Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives (Paperback)

Their Stories, Their Lives

By Deborah Chandler, Teresa Cordaon, Joe Coca

Thrums, LLC, 9780983886075, 152pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2015



Against the backdrop of Guatemala, this book presents portraits of artisans working in the ancient traditions of the Maya paired with insights into the creation of the textiles and the events that have affected their work. Weaving, spinning, and basket making have sustained the Maya economically and culturally against the pressures of change and a 36-year civil war that decimated their population. Their persistence in continuing traditional art has created some of the loveliest, most colorful textiles the world has ever known. Artisans share their personal histories, hopes, and dreams along with the products of their hands and looms. Their stories show determination in the face of unimaginable loss and hardship which instill an appreciation for the textiles themselves and for the strong people who create them.

About the Author

Deborah Chandler is the creator and director of Weaving Futures, where she has had the pleasure and honor of working with many Mayan weavers. She is the author of Learning to Weave. She lives in Guatemala. Teresa Cordon is the owner of the award-winning Comercial Naleb, a handwoven hat business. She is an avid provider of education and marketing for the work of Mayan artisans. She lives in Guatemala. Joe Cocais a photographerof people from all walks of life over five continents, industrial products and installations, architecture, food, and especially handcrafted textiles and other artisan goods. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado."

Praise For Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala is a book to be savored, read slowly, perused visually, contemplated thoughtfully. It could only have been written by two women who know their Maya subjects through heart and soul, home and family. Each written page presents an intensely personal account that comes only from mutual trust. The authors have expertly woven knowledge of artisan crafts with the enduring beauty of the Guatemalan landscape and the grisly history of ethnic cleansing by the country's Army and Police during the recent civil war. The reader benefits on all counts.
Kathleen Vitale, Endangered Threads Documentaries

Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordón’s life experiences—weaving, teaching, mentoring, wholesaling, and retailing—undergird their seminal account of Guatemalan artisans. Taking the reader into twenty master artisans’ homes, we learn of childhoods spent in extended households, families splintered during civil violence, parents’ sacrifices for educating their children, and aging artisans’ declining health. Yet, across the individual stories, a larger picture emerges of the artisans’ pride in their intricate textiles, love for the creative process, and joy in passing on textile traditions. Joe Coca’s photography masterfully illustrates the artisans’ complex textiles and illuminates the proud faces of the weavers and their families. Sidebar sections on Maya life add cultural context to the artisans’ stories. In Traditional Weavers of Guatemala, the authors present a sensitive, detailed, and much-needed holistic interpretation of how textiles and life inseparably intertwine.
Mary A. Littrell, co-author of Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development