Illinois Prairie Weavers

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October's Program:

"Weaving is a Pain in the..."

Do you have "weaver's bottom" when sitting and weaving? Shoulder pain when warping? We all experience some discomforts when doing our craft. Liz Powell will speak about how weaving posture/actions can put a load on the spine and if the core of your body is not strong, how detrimental it can be. She will demonstrate correct posture and exercises to maintain a strong core to correct for poor bio-mechanics of weaving activities.

Along with our regular Show and Tell, we will also have time for "The Heritage Project" where you can bring a textile "artifact" and tell us in 3-4 sentences about how it inspired you to become a weaver. We'd like to keep it to 3 minutes per person to allow for everyone to participate!

PLEASE NOTE: The White Elephant Fiber Exchange has been cancelled.

Spotlight on Mayan Weaving

by Roving Reporter, Kate W

We opened our new guild year with Laura de los Santos, docent at The Field Museum in Chicago for our September program. Laura gave us a glimpse at past and present Mayan weavers and their weaving with the archaeological evidence and Maya mythology that shaped them. While she does not weave or do any other crafts, she is intensely interested in Mayan textiles. As Laura spent three summers in the Yucatan doing field work, she was able to question many of the local people about their textiles and how they were taught. Showing us slides of the ancient Jaina figurines and scenes of weaving on ceramic jars, we were able to see the different looms being used at the time.

The Mayan people harvested cotton and fibers from cactus plants and spun them to use in their weaving. Sheep were introduced during the 16th century providing wool for weaving. By using plants surrounding them and some acquired through trading, the Mayans were able to produce brightly dyed threads that were used to embroider many of the huipils, headdresses, and skirts women wore then and still wear today. Men wore embroidered loincloths, but when the Spaniards arrived they began to adopt the more Spanish and modern influenced way of dressing. The embroidered loincloths are now used as sashes. In the Pre-Columbian days, weaving was done entirely on back-strap looms. It was after Europeans arrived that treadle looms were introduced. Treadle looms are favored by men nowadays while many of the women continue to use the backstrap loom. After her presentation, Laura displayed many examples of Mayan textiles.

Other Photos

Click here to view the latest Show & Tell pictures!

Click here to view pictures from the 2013 Annual Challenge.

Click here to view individual guild member's photos, previous programs, and events.