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.
Helping Sharing the Dream Help Others
I always told my students and my own kids that life is full and rewarding, when you contribute to your community, your nation and your world. Some might ask, “How do I contribute to my world? I don’t want to travel to a foreign country and I don’t have much money to donate.”
There are many ways to help the people in Guatemala, and you don’t have to leave your community, perhaps not even your home. Here are some ways to help Sharing the Dream in Guatemala.
If you are a member of Thrivent, Go to Thrivent Choice at https://service.thrivent.com/apps/ThriventChoiceMemberWeb/public/orgDetails/100396343124
and donate to Friends of Sharing the Dream in Guatemala.
I just returned from Guatemala. Last week I went to six different villages in the mountains and met with six different women's groups who are back strap weavers. They all want to work. We talked about patterns and designs. They want to help sustain their families. We met with over 200 women. We also have several hundred women that we are already working with through Sharing the Dream.
We need some help with design. Please send a favorite design of a purse, bag, scarf, or a kitchen item to us so we can look at making it with Guatemalan fabric. We need to design items that people will buy. What are your favorite colors? What are the newest colors? We need artists who are willing to volunteer their time to design some new items. You can do it from your home. We also just need people to send ideas.
We will be offering a trip to Guatemala where we will work with our artisan design team to design some new products. We will meet with a group of weavers to help them with colors and design and then go to Chi-Chi to work with Ruth and Nohemi cooperative to see about sewing our designs. Are you in? Not sure of the dates yet. It will be $1200 for 10 days. We will also be doing many of the things we do on a regular trip.
We have outgrown our rented space for our elder center in Santiago. We have been looking for land for several years in Chuk Muk. Chuk Muk is the new community after the mud slide. The last 6 months we have been working with the community leaders and on Tuesday they voted to give us a piece of land.
The land is probably close to two acres. Plenty of room for what we need. Our neighbors will be other community projects
This is very exciting, but makes me very nervous. Where will the money come from to build? All suggestions would be appreciated.