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.
Trade Paperback, $34.95
Distributed to the book and library trade by Independent Publishers Group.
REVIEWS & PRESS
From Library Journal, August 2015
“Coauthors Chandler (Learning To Weave; Guatemalan Woven Wealth) and Cordón have written a beautiful book featuring intimate portrayals of a diverse group of Guatemalan artists and their works. Coca’s images of the Guatemalan landscapes, artisans, and woven works are breathtaking and add a lush context for the subject. Each of the 20 artists portrayed (weavers, embroiderers, and more) has a short essay and numerous photographs dedicated to their work. Guatemalan history and the background and process of weaving is threaded throughout the artist essays; this compelling presentation style may appeal to more casual readers. In addition to the index and bibliography, a list of organizations supporting Guatemalan weavers and a glossary of foreign terms are included. . . . Academic and art libraries with folk art or textile art collections will find this to be a worthwhile inclusion.
I enjoyed reading every page of Traditional Weavers of Guatemala, Their Stories, Their Lives in which Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordón present a vivid and compelling narrative of the efforts and struggles of twenty artisans, nineteen Mayas and one Ladino who strive to keep alive their crafts. The reader will learn about the technical intricacies, lifestyles, passion, and love for work of 13 weavers as well as embroiderers, spinners, a netter/looper, and a basket maker. In spite of the poverty and limitations of these artisans, their pride and desire to be acknowledged stand out. In addition, the human aspects highlighted by the authors are beautifully complemented by the photographs by Joe Coca. I personally know Susana, one of the artisans presented but I was moved when I read about all the hardships she has encountered in life, but in spite of them, her self-worth is high. When I finished reading about Catarina, the 84-year-old spinner and weaver, I found her enthusiasm for life contagious and admirable. I thus highly recommend this book.
–Barbara Knoke de Arathoon, Cultural Anthropologist
” . . . The wealth of colour photographs of textiles will appeal to designers and collectors. The book will also appeal to anthropologists, readers interested in fair trade and to the general textile lover.”