Thursday, January 25, 2007

the backstrap loom

Before beginning her first weaving, a girl prays to a saint for assistance, lighting a candle and saying:

Look upon my poverty
Look upon my nakedness
Give me three graces
Three battens
Three needles
So I may weave my blouse
So I may weave my skirt
So I may weave my shawl

As told in With their Hands and their Eyes: Mayan Textiles Mirrors of a Worldview

This woman was weaving with a backstrap loom in the back courtyard of her home -- I bought a beautiful traditional hand loomed skirt from her mother -- that was just about the length of the cloth that she's preparing here.

I realize the exposure is all goofy in this shot, but I wanted to give a sense of the scale of the piece she was working on.


purl77 said...


suttonhoo said...

isn't she amazing?

while we were traveling we saw a backstrap loom set up on the street that extended the length of a full city block. sure, it was the short end of the block -- but still. we were told that it's relatively common to work them that way -- although we didn't see anyone working that particular loom when we passed by.

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