Tag Archives: Chiapas

Defense Fund for Cristobal Santiz Jimenez, Chiapas Friend

Our friend, Cristobal Santiz Jimenez, is a community leader in the Tzotzil Chiapas village of Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas. He was arrested on March 14, 2020, and imprisoned on false charges, according to the Fray Bartolome de Las Casa Human Rights Center and our friend Alejandro Alarcon Zapata.

Cristobal is still in prison, and may be there indefinitely: All court business is halted because of COVID-19. His wife and family have run out of money.

My photo of Cristobal when we visited in 2019

I am asking your help to make a gift. To secure his freedom. To provide food for his family. To provide legal assistance. To keep him safe in prison.

Any amount is appreciated.

Defense Fund for Cristobal Santiz Jimenez, Make Your Gift Via PayPal Send to Alejandro Alarcon Zapata alejandroalarconzapata@gmail.com I am sorry. We are not set up as a charitable fund and this is not tax-deductible. You would give, as we have, out of the goodness of your heart.

We just visited Cristobal and his wife Rosita on March 2, during our 2020 Chiapas Textile Study Tour. We have visited them for four years. They talked about the on-going boundary dispute that has turned into an armed conflict by neighboring Santa Marta, Chenalho. They were scared then, and more so now. Aldama is a smaller village, more vulnerable.

Rosita

Here is the back-story sent to me by Alejandro, who is our point-person and trusted information source.

***

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. as of March 14, 2020

Urgent Action No. 03

Incommunication, criminalization and arbitrary deprivation of liberty of community defender Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, A.C. (Frayba), documented the facts of human rights violations perpetrated against Mr. Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez, (hereinafter Cristóbal) with the following facts: The arrest was made when he left his job today at 6:50 hrs . After 5 hours of being incommunicado, we confirm that the arrest was carried out by the State Attorney General’s Office, who transferred him to Tuxtla Gutiérrez and it was at 12:20 p.m. when the family was informed of the arrest of Mr. Cristóbal and his transfer to State Center for Social Reintegration of Sentences, N.14, el Amate, based in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas.

Cristóbal Santís Jiménez, peasant, belonging to the Tsotsil peoples, is representative of the Permanent Commission of Communards and Displaced Persons of Aldama. Member of the families that were attacked with high-caliber weapons by a paramilitary group from Santa Martha, Chenalhó and stripped of their land. He is a community defender, representative of the Permanent Commission of Communards and Displaced Persons of Aldama since the conflict arose due to widespread violence and forced displacement by the paramilitary group of Santa Martha, Chenalhó. In addition, Mr. Cristóbal has held traditional positions in his native town of Aldama, as a Traditional Regidor. Mr. Cristóbal has been working as a watchman for 21 years at the 133 Industrial Training Center in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

As a spokesman for the displaced communities, he has denounced the omissions of the Mexican State due to the escalation of violence in the upper Chiapas region. He was present during the signing of the Peace Accords, which was preceded by Governor Rutilio Escandón and Undersecretary Lic. Alejandro Encinas, immediately afterwards he participated during the so-called Banderazo de Paz. He has repeatedly faced threats from both the Mexican State that demanded his silence in exchange for his freedom; as well as death threats by the armed paramilitary group of Santa Martha, Chenalhó.

El Frayba requested precautionary measures number 284/18 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to protect the life, safety and integrity of Mr. Cristóbal Santis Jiménez and his family.

For this reason, this Center for Human Rights considers that the State Attorney General’s Office is perpetrating serious human rights violations, such as criminalization, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, placing Mr. Cristóbal at a high risk to his integrity and security. personal.

This Center for Human Rights requests the immediate intervention of the federal and state government to implement pertinent actions for the prompt release of Mr. Cristóbal.

We request from national to international civil society to send your appeal to:

Lic. Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Constitutional President of Mexico Official Residence of the Pines. Miguel Alemán House. Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850 Mexico City.

Fax: (+52) 55 5093 4901

Twitter: @lopezobrador_

Lic. Olga Sánchez Cordero. Secretary of the Interior of Mexico Bucareli 99, 1st. floor. Col. Juárez. Cuacthemoc delegation

C.P. 06600 Mexico City.

Fax: (+52) 55 5093 34 14;

Email: secretario@segob.gob.mx Twitter: @M_OlgaSCordero

Lic. Rosario Piedra Ibarra. President of the National Human Rights Commission,

Héctor Fix Zamudio Building, Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos 1922, 6th floor. Col. Tlacopac San Ángel. Álvaro Obregón Delegation. C.P. 01040; Mexico City.

Fax: (+52) 0155 36 68 07 67

Mail: Correo@cndh.org.mx

Twitter: @CNDH

Lic. Rutilio Escandón Cadenas. Constitutional Governor of the State of Chiapas Government Palace of the State of Chiapas, 1st Floor Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico

Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056; Extension 21120. 21122;

Mail: secparticular@chiapas.gob.mx Twitter: @JuntoscnRutilio

Lic. Ismael Brito Mazariegos. Secretary General of the Government in Chiapas Palacio De Gobierno, 2o. Floor, Centro C.P. 29000 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Switch: (961) 61 8 74 60 Ext. 20003

Mail: secretariaparticular.sgg@gmail.com

Lic. Juan José Zepeda Bermúdez. President of the State Commission on Human Rights Fax: (961) 60 2 57 84

Mail: presidencia@cedh-chiapas.org

The children in Rosa and Cristobal’s family cooperative of weavers

And more from Alejandro ….

Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez is a community defender of human rights, representative and spokesman for Tsotsil communities in forced displacement of Aldama, cultural promoter and traditional authority. His arrest occurs in the context of criminalization and threats to his life, liberty, security and integrity due to the constant denunciations of the omission of the Mexican State in the escalation of violence in the Altos de Chiapas region. Members of the Specialized Police of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Chiapas, detained him on March 14, 2020, when he was leaving his job, kept him incommunicado for 5 hours and is currently incarcerated in the State Center for Social Reintegration of Sentenced Persons. , No.14, el Amate, based in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas, Mexico.

A journalist, Cristóbal’s friend, asked to AMLO for his liberation, check this link [AMLO is Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador]

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158611152441178&id=630961177

Thank you for doing what you can!

Alberto Lopez Gomez: Mayan Chiapas Textiles Have Meaning

Here, I am sharing four short videos from our recent 2020 Chiapas Textile Study Tour. They each explain the symbols that women weave into their cloth.

The first two videos introduce you to Albert Lopez Gomez and his reason for starting a cooperative to help his family and village of Magdalena Aldama. He wants to bring international recognition that weavers deserve for maintaining textile traditions.

Read Weaving Men in Chiapas/Casa Kuxtal about men who weave in Mexico and the effort to redefine gender stereotypes.

Thanks to Claudia Michel for this video

The last video features Alberto Gomez Gomez from neighboring San Andres Larrainzar. Here, he explains the meaning of a small textile with 160 warp threads. It took his mother Antonia Gomez Santis two weeks to weave working five to six hours a day on the back-strap loom.

We will revisit these remote villages on our 2021 Chiapas Textile Study Tour: Deep into the Maya World. Registrations are coming in and space is limited. Don’t delay if you are interested in participating.

My dream is to support the people of my village, to open doors, to sell directly, and to provide better education and opportunity for our children, and to make higher standard of living.

This huipil is a traditional motif from Magdalena Aldama. You see the red and yellow colors of the brocade weaving on the saints dressed in in these huipils at our village church.

Male and female, represent the first couple, share the same body in this weaving

Here is the head of the man, total body and feet, and on the other side is the head of the woman and her body. It’s repeated on the total width of the cloth.

Collectibles and Wearables: Artisan Made and For Sale

My tradition is to look through my collection and offer distinctive pieces for sale just before I leave Oaxaca to return for visits to the USA. Most pieces are new and never worn, collected as part of my commitment to support artisans where I travel. A few are part of my personal wardrobe, rarely used, and now too large for me. 15 PIECES TOTAL. Scroll down!

I leave for the USA on Thursday, March 12. If you want a piece, please purchase by March 10. I will mail by March 17. Each piece is numbered and priced separately. I add on $12 USD for USPS priority mailing anywhere in USA. If you live in Canada, mailing is more than double.

I will only take with me what I pre-Sell. Email your intent to purchase to: norma.schafer@icloud.com

Send me: Item # and price, your name, mailing address (city/state/ZIP). I will send you a PayPal invoice. As soon as your purchase is complete, I will mark the item SOLD. Thank you VERY much.

1A. Embroidered dress, size Petite-Small, Aguacatenango, Chiapas, $185 USD

I bought it off the hanger at Alberto Gomez Lopez’ cooperative. Oh, I thought it would fit and it doesn’t. It must be size Petite/Small.

1B. Extraordinary embroidery and smocking. New.
1C. Sleeve detail, Aguacatenango dress
#2. Indigo, purple snail dye, native Oaxaca cotton, size L-XL, $265 USD, Dreamweavers Coop
SOLD. #3 hand-loomed gauze cotton, L-XL, San Pedro Amusgos, from Remigio Mestas, $145
#4 Tenejapa, Chiapas, hand-loomed collector piece, $285 USD
#4b. Detail of bodice
SOLD. #5 San Andres Larrainzar, Chiapas, collector piece, $285 USD
SOLD. #5 bodice detail
SOLD. #6 Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, collector piece, embroidered, hand-loomed, $185
#6 bodice detail
#7 San Andres Larrainzar, size M-L, back-strap loom, $95
#7 bodice detail
#8 triangle scarf, Zinacantan, Chiapas, $75 USD
#9 scarf, hand-knotted fringe with beading (chakira), Tenancingo de Degollado
#9, extra-large Ikat scarf, Tenancingo de Degollado, $250 USD
#10 Multi-stripe scarf or table runner, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, $85 USD
SOLD. #11 Cross-stitch needle work dress, Oaxaca coast, $185 USD
SOLD. #11 bodice detail
SOLD. #12 size L-XL, embroidered, Isthmus of Tehuantepec, $70 USD
SOLD. #13 size L-XL, San Juan Cotzocon, Oaxaca, backstrap loom, from Remigio, $145 USD
SOLD. #14 San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas embroidered and woven huipil, size M, $120 USD
#15 Dreamweavers Coop, Pinotepa de Don Luis, size L-XL, purple snail dye, fine huipil, $245
#15 bodice detail, silk dyed w/rare purple snail, backstrap loom finely woven

Chiapas Textile Study Tour 2021: Deep Into the Maya World

The Maya World of Chiapas, Mexico, spans centuries and borders. Maya people weave their complex universe into beautiful cloth. Symbols are part of an ancient pre-Hispanic animist belief system. In the cloth we see frogs, the plumed serpent, woman and man, earth and sky, the four cardinal points, moon and sun, plus more, depending on each weaver.

Andrea with her award-winning huipil, San Andres Larrainzar
San Juan Chamula woman, Los Leñateros print + paper making studio

We go deep into the Mayan world of southern Mexico, from February 23 to March 3, 2021. While we focus on textiles, we also explore what it means to be indigenous, part of cooperative, live in a remote village, have agency and access to economic opportunity. We meet creative, innovative and talented people who open their doors and welcome us.

Church official, Zinacantan, Chiapas
Melanie brought 25 boxes of crayons to give to children along the way

Our dates of February 23 to March 3, 2021, are reserved in a fine historic hotel. 8 nights, 9 days in and around the San Cristobal de Las Casas highlands.

Cost • $2,695 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,195 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

We are based in the historic Chiapas mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center of the Maya world in Mexico. Here we will explore the textile traditions of ancient people who weave on back strap looms.

Ancient Maya cemetery, San Juan Chamula
We distributed more than 50 pairs of glasses to help weavers see

Women made cloth on simple looms here long before the Spanish conquest in 1521 and their techniques translate into stunning garments admired and collected throughout the world today. Colorful. Vibrant. Warm. Exotic. Connecting. Words that hardly describe the experience that awaits you.

Home goods for export made on flying shuttle pedal loom
Extraordinary gauze woven huipil from Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas

We are committed to give you a rich cultural immersion experience that goes deep rather than broad. We cover a lot of territory. That is why we are spending eight nights in this amazing Pueblo Magico — Magic Town — to focus on Maya textiles, weaving and embroidery traditions.

Saints dress in traditional garments, Magdalena Aldama
Julia and friends in Tenejapa during Carnival

Our cultural journey takes us into villages, homes and workshops to meet the people who keep their traditions vibrant. We explore churches, museums and ancient cemeteries. This is an interpersonal experience to better know and appreciate Mexico’s amazing artisans.

Embroidered skirts and shawls, Zinacantan Sunday Market

There will be only ONE study tour to Chiapas in 2021.

Your Study Tour Leader is Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. Sheri Brautigam, author of Living Textiles of Mexico, will be your expert resource guide.

Lynn and Andrea — of course! She bought it.

Take this study tour to learn about:

  • culture, history and identity of cloth
  • cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation
  • wool spinning and weaving
  • clothing design and construction
  • embroidery and supplementary (pick-up) weft
  • Maya textile designs — iconography and significance
  • village and individual identity through clothing
  • social justice, opportunities and women’s issues
  • market days and mercantile economy
  • local cuisine, coffee, cacao and chocolate
  • quality and value
Men wear flowers, too, in Zinacantan

We work with one of San Cristobal’s best bilingual cultural guides who has worked with weavers and artisans in the region. Alejandro is a native Mexican who knows textiles and can explain the meaning of the woven symbols embedded in the cloth. You will enjoy learning from him.

Keeping the edges straight on a back-strap loom

We will travel in a comfortable van as we go deep into the Maya world.

  • We visit 6 Maya weaving villages
  • We enjoy home-cooked meals
  • We meet makers and directly support them
  • We go far and away, off-the-beaten path
  • We decode the weaving designs unique to each woman and village
  • We explore three towns on their market days
  • We understand the sacred, mysterious rituals of Maya beliefs
Innovative colors with traditional designs from Alberto Lopez Gomez

Who Should Attend  Anyone who loves cloth, culture, and collaboration • Textile and fashion designers • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors • Photographers and artists who want inspiration • Resellers

Winn finds a treasure at our Regrets Sale on the last day

Daily Itinerary

Tuesday, February 23: Travel day. Arrive and meet at our hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas. You will receive directions to get from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to our hotel. The airport is a clean and modern facility with straightforward signage. You will book your flight to Tuxtla from Mexico City on either Interjet, AeroMar, Volaris or Aeromexico. There are plenty of taxis and shuttle services to take you there. Your cost of transportation to/from San Cristobal is on your own. Taxis are about $55 USD or 800 pesos. Shared shuttle is 180 pesos or about $10 USD.

Fine food and beverage is a cornerstone of our visit, too

Wednesday, February 24: On our first day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we orient you to the textiles of the Maya World. You will learn about weaving and embroidery traditions, patterns and symbols, women and villages, history and culture. After a breakfast discussion, we will visit Centro Textiles Mundo Maya museum, Sna Jolobil Museum Shop for fine regional textiles, meander the Santo Domingo outdoor market that takes over the plaza in front of the church, and visit two outstanding textile shops. We guide you along the walking streets to get your bearings. We finish the morning together with a Group Welcome Lunch. (B, L)


Carnival in Tenejapa, Chiapas

Thursday, February 25: Tenejapa is about an hour and a world away from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Today is market day when villagers line the streets filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and household supplies. Peer into dimly lit doorways to find hidden textile treasures. We’ll meander the market to see what’s there. In years past, I’ve found some stunning shawls, huipils and bags. Keep your eyes open. Then, we will visit the outstanding textile cooperative founded by Doña Maria Meza Giron. After a box lunch at the centuries- old Romerillo Maya cemetery, we continue on up another mountain to visit Maruch (Maria), a Chamula woman at her rural home. Surrounded by sheep and goats, Maruch will demonstrate back strap loom weaving and wool carding, and how she makes long-haired wool skirts, tunics and shawls. Perhaps there will be some treasures to consider. Return to San Cristobal de Las Casas in time for dinner on your own. (B, L)

Maruch using a warp board called stairway to the moon to prepare back-strap loom
It was cold in the Chamula highlands at over 7,000 feet altitude

Friday, February 26: After breakfast, we set out for a full morning at Na Bolom, Jaguar House, the home of anthropologist Franz Blom and his photographer wife, Gertrude Duby Blom. The house is now a museum filled with pre-Hispanic folk art and jewelry. We walk the gardens and learn about Franz and Trudy’s work with the Lacandon tribe and their relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After hot chocolate there we go to the outskirts of town to an outstanding women’s weaving cooperative that was founded over 40 years ago. You will learn about international collaborations and textile design that conserves traditions while meeting marketplace needs for exquisite and utilitarian cloth. After lunch on your own, we meet in the early evening to visit Museo de Trajes Regionales and humanitarian healer Sergio Castro, who has a large private collection of Maya indigenous daily and ceremonial dress representing each Chiapas region. (B)

Sergio Castro explains Naha Lacondon jungle rituals

Saturday, February 27: We set out by foot to a nearby textile collaboration that houses three different cooperative groups, one of which is founded by Alberto Lopez Gomez who was invited to New York Fashion Week in 2019. We hear presentations about creativity, style, innovation, and how to incorporate tradition while breaking new ground. Next, we stop at Los Leñateros, the hand-made paper workshop that is also a graphics arts print studio. You will have the afternoon and evening on your own. (B)

Alberto Lopez Gomez combines tradition with innovation and creativity

Sunday, February 28: This is a big day! First we go to San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where greenhouses cover the hillsides. Here, indigenous dress is embellished in exquisite floral designs, mimicking the flowers they grow. First we meander the open-air market, then visit the church, bedecked in fresh flowers. Next stop is magical, mystical San Juan Chamula where the once-Catholic church is given over to a pre-Hispanic pagan religious practice that involves chickens, eggs and coca-cola. You’ll find out why. We’ll roam Chamula’s abundant textile market, compare and contrast fabrics and designs. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Alejandro and Maria Meza Giron, Tenejapa
Magdalena Aldama back-strap loom weaving, the finest

Monday, March 1: Today, we make a study tour to the textile villages of San Andres Larrainzer and Magdalena Aldama. This is another ultimate cultural experience to immerse yourself into families of weavers in their humble homes. We will see how they weave and embroider beautiful, fine textiles, ones you cannot find in the city markets or shops. They will host a show and sale for us, and we will join them around the open hearth for a warming meal of free range chicken soup, house made tortillas, and of course, a sip of posh! (B, L)

Hearty lunch Rosita + Cristobal, Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas
Bitty peeks out from behind exquisite cloth, San Andres Larrainzar

Tuesday, March 2: This is expoventa day! We have invited one of the finest embroiderers of Aguacatenango blouses, an amber wholesaler, an organic coffee grower/roaster, and other artisans to show and sell their work. Afternoon is on your own to do last minute shopping and packing in preparation for your trip home. We end our study tour with a gala group goodbye dinner. (B, D)

Enjoying cocktail hour in hotel garden before gala dinner

Wednesday, March 3. Depart. You will arrange your own transportation from San Cristobal to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. The hotel guest services can help. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tuxtla, plus 1-2 hours for check-in. Connect from Tuxtla to Mexico City and then on to your home country.

What Is Included

• 8 nights lodging at a top-rated San Cristobal de las Casas hotel within walking distance to the historic center and pedestrian streets

• 8 breakfasts • 4 lunches • 1 grand finale gala dinner

• museum and church entry fees

• luxury van transportation

• outstanding and complete guide services

The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Cost • $2,695 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,195 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

Melanie adorned in pompoms and her Cancuc huipil

Reservations and Cancellations.  A 40% deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of  30% of the total is due on or before October 1, 2020. The third 30% payment is due on or before December 15, 2020. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After December 15, 2020, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before December 15, 2020, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date. After that, there are no refunds.

All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.

How to Register:  First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us. We will then send you an invoice to make your reservation deposit.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Pom poms are us, and Sheri models them well!
Meet our guide, Alejandro — a knowledgeable textile and cultural translator, too

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: San Cristobal de las Casas is a hill-town in south central Chiapas, the Mexican state that borders Guatemala. The altitude is 7,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have high curbs. Pavement stones are slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant across the sidewalk to the street. We will do a lot of walking. Being here is a walker’s delight because there are three flat streets devoted exclusively to walking. We walk a lot — up to 10,000 steps per day at a moderate pace. We recommend you bring a walking stick.

NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program for you.

Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

Sunnie and Phoebe from behind a flying shuttle pedal loom at rest

Chiapas Women’s Textile Cooperative Jolom Mayaetik

The textile cooperative Jolom Mayaetik is one of the oldest and most successful in and around San Cristobal de Las Casas, founded in 1980. This is the 5th year we have visited them and they continue to improve processes, increase production, build capacity and create highest quality weavings.

Mural in the Jolom Mayaetik community room

They have over 200 cooperative members in five different villages: Chamula, Zinacantan, San Andres Larrainzar, Magdalenas Aldama, and Oxchuc. Each village is known for their distinctive style of garment. All weave using the back-strap loom, are rescuing traditional designs, and are experimenting, too, with color and form to meet marketplace taste.

Elvia with her son Alejandro, who is learning to weave

I’m always reminded about what cultural anthropologist Martha Turok once told me: Innovation and creativity are vital for keeping traditional indigenous textile processes alive. Without change, the practice will be lost.

A six-foot runner incorporating designs from all the villages in the cooperative. It was on display at the San Francisco International Airport for a year, 2019-2020
Detail of embroidered blouse, made in Chenalho, Chiapas

Jolom Mayaetik president Elvia Gomez Lopez welcomed us again with open arms. She is the daughter of one of the founders. Their organization is based on mutual support of women, providing health care and education to families, guaranteeing a fair wage, and profit-sharing. Even those who don’t sell get paid.

Hand-woven agave bags take months to make!

These women are activist artisans. They subscribe to social justice and human rights. Resisting oppression is a cornerstone of their survival strategies. They are political. They participate in training programs to improve textile making skills and business skills. They are role models for young women in their villages who want to learn and work in collaboration with each other.

Beautiful decorator pillowcases, hand-woven
200 design incorporate Maya universe belief system — a geometry of meaning

Husbands and sons participate, too. Boys are learning to weave. Men help with loom-building and some are supportive of their wives’ independence, because they are bringing money to the family and to communities.

Mural of village life and taking a stand against family violence
Young woman learning to weave on the pedal loom

Before we entered the newly constructed showroom where clothing and home goods are displayed for sale, we sat down around a large meeting table to share stories, break bread together, and hear from some of the cooperative leaders. The beauty of doing this first is to gain an appreciation for the values, goals, challenges and opportunities that Maya women face in their lives.

Julia considers this hand-woven huipil from San Andres Larrainzar

In this cultural exchange of sharing and asking questions, we come to know people as individuals, to hear their stories, and to appreciate the time it takes — often months — to create a handmade textile. Then, as we consider what we may want to purchase, we have a better sense of value for a woman’s time and materials.

Hand-embroidered flowers adorn a pure cotton blouse, Chenalho, Chiapas

We brought gifts of eye glasses of varying strengths to help weavers and embroiderers see better. We brought scissors, embroidery floss and scissors. We brought crayons and books for children. We brought our goodwill and desire to support the efforts of the cooperative by making purchases and making memories.

This mural diagrams the cooperative’s mission statement for all to see

Thanks to our textile study tour travelers for contributing photos to this blog post: Lynn Nichols, Bitty Truan, Claudia Michel, Sheri Brautigam, Marsha Betancourt, Winn Kalmon, Margaret Sherraden.

We are offering this Deep Into the Maya World: Chiapas Textile Study Tour in 2021. The itinerary will be the same but the dates are February 23-March 3, 2021. If you want to join us, complete the Registration Form at the top of the banner of this website and email it. We will then send you a deposit invoice.