Experiencing the Beauty of Backstrap Loom Weaving
In the villages of Guatemala, the traditional art of backstrap loom weaving is alive and well. We are fortunate to spend time learning about the history and craftsmanship of this textile design method. Now, this beautiful art permeates our design ideas. It gives us a new way to think about our practices, processes, and techniques. Our visit to Casa Flor Ixcaco provides a pleasing shift in the way we think about craftsmanship. Here the terms handcrafted take on an entirely new meaning. It’s a place where skill combines with passion and history. Moreover, the textiles and products they’ve created are imbued not just with talent but soul.
Casa Flor Ixcaco
A group of talented Mayan women from San Juan La Laguna in Guatemala form Casa Flor Ixcaco. Above all, what they are creating is more than craft; it is a new culture. In Casa Flor Ixcaco, they have kept the tradition of backstrap loom weaving alive with a modern twist – empowerment.
The women have kept the process of working with organic cotton. They also use natural dyes and the backstrap loom to make unbelievable designs. Therefore, they now support a unique quality of life. That is to say, women in Guatemala haven’t always been business owners. These women are creating the change.
Teresa Ujpan Perez formed the group over 30 years ago with a few women seeking better lives and ways to support their families. Perez believes in inspiring strong women, and now there are over 30 in the group.
We marvel over the handmade fabrics they are making with cotton they’ve planted and harvest themselves. The women use flowers, leaves, seeds, and tree bark to develop traditional colors: white, kakhy (light brown), ixcaco (brown), and green. They create miraculously designed garments and textiles like those pictured with backstrap loom weaving from their homegrown cotton and organic dyes.
Backstrap Loom Weaving
Essentially, wooden sticks, rope, and a back strap make up a backstrap loom. As a consequence, we have the name “backstrap loom weaving.”
The women we met could set up looms anywhere and worked indoors and outside. The versatility and portability of the backstrap loom allow them to multitask by staffing a booth in the marketplace, watching children, or other things.
We see backstrap loom weaving that varies from a plain weave with an over/under pattern. Some have more elaborate designs. The versatility of the backstrap loom allows the women to brocade intricate designs as they weave. This specialized weaving gives the designs of Casa Flor Ixcaco their distinctive look.
Supporting Creative Design
Moreover, we love the natural handcrafted items Casa Flor Ixcaco creates. Therefore, we’re happy to support them not only for their work but their cause. The group uses their backstrap loom weaving designs to fund children’s education. In San Juan La Laguna, they offer several financial aid scholarships. Their work supports the economy of their small village and brings beautiful art and design into the world.
As a result of their success, the women of Casa Flor Design now provide design ideas and services for clients worldwide. Therefore, we look forward to incorporating their work with ours.