The hands of the craftswoman who protects the tradition of weaving huipiles of life

The hands of the craftswoman who protects the tradition of weaving huipiles of life

The craftsmanship of transforming cotton into ornate and colorful "huipiles" (a kind of blouse) and the "cortes" (skirts) recover the ancestral protagonism of the Maya in the hands of Esther, an indigenous woman from Guatemala who makes these garments for use all of life

Sitting in a small wooden chair with a loom tied around her waist, held only at the other end by a pole, this artisan from the Cakchiquel ethnic group from the department of Chimaltenango (center), told Efe that her work recreates the memory of the traditions of a culture more than 3,000 years old.

He grew up with art in his family, at age 8 his mother and grandmother instructed him how to accurately place the threads on the loom and make designs not from a sketch, but from his imagination. Today at 65, that skill makes her an expert in the huipil.

In a corner of a craft fair in Panama, Serech only gave way to his needle made with the ankle of a res to separate several threads of the loom, which worked for more than three months in a ceremonial piece.

"The process of making the huipiles and cuts is long and requires a lot of dedication, everything is a process, first the cotton thread is prepared, it is spun and dyed, after that, it is armed on different woods to make the canvas" , Explain.

The architect tells that this prehispanic technique full of mysticism and a deep spiritual sense varies according to the occasions, even those used for ceremonial acts are the most complicated because of the value it has.

"In the case of marriages you have to make three huipiles to leave a final memory to the mother, after this the bride can get married," he says.

The three that Serech refers to are the ceremonial or festive use made with bright colors, the daily work that plasma less elaborate designs and the mourning that is woven with shades in black, blue, purple and green.

With more than 200 made-up huipil designs, Serech emphasizes that in his life he has always liked to draw roses, birds and geometric shapes, because they are the ones that predominate in his region.

He argued that the time to assemble the blouse and cut vary, the first takes about 9 months if you work 8 hours a day and skirt another three months.

This woman, who still has her first huipil that she made at age 15, mentions that these garments can be used for a long time because of the quality of the material.

"I have about 25 huipil in my clothes, in my town we keep what is our textile, and nobody has stopped doing it, on the contrary they all preserve their designs and colors, as well as the typical food in the different departments of the country", added .

But not everything is easy for Serech, despite the fact that his nation recognizes his work and agility, he suffers contempt from people who do not understand the effort involved in making those pieces, including urging them to sell them cheaper.

"As an artisan I have often felt bad because they humiliate me because they do not value my work, they tell me that huipiles should not be so expensive because -for them- they are made by machine, others laugh and offend, but I only let them turn around, "he lamented.

In that he remembers the words of his mother: "She taught me patience, 'if someone does not value it, leave it, there will be others who will.'"

Serech commented that her other task will be to teach the next generations to make the textile, 8-year-old girls, who like her in her youth, expect them to learn the ancestral art of weaving.


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