UK’s Selvedge Magazine Includes Chiapas Textile Article by Norma Schafer

While I was traveling in Japan this spring, I received an email from Selvedge Magazine editor Laura Gray inviting me to contribute an article to the June 15, 2019 publication. Topic: Anything you want to write about Chiapas textiles, she said.

As I thought about the Maya women in Chiapas villages who weave, the most impact they have on me is how they choose to incorporate the designs of their beliefs and everyday life into the cloth. Cloth has meaning which gives it life and longevity. So, the article is about what these designs mean and their significance to the weavers.

Preview of the article about woven identity in Maya textiles of Chiapas. Gala huipil is woven with naturally dyed wool with supplementary weft technique, Tenejapa, Chiapas

You may have difficulty reading the text of the article I wrote above. I reformatted it from PDF to JPG so I could publish it here. I encourage you to purchase the issue that will be published on June 15, 2019. It contains an compendium of information by other contributors, too, including Marcella Echavarria, Anne Menke and Ana Elena Mallet who live and work in Mexico, collect and study the indigenous textiles woven and embroidered here.

I will be leading a Chiapas Textile Study Tour during winter 2020 with Textile Fiestas of Mexico author Sheri Brautigam. Dates are February 25 to March 4, 2020. There are a few spaces open. Please send an email to if you want to join us.

Gala huipil, cotton, San Andres Larrainzar, Chiapas
A woman’s signature is figurative, woven into the bottom line of the cloth

Selvedge, Magazine organizing and hosting a World Fair in London, July 2020. I’d like to go and have applied to do a presentation with my goddaughter, Zapotec linguist Janet Chavez Santiago. If accepted, our talk will be about cultural appreciation, cultural appropriation, identity and the politics of indigenous cloth. I’ll keep you posted about whether it will come to pass!

16 responses to “UK’s Selvedge Magazine Includes Chiapas Textile Article by Norma Schafer

  1. I learned so much from your article. Hope you get
    Selected to go to London.

    Regards, Susanne

  2. This is so great! You rock!

  3. Will look for your article in Selvedge and hope you and Janet are chosen to present in London. Kudos Norma!

  4. Wonderful article. Looking forward to traveling with you again soon.

  5. Your article says so much, and so well, Norma. Yes…felicitaciones! I am crossing my fingers that you and your goddaughter are selected to present the nuances of indigenous cloth at the 2020 World Fair in London; I cannot think of anyone more suited for such a presentation. Now I must figure out how to get the June copy of Selvedge magazine, a publication of which I had not heard until today! Hopefully you can autograph it when I next see you…

  6. Catherine Ljungquist

    One of my favorite textile magazines, Norma. I’m so pleased for you & the women of Chiapas that you are being published in it.

  7. Norma this is so exciting. I love Selvedge magazine. It is a feast for they eye.
    I subscribe online which isn’t as expensive as having it delivered to the USA.
    Congratulations on this effort !

  8. So very happy to read your article in the recent issue of Selvedge which, is a fabulous magazine out of the UK – I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning and I should be receiving the Issue any day now. Wonderful article Norma! Felicitaciones!

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