Weaving on large floor looms, known by our artisans in the rural areas of Guatemala as foot pedal looms, has typically been done by men. Mayan women didn’t usually do either, weaving on foot pedal looms or sewing on sewing machines. The women however have used the backstrap loom to weave all the cloth needs of their families. This has been changing in recent years and now women are accomplished seamstresses on sewing machines and master weavers on the large looms. Education And More works with three artisan groups of women that weave on various size foot pedal looms and electric sewing machines.
Some of our groups use the extremely large looms — nearly 6 feet long and 4-5 feet wide. They usually weave fabric not wider than about 36 inches. Another of our groups uses a smaller floor loom that is about 4-5 feet long and about 4 feet wide and then another group has several small looms that are about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide that they can use to weave belts and other narrow items.
Of course all our artisan groups still use the backstrap loom and teach it to their daughters when the girls are about 7 years old.
It is interesting to see the looms in action and even more interesting to see them warp up or get the yarn ready to put on the loom. Part 2 of this post will show how they get the yarn ready. If you would like to purchase any of the handwoven items from our artisans please check out our Etsy shop or our webstore at Education And More
Be sure to stop by and the all the beautiful woven items by the master weavers — the women of our artisan groups! Fair Trade table runners, napkins, placemats, towels, purses, bags, totes, scarves, wraps and so much more. Plus, see our selection of weaving supplies and tools such as backstrap looms, battens, weaving swords, hand dyed yarn, loom totes and bags and spindles.
Tags: artisans, backstrap loom, backstrap weaving, eco-friendly, fair trade, fair trade handcrafts, floor pedal loom, handcrafts, Ikat, looms, weaving, weaving looms, women in Guatemala, women's groups