The Art of Backstrap Weaving
The backstrap weaving loom, small and mobile, can be used anywhere. It can take one month to weave a two yard scarf from start to finish. Backstrap weaving is integral to Mayan life.
The position of the loom gives the illusion that the weave is coming from the abdomen of the weaver - emphasizing the woman as a creator and goddess of fertility. The practice of backstop weaving also has maternal benefits because of the position of the strap on the lower back.
In the 1980's the civil strife in Guatemala resulted in the loss of over 400 weaving styles. In the 1990s, the women of San Juan decided to form Casa Flor Ixcaco so that woman of all ages could keep the culture and craft alive, as well provide livelihood opportunities for the widowed, poor, and young.
Today, there are 23 women weavers that are working with Casa Flor Ixcaco.
The Woven/Casa Flor Ixcaco project is about art, technology, and the global market. Traditional and elegant Mayan art is isolated from the city, however, connecting the work of the cooperative to the international community allows for an unprecedented market bridge - and a hope of sustainability. As consumers, we have the power to choose to wear artisan crafts that support present day livelihood development, environmental sustainability, and a rare and surviving Mayan culture of women in the arts.