Guatemalan Maya Textiles
Some of the most exquisite in the world!
Maya textiles are well known for their beauty and exquisite woven designs. Weaving traditions go back thousands of years and have evolved over time. Woven on a back strap loom with cotton or maguey thread, tie-dyed or woven with dyes with plant fibers, the earliest weavings found in Mesoamerica may date back to 1000-800 B.C!
Men and women traditionally wore specific trajes – or dress – for each village. A Maya blouse or huipil takes months to complete. Men work on foot looms to create the skirts – cortes – worn today by many women.
Guatemalan handbags have become very fashionable and some may be pricy! While buying a beautiful bag in Antigua may cost $25, you can spend hundreds of dollars for designer bags on line through various companies including Maria’s bag!
A favorite shop in Antigua for special home furnishing is Colibrí (4a Calle Oriente No. 3-B), founded in 1984by Vey Smithers to assist indigenous women who had been widowed by the Civil War. Well known as a world class textile shop, “…weaving at home allowed them to support their children through their craft while at the same time developing self-confidence and organizational skills”. Colibrí provides the thread to the weavers who then receive cash (not consignment) upon delivering beautiful placemats, bedspreads and tablecloths.
Based on each group’s traditional designs, weavers work with new colors that we all enjoy in our homes. Technically not a coop, Colibrí works with more than 250 Maya weavers from remote villages, many of whom speak one of the current 21 different Maya languages in Guatemala. They do not necessarily understand each other. Many of the older Maya women do not speak Spanish and rely on a younger group member to speak Spanish to the dedicated Colibrí staff. See you at Colibrí in Antigua!