Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lana and Luis...wool yarn that is.

After a suffocatingly cramped chicken bus ride to the outskirts of Momostenango, we were dropped off on the roadside 10 minutes outside of town among the mountains, pines and chickens.
Full of bewilderment, we made our way down staircase after staircase until we entered a room with brightly colored wool yarn hanging joyfully from the wall.
Welcome to Luis and his two hundred year old family tradition of sheering, spinning, naturally dying and weaving wool. His daughter sits in the background combing the wool, preparing it for spinning.
This was perhaps one of the best field trips we've had...if you don't include the hour and a half wait in the bus terminal in the morning, the guy in the bus that kept trying to grope and kiss one of the new female students (oh machismo culture...makes me want to rip my hair out at times), or the tight bus ride which had three adults in a school bus seat over very bumpy and roller coaster-like curvy roads.

Why was it so great??? Because my friends, it was hands on. That's right, we all got to try out luck at spinning wool (note the home-made souls of shoes on the spinning portion of the wheel...lower left of photo). Luis was kind and patient enough with us as we slowly discovered the sticky magic of creating yarn.
Then, he told us about how for centuries, his family has only used natural dying techniques; using barks for browns, plant stems for yellows, insects for reds, leaves for greens, and so on. No toxins. Just plain old mother nature.

But the fun wasn't over. We next got to each experience weaving. I loved it. Truth is, I like to work, I like to use my hands, I like education and I loved getting up-close experience with a real Maya family. Weaving could certainly be my new hobby!

And of course, we got to then experience negotiating, buying, and delight with our new gifts/prizes/home-spun-natural-dyed wall hangings or rugs.
Thank you Luis and family!
P.S. If anyone wants a wall hanging, let me know!! :)

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