Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guatemala Day Five - Panajachel

Today was our first day of rug hooking. We met the twelve Mayan Rug hookers at the Oxlajuj Batz (Thirteen Threads) office. After some introductions, presentations, and fun getting-to-know-you games, it was time to start designing with our buddies.

I have been paired up with Zoila - an amazingly talented rug hooker, weaver, embroiderer, and more... I am sure. She is standing in front of two of her rugs, above. Those of you who are in Ontario might have a chance to see one of her rugs in an upcoming show at the Textile Museum (hint hint!) She is delightful.
For our designing, Zoila pulled out an amazing huipil (wee-peel) that her sister Yessica (pictured below, holding her huipil) wove on a back strap loom....
She wanted us to look at the weaving in the huipil and pick out little motifs that appealed to us and use them to start creating rug designs. Before long, I was looking to Zoila's huipil and belt that she was wearing for even more ideas. I did come up with a design on my own, but what I really wanted to do was let Zoila come up with a design for me to hook. It's likely that I will end up hooking a version of my own design after I am home, but now is the time it take advantage of the opportunity to learn from Zoila.
After creating a small draft on 1/6 piece of letter paper, she just started drawing out the shapes free hand onto the backing. She did cut a template to use for the corner diamonds....but the rest was just free-handed.

Once our design was on the backing, we headed out to the Pacas (used clothing stores) in a Tuk Tuk (micro taxi)....
Zoila is a great bargain hunter. We rejected the first two stores because their prices were too high (Q2 or about 25 cents per item). The first store ended up being the equivalent of about 10 cents per item from the bins (nicer clothes are on hangers - and cost more).....and then stopped at another store searching for more colours. The prices were a little more....but we ended up with about 45 items for $5 or so. We spend more money on the Tuk Tuks to take us back and forth!
The rest of the afternoon was spent hooking. I am letting Zoila choose and dictate what and where to hook the different fabrics. I really want to try to get a better sense of how she fills in the spaces on the rug. So far it is a fun process.
When quitting time rolled around, we were all feeling quite tired. The most tired we have felt on the trip so far. A quick stop at the store for beer and wine, and then a little cocktail with a little lie down for Elaine and a shower for me. It was also the hottest day we have had so far....LOL!
Dinner out was quite the experience. Our restaurant was right alongside the Main Street, and I counted no less than five different dogs walking in, hanging around, laying down, and even begging from the restaurant guests. Definitely a first for me!