Lidia Lopez Teaching the Art of Backstrap Loom Weaving

Lidia Lopez is a Mayan woman from Guatemala. She is very experienced weaving on a backstrap loom and teaches people from around the world the art of weaving. Here she is demonstrating the technique she uses to a group of visiting Americans and Japanese women.

Maria Wearing a Huipil and Holding Pineapple Cake

Woman in Traditional Dress With Pineapple Cake

Maria is showing off the beautiful (and tasty) pineapple upside down cake she baked. She is dressed in traditional Mayan clothing called ‘traje.’ Her pink top is called a huipil. Huipils are handmade and reflect the wearer’s personality and what village she is from.

Guatemalan Woman and her Daughters Wearing Traditional Mayan Clothing

Girls Wearing Huipils.

This is a woman with her two young girls dressed in traditional Guatemalan clothing. The tops women wear are called huipils. They are made from panels of textiles handwoven on a backstrap loom. Each huipil is unique and decorated with intricate brocade designs.

Guatemalan Woman Weaving on a Backstrap Loom

Guatemalan Woman Weaving on a Backstrap Loom

The art of weaving on a backstrap loom dates back to ancient Maya and has been passed down through the many generations of Guatemalan Women. It is the process in which they create beautiful vibrant colored textiles and Huipils. The weaver starts with raw cotton, which they clean, dye, and spin into thread. The thread is made into a warp and placed on the loom where she can then begin weaving. Many times intricate brocade and embroidery patterns are incorporated into the cloth. The process of weaving has changed very little over time and the techniques used today are virtually the same as they have been for hundreds of years.

Guatemalan Woman Winding Spun Cotton Thread Around a Spindle

Guatemalan Woman Winding Spun Cotton Thread Around Spindle Before Weaving on Backstrap Loom

The beautiful Huipils and other textiles made by the Mayan women of Guatemala are all hand made. The first step in the process is to clean and spin raw cotton into thread. The thread is then dyed and wrapped around a spindle so it can be managed easier when weaving on a backstrap loom.