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…
Weaving the threads that bind generations
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)