Tuesday’s workshop began with a commute to Chuacruz, Solola, Guatemala. Sharing the Dream In Guatemala’s Artisan Development Program leaders scheduled a workshop at the request of the group Las Estrella. The topic of the workshop was new design techniques on the foot loom. The women began by working as a team with Isabel and Estela (the instructors of the workshop) to thread the Carreta, the device used to organize the rolls of thread.
The next step was to utilize a large-scale urdidora, a device that spins and creates tangle-free bundles of thread. The foot loom used by this group is very large, in order to make large bolts of fabric. They created 25 bundles of 25 thread strands. This is a time consuming process, taking up to two hours for the eight women who were working. Isabel was the leader of the process, critiquing when she saw the opportunity for improvements in technique. Estela was a helping hand in any way possible, taking Isabel’s direction and taking notes for herself.
The rest of the day went at a similar pace. The existing abiadora, or the coarse threads on the foot loom through which the fashion thread will pass, was old and needed to be replaced. This was a careful process that Isabel was again the leader of. The women felt comfortable asking questions and Isabel was patient if they did not immediately understand. The bundles from the first process were then carefully threaded onto the loom; this took 4 to 5 women to maintain a straight installation. The first day ended at 5:00 p.m. with a small amount of preparing left for the next morning's work.
For the next two days Isabel stayed in the community the help each woman one by one learn new ways to use the foot loom. She is able to visualize which pedal combinations will create specific designs. She used previously prepared worksheets to exemplify these combinations more easily. Her goal was to teach them how to create these designs on their own. She brought sample color ways with thread from the office. Each woman would have a woven design in fabric as a result of the workshop. Overall, Isabel and Estela were well prepared for the workshop. They were clear in the direction and adjusted their schedule according to the length of time the steps were taking.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.