If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a fiber junkie. When we first starting talking about moving to Mexico, all I could think of were the opportunities that awaited to learn an ancient textile art or two.
I first learned to weave in high school thanks to a seniored art teacher with a similar affinity. Over the years she had established an entire weaving studio with rug looms, table looms, bead looms and spinning wheels.
My folks bought me a Harrisville floor loom as a graduation present, which I promptly set up in my first tiny house in college. And get this — I just dug out this photo and then noticed the date…15 years ago tomorrow!? What are the chances!?
So, you can imagine my excitement when the opportunity arose to learn to weave with wool on a backstrap loom in a highland village. Though our move away from Chiapas cut my lessons short, another turn of events made the parting a little easier…
I’d had my eye on this particularly gorgeous type of fine, cotton fabric the whole time we were there. When we realized we were moving, I got serious about acquiring a piece of my own. I remembered that my friend, Paz had some inroads with a group of weavers so I hit her up to see what she knew. Not only did she have the inside scoop, but she was busy creating a weaving cooperative/online store and would I like to design my own?
Would I!? So, I became the official guinea pig for Maya Kotan‘s grand plan: to offer a truly bespoke textile, made exactly to customers’ specifications, ensuring fair wages and working conditions of Tzeltal Maya women.
Look what Irene is weaving for me!!
Though most pieces are intended as scarves (and trust me, they are absolutely stunning when draped), mine are destined to be throw pillows to make comfy our concrete couches. I’m going to have to hold my breath while I make the first cut, but I’m just about ready to get started and look forward to sharing the end result soon!
They are still perfecting the custom design portion of the website, but in the meantime, check Maya Kotan for many incredible pieces already woven. Order early for Christmas and support an ancient artform, good folks doing invaluable work and a better quality of life for indigenous weavers in southern Mexico.
Many, many thanks to Paz and Ben for making this happen. You guys are awesome.
The pillows are complete!