jueves, 17 de mayo de 2012

Traditional Mayan Textiles

The last few days in Guatemala have been been filled with fantastic outings.  Students continue to study with their teachers for 5 hours each morning.  On the hike up the volcano the other day, I encouraged students to talk to each other in Spanish only, and students took me up on the offer.  It is amazing how much conversational Spanish everyone can now speak!!  On Monday afternoon, students had an afternoon off to do laundry and relax.  Many students spent the afternoon exploring the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, we went to a Mayan village.  We were allowed the special privilege of entering the house of a family who makes rugs, clothing and other woven handicrafts in the traditional Mayan way!  This family has been creating textiles using only natural and traditional methods in their family for over 6 generations.  Students got a chance to actually help in the process of creating wool yarn from raw sheered wool, and participated in the actual weaving using machines that have not changed in 150 years!  All the spectacular colors are naturally made from plants, insects, bark and rocks.  Afterward the family served us corn tortillas and queso fresco that they make themselves.  Afterward, everyone had the chance to buy some  of these incredible items.
Hannah helps turn sheered wool into yard!!
Here, The head of the household explains how the wool is dyed using all natural materials which are layed out on the table in front of him.  Behind him, you can see the myriad of wool bundles that are already dyed and ready to be used in the weaving machine.
This weaving machine is over 150 years old!!  Here, Ariana works with the son.  Everyone in the family works everyday and the designs, which are ancient and symbolic within Mayan culture are kept and passed down through memory only.
Check out these spectacular natural colors!

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