the craft

the craft

All Manumaya products are crafted using ancient Mayan techniques

The process of weaving starts with raw cotton, which is cleaned, dyed, and spun into thread. The thread is made into a yarn and placed on the loom to begin the process of weaving.

Fabric Production
There are 2 main artisanal tools used to make fabric in traditional Guatemalan weaving:

  1. Foot Looms – both males and females use these.  It generally takes one to two days for an experienced weaver to make just 5 to 6 yards of fabric using a foot loom.
  2. Back strap Looms – These are used only by females and date back to ancient Mayan times. Both the techniques and patterns used have remained virtually unchanged since this period. Detailed patterns are created using this artisanal tool. The traditional Guatemalan “huipils” (tops) are produced using mainly the back strap loom.

Designs and Patterns
There are several traditional Mayan designs and patterns, which vary slightly from village to village.  These all have meanings, allow one to identify its origins and have remained the same since Mayan period.
One example is “Jaspe”.  In this pattern the weaver takes the main thread and hand ties sections to separate them.  The weaver then dyes each section separately and hangs the piece to dry.

Traditional colors are conceived using mainly natural products. Today many other dyes have been introduced enriching the colors used.

Traditional Costume
Woman in Guatemala have a traditional costume that has been passed down generation to generation for centuries. These are comprised of “Huipils” (tops) and “Cortes” (skirts) and are an important part of Guatemalan culture.

An Important Contribution to the Guatemalan Economy
The tradition of weaving is a fundamental source of income for the weavers and artisans who are able to provide for their families by adhering to this tradition.