Guatemalan Weaving

Guatemalan Weaving309
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2 Essays

  1. Nail Farkhatdinov | State University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow says:

    The role of colors in culture is rather specific. On the one hand, people do not think much about colors in their everyday life. On the other hand, they pay great attention to them when choosing such goods as clothes and home furnishings. When a stranger visits an alien culture s/he understands that his/her color perception is rather different from the perception of those native to the culture. Natives pay attention to some colors and ignore others. Color perception becomes a part of tradition. These photos depict the variety of colors used by Guatemalans.

    Putting these photos together we can notice that sets of colors used in decorating clothes, buses, and buildings are rather similar, with the palettes of colors being extremely varied.. There are enormous gradations of red, blue, yellow on the clothes, the buildings, and to a lesser extent, the buses.

    These photos illustrate a link between traditional culture and globalization of cultures. We can see people in traditional clothes, but a similar color spectrum decorates the buses. Although vehicles are artifacts of modern civilization, the traditions of the Guatemalans transform them and they are assimilated in the structure of traditions. Buses decorated in this way, far from arousing discomfort in traditional people, become a part of their national culture thanks to this transformation.

  2. Patrick Moynihan | Fordham University and Laura Johnson | Interface Fabrics says:

    The photograph “Guatemalan Weaving” evokes an earlier, almost romantic, era of weaving and work – one which pre-dates that typically associated with the production of textiles: the cacophony of the industrial age with its clattering looms, cast-iron flywheels, and nimble fingers of artisans tying and retying broken threads among the thousands draped across the machinery. As the textile industry now fades from the American industrial scene with much of the nation’s nondurable manufacturing base – and those work sites that remain being computerized spaces with power looms of air and water jets moving shuttles back and forth based on electronic design inputs – the legacy of this form of work and expression becomes increasingly invisible to us. “Guatemalan Weaving” confronts our modern understandings of manufacturing with a weaver using a simple backstrap loom (typically tied to a tree and wrapped around the individual for stability) with lee sticks (used to separate layers of fabric to keep patterns discernable during production) – a traditional form of craft production with designs usually passed from one generation to the next. Far from the more perfect textiles computerized looms produce today (which must meet a variety of industry codes and price-points to remain competitive), the patterns of cloth woven on a backstrap loom can be understood as representing the values and practices of everyday life within a community – with any “technical” mistakes a sign of authenticity in the work process and the worker’s own individual charm. Just over the gentle sound of weft threads being passed with a wooden shuttle, “Guatemalan Weaving” whispers to us the meaning work can have in the life of an individual and community through the sheer beauty and power of weaving textiles.