TRAMA Textiles: “Making a difference one thread at a time…”

The word “trama” literally means “the weft” or “binding thread.” For the 400 indigenous women who belong to the TRAMA Textiles association their traditional (pre-hispanic) process of backstrap loom weaving is what binds them together and it is the means of their survival. The association was formed in 1988 after the many years of human-rights abuses and destruction that characterized the Guatemalan Civil War. In their own words, “Our weavings provide clothes that warm us through highland winters and carry our babies on our backs. They are our identity.” The women have come to realize that together they are more powerful than as individuals.

The association prides itself on quality control checks to ensure their weavers produce the best products. They also provide their members a fair wage for their work… and after observing the weaving process myself I can tell you that this weaving is a lot of work. Intricate textiles can take up to 3 months to complete and the weaving is traditionally done sitting on the ground so a strain is put on the weaver’s backs and knees. TRAMA Textiles is always welcoming new volunteers or students for their weaving school (don’t worry- as a weaving school student you get a chair). They are located in Quetzaltenango, or as the locals -and almost everyone else here- call it “Xela” (Shay-la).

The following are some pictures from a benefit event we held at Trama yesterday to raise money for the organization…

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Weaving the threads that bind generations
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A peak inside the store (If you happen to be in my hometown of St. Augustine, FL you can buy TRAMA products such as scarves and bags at Sunburst Crystal & Far East Traders)

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Me with the volunteer coordinator, Rebecca

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3 thoughts on “TRAMA Textiles: “Making a difference one thread at a time…”

  1. aw what an amazing experience! my mother, i’m sure, would love to do something like this… you did know she weaves right?…. Anyway, I can wait to hear more about what you learn from the women working. It’s interesting how these women used this known process durning a war to overcome their struggles while women in the US needed to take over jobs they didn’t know to help and survive during WWII. Just goes to show why it is wonderful to be a resourceful woman! Love you and keep learning!

  2. Jacquie- yes that is an interesting point! However during the civil war many women in Guatemala took part in social movements for the first time and even joined leftist guerilla resistance forces which resulted in a shift of traditional roles. More about that in another post!

    Kat- It’s actually a very long sash that one of the TRAMA ladies wrapped my hair in- pretty amazing! There will be more pics of it on fb soon…

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