes. This include most handwoven cloth, which is made on backstrap looms. These products are made by women artisans in their own homes in conjunction with other domestic duties, but sometimes these women work in collaboration with others. Much of the embroidery designs are traditional as well, containing old symbolic images from a syncretism of Mayan and Christian worldviews. This is particularly true of the needlework of the Tzotzils of Larráinzar, Chenalhó, Chamula, Zinacantan, Pantelhó and Tenejapa, where designs can indicate where the wearer comes from. The quality of these pieces varies, with the best of these winning national awards and prized by international collectors.