Association Maya is a unique effort, composed of 264 women, all survivors of the worst massacres in the Solola region of Guatemala. They are all Backstrap Weavers, using a 2000-year-old technoglogy to defend themselves in the economic reality of this new millenium to produce very high quality hand-woven bags, wallets, clothing, shawls and other wearable art.
Petrona Xoch Pablo is a 53 year old Caqchikel woman from the hamlet of El Triunfo, Solola Guatemala. She began weaving at the age of 9 working beside her mother spinning wild cotton with a drop spindle. This isn’t an easy task as the seeds of the cotton must be removed by hand. She is the eldest of eight sisters and brothers. Her first pieces were handwoven blouses and belts woven for her younger sisters. Later she wove herself a blouse out of this handspun cotton. She is a master weaver on the backstrap loom and incorporates complex Mayan brocaded symbols in her work.
In 1981 her village was attacked by the army. Her house was burnt to the ground and she and the rest of the community fled into the hills or to other parts of the country. She lost family members in the massacre but was most fortunate that her immediate family was left intact. She served on the board of directors of Asociacion Maya from 1990-92 and has once again decided to lend a hand saying: “the cooperative has helped me to support my family and so I feel i’ts important to lend a hand.”
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