Winnipeg weavers had the pleasure of meeting two Guatemalan traditional back-strap weavers in October. Socorra Perez and Carlotta Lopez of the San Juan la Laguna Women’s Co-op visited Winnipeg during their Western Canadian tour, which was sponsored by the Sombrilla Refugee Support Society. They demonstrated their hand-weaving techniques using backstrap looms and showed finished examples of their work at the University of Manitoba, from October 19-21.
Socorra and Carlotta, accompanied by Sombrilla Board member Leona Olson, visited with several members of the Guild of Canadian Weavers in their homes during their brief stay in Winnipeg. The local weavers were impressed by the accomplishments of these women in their traditional art.
Socorra and Carlotta’s women’s weaving cooperative, formed in 1993, currently has over 30 weavers producing textiles. They are situated in the small village of San Juan la Laguna on the shore of Lake Atitlan in highland Guatemala. Soaring volcanic mountains surround the lake and nestled along its shoreline are the villages of the “twelve apostles”, of which San Juan is one of the smallest. The weavers of this cooperative use fibres, dyes, designs and looms of the Mayan tradition and their designs and fabrics reflect an artistry that is loyal to these traditions.