Jaspe, the traditional art of tying and dyeing patterns into the threads before weaving, has been a feature of Tzutujil Maya textile design for hundreds of years. These jaspe bags are inspired by the Guatemalan landscape of trembling volcanoes where the big cats still roam the forests.
Candis, designer and weaver, describes her passion for the art of her adopted homeland:
I have thrived living on the shore of magical Lake Atitlan in Guatemala for over 30 years. Enchanted by the splendor of the green volcanoes and the culture of the Tzutujil Maya, over time I became deeply immersed in the tradition of back-strap loom weaving and fascinated by the opportunities it offers for creative expression. Today, I am more than ever impressed with the infinite potential for design using this ancient loom...the mother of looms... given to Maya women by the Goddess Ixchel.
I was fortunate to be asked to use my design and community development skills to work with women of the lowland Maya, who live in the endless forests of Quintana Roo, Mexico. They are the fiercely independent children of Maya heroes, who in 1847 fought for and regained their freedom for over fifty years. Utilizing the women's ancestral skills, we were able to introduce finely-crafted accessories into the high-end tourist markets along Mexico's Caribbean coast.
Fortune has led me on the same route as the Proto-Maya, who drifted to the island of Hispaniola, where they settled. Centuries later, the Taíno people encountered them, after migrating up from South America. The Classic Taíno culture grew to dominate the island until the Spanish conquest, which eliminated both ancient cultures. The Taíno spirit lives on in the DNA of the Dominican people...the unbroken link is their embracing warmth. In a project for the province of Puerto Plata (dedicated to revitalizing the economy through sustainable tourism) I have encouraged artisans to use the art of their Taíno ancestors as a fountain of inspiration. These designs are for products that visitors to the communities will take with them as reminders of their unique experience with the Dominican people. My own logo reflects the exquisite Taíno designs found on ceramic seals, once used to decorate their bodies for ritual dances.
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