Pride in Our Process

We are preserving a Culture of Art

Backstrap

Foot Loom

Backstrap

Gather Raw Thread

1 Gather Raw Thread

First the weavers must gather the thread to be used in the panel, or in some cases, create the thread themselves. Once the thread is acquired the weaver will spin the raw thread on around a madejero which acts as a bobbin for the weaver in this process

Setting Up the Weft

2 Setting Up the Weft

The Weft is the tread that is going vertical in any weave. These thread patterns are set up on a wooden device called a urdidor. The weaver lays out the pattern of the vertical thread onto the urdidor which is designed to easily slip onto the rods that will be attached to the woman with the back strap.

Setting Up the Trama

3 Setting Up the Trama

The trama is the thread that is woven horizontally into the back strap. These colors will generally alternate and vary within the design. These threads are either spun around a moving “shuttle” rod, or will be threaded through the weft individually by hand.

Wrapped in Nylon

4 Wrapped in Nylon

The set up is then attached to the woman and tied to a post, tree, or column. The pull between the post and woman creates the tension for the panel to be woven.

Setting Up the Heddle

5 Setting Up the Heddle

To achieve the intricate and constantly changing design the threads must be tied off into the pattern before the rows begins to help lift half of the vertical threads at a time. Instead of lifting every individual strand and pulling the trama through evenly and avoid tangles, the heddle loops assure that the thread will slip evenly every time. These loops are then placed onto a rod that sits on top of the backstrap as it is being woven.

Add the Beater Rod

6 Add the Beater Rod

The beater rod is placed in between the thread that was split in half by the heddle. This rod is much thicker and sturdier than the other rods being used in this process. When turned on the edge it creates a large bridge for the trama shuttle to pass through. When the rod is laid flat it can be used to beat the thread towards the woman to keep the panels as tight as possible.

Working on the Design

7 Working on the Design

Some designs use a trama shuttle to pass the thread back and forth through the gap created until the pattern needs to be re-looped or the panel is completed. However most of our designs are much more intricate and require the weaver to go row by row of the back strap individually looping the trama thread to create the design. Once a row is completed the weaver must tie off the back side of this design, “beat” the row into place, and move on to the next. Depending on the detail that is brought into the panels these may take up to three days to complete.

Foot Loom

Winding a Skein Into a Ball

1 Winding a Skein Into a Ball

Thread is purchased by skeins or “madejas” by the pound, then it is placed in a handmade device called a Devanador to help wrap the thread into balls.

Spinning the Thread

2 Spinning the Thread

From balls, the thread is then transferred onto smaller metal spools with a spindle, called a ruedina, usually made from a metal bike wheel.

Organizing the Color

3 Organizing the Color

The spools of thread are aligned by color on a long rectangular homemade device, called a trascañonera, that helps organize the order of color required by the fabric design.

Sorting the Thread

4 Sorting the Thread

The weaver then lays out the threads piece by piece using her fingers and hands to sort the desired pattern onto another homemade spinning piece of equipment, called an Urdidora, that stands taller than the weaver herself. This step takes into account the color and width of each stripe in a pattern.

Placing the Thread

5 Placing the Thread

The thread is removed from the Urdidora and carefully placed onto the foot loom, where the threads are split in half to be pulled up and down as the weft, or “trama de mano” (the horizontal thread), is passed through warp, or “trama de pie” (the vertical thread), and background.

Weaving the Strands into Fabric

6 Weaving the Strands into Fabric

Finally ready to loom! The weavers simultaneously work with their hands and feet, pressing the pedals to create the fabric you see on our bags.