THE TECHNIQUE : LUCHOMETIK
Chiapas is a state in southern Mexico that is covered in mountainous highlands and lush rainforest. Chiapas is known for its beautiful weaving, created using traditional Maya methods that have been passed down for centuries. Weaving in Chiapas is more than just a means to earn an income - Maya weavers believe that their designs have a deeply spiritual meaning. Traditional Maya culture believes that all beings on the earth are intertwined, and these beliefs are often encoded within the patterns in the weave.
The textiles are sewn on a backstrap loom using a method called brocade. As they weave, intricate patterns emerge in the colorful fabric. The weavers memorize countless patterns, each one a unique work of art. The patterns can have great significance in Mexican culture, representing the weaver’s heritage, marital status, religion, personality, and the village she is from.
Each region of Mexico specializes in its own style of weaving. This map shows where some of those unique styles originated from.
Backstrap weaving is part of the culture of the Chiapas highlands. Young girls begin to learn weaving techniques from their elders at a young age, and many women are able to support themselves and their families with their skills. A woman’s family proudly wears her weaving to show solidarity with the village and respect for the technique that was passed from their ancestors. These intricate products tell a rich cultural story, and help to preserve Chiapas’ unique history, traditions, and language.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTISAN
Luchometik is a Tzotzil word meaning women brocading on a waist loom. It comes from a Mayan language spoken by the indigenous Tzotzil Mayan people in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Six women artisans founded Luchometik in 2013 after realizing that they all had the same desire to learn and were in search of opportunities improve their lives. They seek to learn about quality of product, color and design combinations, as well as sales and finance of their products. Since they began, more women have joined with the intention of learning every day.