Maya Mam Weavers of Guatemala

Grupo Cajolá logo “Let’s walk together so no one is left behind”

NOTA: puede ver la historia en español abajo del inglés.

Tejedoras Maya Mam is a cooperative of 26 women in the municipality of Cajolá, Quetzaltenango, in the highlands of Guatemala. The cooperative was born through the work of Grupo Cajolá, a group of undocumented immigrants that was organized in 2000 in the town of Morristown, NJ to watch out for each other after the death of a young man from Cajolá. When the members of Grupo Cajolá in Morristown began to return to their community, they returned with the dream of organizing the community of Cajolá to work on the development of their town so that one day there would be no more forced migration. Cajolá is a town of 18,000 people, of which 7,000 live in the United States. This results in a serious social disintegration, particularly in the family.

Maya Mam Weavers

The group began to work in Cajolá in 2005. Working with groups of women, the idea arose to start businesses as a solution to the problem of poverty. (90% of Cajolá lives in poverty, and 66% of the children are chronically malnourished. We began with an egg farm and a weaving project. The men in Cajolá criticized us for having women working. But after the collapse of the economy in 2008 they decided to start a carpentry business. Now we have three economic projects where the workers are the owners of the businesses.

Education is the other important thrust of our work. We began a scholarship program in 2006 with the help of the Maya Educational Foundation of the U.S. In addition, we now have a program “Helping with Homework” that assists 50 students from the local primary school in improving their skills. We also have “Sunday Reading Circle” to help instill the love of reading in young people.

Seamstresses have to maintain their machines.

In the weaving project, one group of women wanted to learn how to weave on the foot loom, another group learned how to sew on the sewing machine. After the trainings in weaving and sewing, we combined the two groups, added some backstrap weavers, and Tejedoras Maya Mam was born. They began with simple products, and little by little the women improved their skills.

We organized Mayamam Weavers in the U.S. to develop a market for the products of Tejedoras Maya Mam. The idea was to develop a market that would make it possible to pay a fair wage, and today Mayamam Weavers is a new member of WARP and a member of the Fair Trade Federation.

Due to lack of opportunity, more than a half of the women in Cajolá are illiterate. That is a serious weakness when you are managing a business! The illiterate women had to study literacy during their work days. But, after several years, it was the entrance of some women who had already had academic education that allowed Tejedoras Maya Mam to being the work of managing the business themselves.

Sales event in Quetzaltenango May 2019

From the beginning, all of the women have been working together in one space, not in their houses. This facilitated the interactions among the women and resulted in the formation of the Marketing and Sales Council that now is managing the cooperative! They have learned how to develop products, analyze costs, set prices, and coordinate the work. Something very important has been that during the passing of the years the women learned how to make high quality products. There is a coordinator that reviews the quality of all of the products before they are sold. She is a member of the cooperative, something a bit unusual in the culture of Cajolá, that someone in the community could criticize the work of her colleagues.

With the vision of developing the community, Grupo Cajolá has offered training to the women. When the foot loom weavers learned to weave with 4 shafts, i.e. more complex patterns, that opened up new markets, including selling fabric by the meter to various designers. A training in tie dying yarn for jaspe (ikat) will be underway soon.

Preschool “Teaching the Wisdom of our Elders”

Grupo Cajolá also offers a scholarship program that is available for any member (or their family) at any level of study who wants to continue to study. One of our seamstresses took advantage of a scholarship to complete her middle school studies, and now she is studying fashion design. This resulted in her accepting a new position as coordinator of New Products. The team of Tejedoras Maya Mam is strong!

Grupo Cajolá opened a preschool in 2012 to take care of the children of the women working in the cooperative; (now it is open to the whole community of Cajolá.) The preschool is based in the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, the preschools in Italy that are considered by UNESCO to be the best in the world. There is an emphasis on the interests of the children and in involving the parents in their education. This has resulted in big changes in the family of the students, and therefore in Cajolá.

Quality Control Coordinator Reviewing Cosmetic Bags

At this time, we can say that we have not stopped forced migration, but yes, we are changing lives. And there are some people who now have hope that there is a future for their families in Cajolá, working in Tejedoras Maya Mam.

Web page for Mayamam Weavers: www.mayamamweavers.com

Web page for Grupo Cajola: www.grupocajola.org

Blog Author CARYN MAXIM is the Coordinator of Grupo Cajolá in the U.S. She has been involved with Grupo Cajola since 2002, traveling monthly to Cajolá since 2005. She is also responsible for the development of Mayamam Weavers in the US.

 

Foot loom weaver and our new “Rainbow Stripe” / Tejedora del Telar de Pie y las nuevas rayas “Arco Iris”

Logotipo Grupo Cajolá

Tejedoras Maya Mam de Guatemala

Tejedoras Maya Mam es una cooperativa de 26 mujeres en el municipio de Cajolá, Quetzaltenango, en el altiplano de Guatemala. La cooperativa nació por el trabajo del Grupo Cajolá, un grupo de migrantes indocumentados que se organizó en Morristown NJ en el año 2000 para velar para sus compañeros después del fallecimiento de un joven de Cajolá. Cuando los miembros de Grupo Cajolá en Morristown empezaron a regresar a su comunidad, volvieron con el sueño de organizar a la comunidad de Cajolá para trabajar en el desarrollo de esta y un día parar la migración forzada. Cajolá es un pueblo de 18,000 habitantes, de cuales 7,000 viven en los EE.UU. Esto deja una desintegración familiar y social muy fuerte.

Tejedoras Maya Mam

El grupo inicio el trabajo en Cajolá en el año 2005 al abrir el primer centro de internet en Cajolá. Trabajando con grupos de mujeres salió la idea de arrancar empresas como una solución a la pobreza. (90% del pueblo de Cajolá vive en pobreza, y 66% de los niños tienen desnutrición crónica.) Iniciamos con un proyecto de gallinas ponedoras y otro en tejer. Los hombres de Cajolá nos criticaron por tener mujeres trabajando. ¡Pero después de la caída de la economía del año 2008 los hombres decidieron arrancar una empresa de carpintería! Ahora hay tres proyectos económicos donde los trabajadores son los dueños de las empresas.

La otra rama importante es la educación, y se inició un programa de becas en el año 2006 con el apoyo de Maya Educational Foundation de los EEUU. Ahora tenemos un programa “Ayudando con las Tareas” que trabaja con 50 niños de la escuela primaria para mejorar sus habilidades y “El Circulo de Lectura” los domingos para desarrollar la habitud de leer con los jóvenes.

Las costureras tienen que hacer mantenimiento en las maquinas.

En el proyecto de tejer, un grupo de mujeres quería aprender a tejer en telar de pie y otro grupo aprendió coser a máquina. Después de las capacitaciones en tejer y coser, en el año 2008 combinamos los dos grupos, agregamos unas tejedoras de telar de cintura, y fue así como nació Tejedoras Maya Mam. Se inició con productos sencillos, y poco a poco las mujeres mejoraban sus habilidades.

Se organizó Mayamam Weavers en los EE.UU. para desarrollar el mercado en los EE.UU. para los productos de Tejedoras Maya Mam. La idea fue desarrollar el mercado en los EE.UU. para poder pagar un salario justo. (Hoy Mayamam Weavers es miembro nuevo  de WARP y es miembro de la Fair Trade Federation.)

Por falta de oportunidad, más que mitad de las mujeres en Cajolá son analfabetas. Esto es una debilidad grave para dirigir una empresa. Las mujeres analfabetas tuvieron que estudiar alfabetización dentro de sus días de trabajo. Pero, después de varios años, fue la entrada de unas mujeres ya con educación académica que permitió Tejedoras Maya Mam empezar el trabajo de manejar la empresa ellas mismas.

Feria de ventas en Quetzaltenango Mayo 2019

Desde el inicio, todas han estado trabajando juntos en un espacio, no en sus casas. Esto facilitaba los intercambios entre ellas y que resultó en la formación del Consejo de Mercadeo y Ventas que ahora maneja la cooperativa. Han aprendido como desarrollar productos, analizar los costos, poner los precios, coordinar el trabajo. Algo importante ha sido que en el transcurso de los años las trabajadoras aprendieron a trabajar buena calidad de productos. Hay una coordinadora que revisa la calidad de todos los productos antes de la venta. Ella es miembro de la cooperativa, algo un poquito raro en la cultura de Cajolá, ¡que alguien de la comunidad pueda criticar el trabajo de sus compañeras!

Con la visión del desarrollo de la comunidad, Grupo Cajolá ha proporcionado varias capacitaciones para las mujeres. Cuando las tejedoras del telar de pie aprendieron a tejer con 4 pedales se abrieron nuevos mercados, y se venden tejidos por metro a varios diseñadores. Una capacitación en teñir hilo para jaspeado (ikat) está planificado por este mes de septiembre.

Escuela Infantil Enseñanza de los Pensamientos de los Abuelos”

Grupo Cajolá ofrece un programa de becas que está disponible para personas de cualquier nivel educativo que tenga ganas estudiar. Una de nuestras costureras aprovechó de una beca para terminar sus estudios de básico, y ahora está estudiando diseño de moda, ¡resulta que ella es la Coordinadora del Desarrollo de Nuevos Productos! ¡El equipo de Tejedoras Maya Mam es fuerte!

Grupo Cajolá abrió una escuelita infantil en el año 2012 para cuidar a los niños de las mujeres trabajadoras (ahora está abierta a toda la comunidad de Cajolá). La escuelita es basada en la filosofía de Reggio Emilia, las escuelitas de Italia que considera UNESCO las mejores en el mundo. Hay un énfasis en los intereses de los niños, y en involucrar a los padres en la educación. Esto resulta en cambios fuertes dentro de las familias de los alumnos, y entonces también en Cajolá.

Coordinadora de Calidad revisando las bolsas cosméticas

 

En este momento podemos decir que no hemos parado la migración, pero sí, estamos cambiando vidas. Hay unos que ahora tienen esperanza que hay un futuro para sus familias en Cajolá, trabajando en Tejedoras Maya Mam.

Página de web de Mayamam Weavers: www.mayamamweavers.com

Página de web de Grupo Cajola: www.grupocajola.org

Autor: Caryn Maxim es la coordinadora de Grupo Cajola en los EEUU. Ella ha estado involucrada con Grupo Cajola desde el año 2002, viajando mensualmente a Cajola desde 2005. Ella es responsable para el desarrollo de Mayamam Weavers en los EEUU.

 

Argentinian Artisanry and Textiles

NOTA: puede ver la historia en español abajo del inglés.

Exhibition “QR: Between the Ancestral and the Future” – A collective manner to unite worlds, where the past and the future, traditions and innovations, the isolated and the interconnected are joined together.

Patricia Hakim is the author of this “techno-artisan” project, in her own words. A recognized Argentine artist and curator, in this effort Patricia united artisans of different provinces in her country, who took on the challenge of reproducing QR codes, each in his or her own ancestral technique, to convert the codes into interesting works that invite the viewer to scan them with their cell phones. By scanning them they can see a video showing the techniques step by step and the history of each of the artisans who participated in the project.

Among the pieces chosen for the exhibition one can see pieces created in different techniques, such as textiles woven on looms, knitted, basketry, embroidery, and woven “wichi”, a plant much like maguey (that makes sisal).

 

 

An extract from the catalog explains the concept of the show:

“The objective of this project centers on the idea of uniting worlds, worlds that appear to be opposite, by recovering and amplifying the sense of the craftsmanship, art, and technology, bringing together the contrasting diversity of art and technology in a productive manner: connecting, exposing, and disseminating, in a technological form, the ancestral techniques and the artisans who practice them, while expressing the new technologies in an artistic form.

Juxtaposing artisanry with technology and the visual documentation within the same piece generates a dislocation and estrangement that allows the surfacing of questions about the roles of the artist and the producer, and of the hybridization-fusion of the role of the artist/curator.

In consequence, the works and the curating emphasize how the details of the different techniques represent the time and place of each style. In other words, the show proposes the arts as a collective practice, experimental and multi-disciplinary, destined to inspire, expand, and create other sensations within its own field.”

The exhibition is being shown in Buenos Aires, in Asunción Paraguay at the Bienal South, and later it can be enjoyed until September 14, 2019 in the Province of Chaco in the north of Argentina.

Below are links to some of the videos that can also be seen online. Spanish subtitles can be added clicking on the lower right. The titles are the technique and location of the artist:

 

VANINA BUJALTER of Buenos Aires has a degree in Psychology, but she found her true calling and has been dedicated to Textile Arts and Crafts for more than 30 years. Initially learning from her mother, the textile artist Mimí Bujalter, she has studied, taught, and exhibited throughout Argentina and internationally. Her work has won many awards, and can be seen in both public and private collections in numerous countries.


Artesanía y Textiles Argentinos

Exposición  “QR: entre lo ancestral y el futuro”

Una manera colectiva de unir mundos, donde se conjugan: pasado y futuro, tradiciones e innovaciones, el aislamiento y la interconexión.

Patricia Hakim es la autora de este Proyecto “tecno-artesanal”, según sus propias palabras. Reconocida artista y curadora argentina, Patricia reunió en esta muestra, artesanos de distintas provincias de su país, quienes asumieron el desafío de reproducir, a través de sus oficios ancestrales códigos QR, para convertirlos en interesantes obras que invitan al espectador a escanear estos códigos con un teléfono celular. Al escanearlos se puede visualizar en video el paso a paso y las historias de cada uno de los artesanos que participaron del proyecto.

Entre los oficios elegidos para la exposición se pueden ver piezas realizadas en diferentes técnicas, entre las que se destacan técnicas textiles como telar, tejido a dos agujas, cestería, randa y tejido wichi.

 

 

Un extracto del catálogo nos explica el concepto de la muestra:

“El objetivo del proyecto se centra en la  idea de unir mundos, en apariencia opuestos, recuperando y ampliando los sentidos de la artesanía, del arte y de la tecnología al tensar diversos contrastes productivos: conectando, exponiendo y difundiendo, en forma tecnológica, las técnicas ancestrales y sus artesanos, e inversa y simultáneamente exponiendo de forma artesanal las tecnologías actuales.

Yuxtaponer la artesanía con la tecnología y el registro documental en una misma pieza, genera una dislocación y un extrañamiento que permite la aparición de preguntas acerca del lugar del artista, el del productor y de la hibridación-fusión del rol del artista/curador.

En consecuencia, las obras y la curaduría apuntan a destacar el modo en que diferentes técnicas hacen y representan a su tiempo y lugar. En otras palabras se propone al arte como una práctica colectiva, experimental y multidisciplinaria destinada a accionar, expandir y darle otros sentidos a su propio campo.”

La muestra se expuso en Buenos Aires, en Asunción Paraguay en el marco de la Bienal Sur, y próximamente se podrá apreciar en la Provincia del Chaco en el norte de Argentina.

Aquí compartimos algunos de los videos que también pueden verse on-line:

VANINA BUJALTER de Buenos Aires tiene su Licenciatura en Psicología, pero hallaba su vocación de verdad y se ha dedicado al Arte y Artesanía Textil por más de 30 años. Iniciándose en el taller de su madre la artista textil Mimí Bujalter, desde 1982 ha estudiado, dictado clases y seminarios, y participado en exhibiciones y concursos en Buenos Aires, en el interior del país y en el exterior. Sus piezas integran colecciones públicas y privadas en Argentina y el exterior.

Knitting Peace Circus

NOTA: puede ver la historia en español abajo del inglés.

Weaving is not the only fiber path to peace. 

In 2012 as director and concept driver of the Swedish Circus Cirkör, Tilde Björfors turned the idea of knitting peace into the realm of performance art by turning it into the fundamental thematic driver of its production.  Invited to present at the Nobel festivities in December 2012, Knitting Peace was subsequently presented over 230 times Europe before coming to Philadelphia in 2016.

Guerrilla knitters marked the opening performance in Stockholm by yarn bombing the city center in white while a call went out internationally for knitters to submit a piece of white knitting, along with thoughts on knitting for peace that were then displayed in the foyer of later performance venues.

Kilos of white knit T-shirt waste ‘yarn’ formed the set with knitting and giant balls of ‘yarn’ scattered on stage. Throughout the two-hour performance aerialists worked from the neat balls of yarn, using their bodies to knit in the air and wire walk on the set’s many tangled threads.  Knitting Peace ended with large rolls of knitting unfurled from stage as bridges to a mesmerized audience.

PS: Tilde told me that my art work was part of the mood board during the research phase.

To visit Knitting Circus on Facebook, please click here. To view a fantastic trailer with footage from the Knitting Circus film, click here.

A long time WARP member, Adrienne Sloane is also a freelance writer and an accomplished Boston based studio artist who has shown and taught sculptural knitting internationally for over 25 years. Her work can be seen at her website www.adriennesloane.com  Follow her on instagram at adrienne_sloane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tejer con telar no es el único sendero de fibras hacia a la paz.

En 2012, el director y piloto de conceptos artísticos del Circo Cirkör de Suecia, Tilde Björfors tomó la idea de tejer paz hacia al mundo de “performance art”, actuaciones artísticas, usándolo como el tema fundamental inspirando su producción. Fue invitado a presentar la obra para las festividades de los Premios Nobel en 2012, y después Knitting Peace (Tejiendo Paz) fue presentado más de 230 veces en Europa antes de ir a Filadelfia, Pensilvania , EEUU en 2016.

Tejedoras guerrilleras marcaron la apertura del show en Estocolmo cubriendo el centro de la ciudad con hilo blanco, y mientras tanto emitieron un llamado internacional para las tejedoras de todos partes a mandar una pieza de tejido blanco acompañada por sus pensamientos sobre tejiendo por paz, los cuales fueron mostrados en los lobbies de las presentaciones subsecuentes.

Kilos de desperdicio de playeras blancas hecho “hilo” formaron el escenario y bolas de hilo gigantes llenaron diferentes espacios. Durante la presentación de dos horas, actores aerialistas, como gimnastas del aire, trabajaron sacando hilo de las bolas nítidas, usando sus cuerpos como agujas para tejer en el aire, y usaron los “tejidos” grandes e hilos enredados del escenario como cuerdas para caminar arriba del escenario. Tejiendo Paz termino con tejidos enormes desenrollados como puentes desde el escenario a la audiencia fascinada.

PD Adrienne dice, “Tilde me dijo que mi trabajo, mi arte de tejidos, era parte de la inspiración en la fase de investigación para el proyecto.” Felicitaciones, Adrienne.

Para mirar Tejiendo Paz en Facebook, haga clic aquí. El fantástico trailer de la película Tejiendo Paz es aquí.

Un miembro de WARP por muchos años, Adrienne Sloane es una escritora y un artista bien conocida, con su estudio en Boston, Massachusetts de EEUU. Ella ha exhibido sus obras y enseñado somo crear esculturas tejidas internacionalmente por más que 25 años. Puede ver sus obras en su website www.adriennesloane.com, y seguirla en Instagram a adrienne_sloane. 

Local Connections – Working in Your Neighborhood

We don’t have to work internationally to do important work. Much is being done in our own backyards. This month, board member Judi Jetson shares her local connections…Judy Newland

In 2009, when I joined the staff of a nonprofit called HandMade in America, for the first time my love of textiles merged with my career in economic development. In a world of mass production and throwaways, we found ways to celebrate the rich tradition of craft in Western North Carolina and discovered how the power of the handmade can transform individuals and communities.  We commissioned an economic study that discovered the craft economy contributes more than $200 million a year to the local economy. We built partnerships and economies that were rooted in the culture that nourishes them and taught others – around the US and the world – how to do this too.

It was addictive – working locally with community leaders we received enthusiastic support in the media for recognizing and building on our craft assets. My passion for weaving, spinning and dyeing became fashionable! Next I started a nonprofit called Local Cloth to focus on growing the fiber economy, bringing shepherds together with each other to build their markets, and forming partnerships among farmers and artists and processors to make it possible to buy local textiles. Fashion shows featuring local artists using local materials were popular, and we organized several giving us the opportunity to educate consumers about the local resources and talents. We had sales, organized exhibits and opened a studio where we could teach and show our work.

Then I read about yarnbombing on Facebook and decided to organize a group to yarnbomb my own town – Weaverville, NC. Enthusiastic knitters worked for months making pieces to put sweaters on trees and signs and poles, and then dressed like ninjas to install it in the night. We were asked to yarnbomb the Folk Art Center located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and parts of downtown Asheville.

Next I heard about Spinzilla and organized a team that spent a week spinning in public – places like the Asheville Welcome Center and Echoview Spinning Mill – which gained a few new spinners and lots more people who know how yarn and cloth are made.

Spinzilla

Twenty-seven years ago, I took a beginning weaving class from Deborah Chandler at the Florida Tropical Weavers conference. It was hard and fun – both at the same time – and as the class ended I asked Deborah if she knew of any way I could combine my love of textiles with my work as an economic developer. She thought for a minute and said “I’m not sure, but we’re starting a nonprofit called Weave A Real Peace that you might want to check out,” and then she told me she was moving to Guatemala to build a grassroots economy based on textiles. I joined and enjoyed the newsletter, but never attended a meeting and drifted away. Fast forward to 2011 when WARP held its annual meeting in nearby Black Mountain, NC. I was asked to talk about the work I was doing locally to build the fiber economy and got a warm reception. At the end of the meeting, I realized that WARP members working internationally were doing the same thing I was doing locally. It was an ah-ha moment and realized I had found my tribe.

Wonderful projects surround us if we just look around our neighborhood. The Navajo Quilt Project is one you might consider supporting this holiday season. You can assist by purchasing a tote bag OR send your extra fabrics to quilters on the Navajo reservation who have few resources.

The Navajo Quilt Project aims to collect fabric and quilting supplies for the quilters in the Navajo Nation. With very little access to fabric, scissors, or batting the quilters continue to sew beautiful quilts out of scraps and clothing. Proceeds from this cotton tote will go directly to purchase more materials for the Navajo quilters.

Wishing all of you a wonderful season of caring and sharing – Judy Newland

 

Connecting the Social Fabric Part 2

Two WARP members add to the story of making connections, both local and global at the Textile Society of America Symposium in Canada…Judy Newland

From Teena Jennings

The opening plenary and keynote was given by Meghann O’Brien, who described her reconnection with her people and place through her personal discovery of traditional textile and basket making techniques. The closing plenary was delivered by Charllotte Kwon who used her MAIWA vision to demonstrate her version of “Deep Local to Pan Global” while referencing textile communities in India and their commitment to MAIWA and vice versa.

Some sessions prompted heady discussions such as one that evolved into a heated discussion on cultural appropriation and another that tried to help Sumru Krody solve her open-ended research questions.

The evening programs provided visits to the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology and the Emily Carr University, multiple Gallery Hops and a visit to Granville Island. The pre- and post- symposium events served as icing on the cake and in many cases created intersections among the attendees and people of the First Nations of the region, particularly as they demonstrated commitment to their indigenous craft and design. Teena and Philis Alvic went on the post conference bus tour to Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.

From Philis Alvic

Since I was fortunate enough to receive a travel grant from the Great Meadows Foundation in Kentucky to attend the Textile Society conference in Vancouver, I took advantage of pre and post conference activities. Before the conference, I took the WARPS workshop presented by Julie Holyoke, Ruth Scheuing, and Mary Lou Trinkwon and based on Julie’s book, “Digital Jacquard Design.” (Bloomsbury, 2013) In two days, we learned how to design for Jacquard looms and also tried our hands at the very complex loom.

The registration was limited to 10, so we all got to know each other. After the conference, I went on a bus tour to Whistler, a two-hour ride through beautiful country north of Vancouver. First, we visited the Audain Art Museum to view art from coastal British Columbia, which included historic First Nation pieces and works from area artists spanning the last 100 years. Then we went to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to learn about the people that inhabited this part of Canada for centuries.

As Teena states, it was an exhilarating conference that covered major and significant topics. Kudos to the organizing committee in Vancouver and to the TSA Board. I agree and hope that WARP and TSA can continue to find ways to collaborate and support artisans everywhere.

Next month, we’ll dig deeper into what “working local” might mean for our members…Judy Newland

 

Connecting the Social Fabric in Canada

This month and next WARP members share their experiences at the Textile Society of America Symposium in Vancouver BC, which was September 19-22 and centered around the theme The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global

From Susan Weltman
What an incredible treat it was to attend the TSA Meeting in Vancouver!  This was an opportunity to spend time in what is the most beautiful city I know. I not only heard fascinating speakers, but also got to connect with so many WARP members, including several I’d never met before. Among those was Rachel Green of Southern Georgia University who presented on the Wichi of Argentina; sitting next to her on the bus, I introduced myself as the President of WARP. She responded by informing me that she was a member! I attended her fascinating presentation.

Nancy Feldman, who I had met at our Oaxaca meeting was presenting on Shipibo Textiles, another very interesting presentation. Meeting Cathy Stevulak in person was a wonderful experience as Cathy, a new WARP member, is a very active part of the Planning Committee for the DC Meeting in June, 2019. She facilitated a presentation by Yasmine Dabbous, whose topic was the role textile traditions play in the lives of Syrian women in a Lebanese Refugee Camp; Yasmine could not be there as she is presently in Lebanon. Her work, and the work of the Syrian women with whom she works, absolutely represents what WARP believes the role of textiles and artisanship can play in the lives of women in crisis!

From Carol Ventura
I learned so much, reconnected, and made so many new connections at the recent TSA Symposium in Vancouver. I enjoy attending even when not presenting, but this year my paper was included, “Tapestry Crochet in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East: Tradition and Innovation”. It will appear in the free online TSA Proceedings next year. I hope all the presenters publish their papers because each time slot included several fabulous panels that I hated to miss! As usual, everyone was so friendly and supportive and each day felt like a fashion show. We fiber people have great taste – and all the wonderful fabrics could be touched that were being shown in the elevator, in the meeting rooms, everywhere!

From Judy Newland
My small naturally dyed piece submitted to the TSA members’ art exhibit was accepted. Each piece was developed around an inspirational object or place. My Sonoran Souls was influenced by my time living in the Sonoran Desert and honored those who have been left behind. I was asked to be part of a panel of six artists and makers who discussed their artwork and how we work collaboratively with various communities. What a wonderful group of women, all of whom I would like to know better. Friday evening was spent on Granville Island taking in exhibits and shopping! A group of ten, mostly WARP members had the most delightful dinner at the Sand Bar restaurant. Inspiration surrounded us each and every day.

Every one of us found special activities and experiences…more to come in November.

Philis Alvic and Teena Jennings will tell us about their experiences.

 

Connecting with Young Members

Nicole Giacomantonio, our young WARP member from Nova Scotia, shares her experience at the annual meeting in Decorah, her reasons for embracing our group of textile enthusiasts and her hopes for the future…Judy Newland

An Adventure in Iowa

Iowa was beautiful, and Decorah was truthfully a place I never expected to find myself. I thought it great to have the opportunity to go out of the way to spend time in such a lovely town. I loved experiencing the textile culture specific to the area, especially visiting the local yarn shop, I googled it before even arriving in Decorah. I probably spent 40 minutes in there agonizing over how many skeins of locally dyed yarn I could justify buying (I showed amazing restraint and settled on just one). I found the speakers this year to be very compelling. The Alice Brown Memorial Scholarship winners gave incredible talks, and hearing them speak was a highlight of the meeting for me.

The visit to the Seed Savers Exchange truly resonated with me – I have very strong family ties, and a lot of our tradition is surrounding food. Passing seeds on to family members is such a romantic tradition; I was inspired by the stories of veggies being brought overseas with moving families. I connect this with my interest in conservation as well. The seeds are important objects of cultural heritage that should be preserved for other generations to enjoy.

Why Weave A Real Peace? Support is Everything!

I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I received from the WARP organization and from its individual members in Oaxaca last year. The connections that developed during that meeting were, and continue to be, very inspiring and enriching as I explore the paths I can take in working with textiles in my own life. It was important to me to keep those relationships strong and to show my appreciation for the organization and the people that showed me so much love right from the beginning. Not to mention the fact that the meetings are so fun and engaging, with so many opportunities to learn from and along side those who share my passion for textiles.

The connections I made during the two conferences I attended had an incredible affect on me, and I was honoured to receive so much encouragement from WARP members. I want to stay involved in WARP for many reasons. I want to show WARP the same support that the organization has shown me over the past two years. I also want to help the organization to grow and adapt, to diversify and to usher in new and younger members. Being a member of WARP provides a great opportunity to explore the many and varying ways of working with textiles and cultural heritage, and to begin exploring ways I can act as an advocate for the preservation and conservation of textile traditions both at home and abroad.

Looking Ahead

I hope for growth and diversification of the WARP organization. I also hope to keep engaging in conversations about conservation, preservation, and the responsibility we as textile enthusiasts and artists have to the owners and makers of the ethnographic textiles and cultural heritage that we support and celebrate, but that is not necessarily our own. I hope that we as an organization work to celebrate these traditions of culture and art, but also think critically of our involvement in it.

I am in the middle of creating a naturally dyed quilt. I was hoping to finish it by the end of the summer… but here we are in mid August and I’ve barely finished the top. Oh well. However, I have almost finished knitting a sweater! So, cross your fingers that I finish SOMETHING by the end of August.

I’ll be moving to Scotland in the fall! I was accepted to the Master of Textile Conservation program at the University of Glasgow. A big move, but I am very excited.

Textile conservation students at the University of Glasgow.

 

Nicole is managing our Instagram account. Look for important information on this coming soon….

 

Weaving a Life and Connecting With A New Community

This month Hellen Ascoli is sharing her experience at the annual meeting in Decorah. She gave a wonderful presentation about her work as the Director of Education at Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress in Guatemala. She now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Here is Hellen with new WARP friends and this is her story… (judy newland)

 

A couple months ago a friend, a fellow Madison Weaver’s Guild member, Char Thompson, sent me an email to apply for the Alice Brown Memorial Scholarship to attend this year’s WARP meeting in Decorah, Iowa. Having recently moved to Madison, WI from Guatemala this email and the following scholarship couldn’t have been better timed!

Let me tell you a little about myself:

From 2010 – 2012 I received my M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I had applied with the precise purpose of returning to Guatemala, my home country, and putting into action what I had learned. My art practice centered around weaving on the back strap loom as a way to bring together my interests in identity and materiality. I balanced my work as Director of Education at Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress while also teaching art through diverse disciplines at Francisco Marroquín University and at Fundación Paiz (a private cultural foundation in Guatemala that offers classes in visual and performing arts and hosts the Paiz Biennial).

During those five years I was slowly building the life I had set out to make, one where I could weave together my interests between Art, Craft and Education. However, as many WARP members might know, Guatemala offers a lot of opportunities, but it can also be a hard place. Sadly in 2017, after the loss of my brother to violence, my husband and I made the difficult decision to move back to the United States. Regarding my practice I felt that leaving the country where so much of my work is embedded would just feel like another loss.

For several months I had been searching for a community in the United States that also wanted to have an integrated life. The community I wanted was made up of those that understood the richness that exists when different aspects of life are woven together and rooted in a place, a community or a tradition.

As I walked into the WARP conference, I immediately felt in the right place. The first person I bumped into was Deborah Chandler who I had briefly met through Museo Ixchel in Guatemala. It was exciting not only to see someone from home, but also to learn about the specific ways other’s work here in the United States is connecting to places like Guatemala. There were so many examples to draw from that creatively brought together aspects of craft and connected it to communities locally and globally.

Not even two days later after the conference I met Susan Weltman, Marilyn Anderson and Lynn Persson for lunch in Madison and they generously offered me ideas on how to keep growing professionally. As I sit down to type an email buzzes through from WARP member Nicole Giacomantonio, and I am excited to share my artwork with her and follow up on her travels. Another email dings in from Marilyn Anderson and I am exited at the prospect of interviewing her for a potential article. This past month I have looked at the notes from the WARP conference multiple times, connected with members and regained enthusiasm to start on a new “weave”.

Reach out to our new member and scholarship winner, Hellen Ascoli, through email, FB or Google Groups. WELCOME HELLEN