While in San Juan on Lake Atitlán I had the opportunity to visit a local weaving co-op. Weaving is very important in Guatemala, and many indigenous Guatemalans – especially women – wear a traditional woven costume called traje. Each small town has its own unique traje complete with different colors and patterns. A woman in the San Juan weaving co-op demonstrated how Guatemalans weave items like scarves, belts, traje and other articles.
Natural dyes are used to give the cotton vibrant colors. Here seeds from the achiote shrub are used to give a red color.
During the first step of the weaving process the yarn is strung on wooden pegs so that other yarn can be woven into it.
Most of the weaving is done using a backstrap loom that is suspended between the weaver and a solid object. The weavers are skilled at manipulating various pieces of wood connected to yarn to create intricate patterns in their creations.