My New Huipil

One of the blessings of writing Traditional Weavers of Guatemala – Their Stories, Their Lives, has been getting to know some pretty great artisans, including Herminia Santos from the famous weaving town of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. More than half a century of backstrap weaving has taken its toll and Herminia can no longer weave for the pain in her back and legs. But her daughters-in-law can – and do.

Herminia Santos and her husband Chavelo showing off my huipil woven by their daughter-in-law Marta Leticia.
Herminia Santos and her husband Chavelo showing off my huipil woven by their daughter-in-law Marta Leticia.

When I took a Cloth Roads group to meet her last February she she showed us the second panel of a huipil being woven by Marta Leticia. I have been wanting a huipil from San Antonio for a long time, have finally saved up enough money to buy one, and this one knocked my socks off. So I lay my money on the table, and told her there was no rush, whenever she got it done would be fine.

One of the most significant things about the San Antonio huipils is that the parts with curves in the designs – birds and flowers in this case – are totally reversible, the same on the back as on the front. The geometric parts are one-sided, and the back of those areas is just the background cloth, no pattern showing at all.

The inside of the huipile, about to have the side seam sewn. Flowers reversible, geometrics invisible.
The inside of the huipile, about to have the side seam sewn. Flowers reversible, geometrics invisible.

When we were there in February the huipil was about 3/4 finished. It has taken until now, the end of June, to do the last 1/4. Marta has other work in her life, but still that gives you an idea how long it takes to make a fully reversible San Antonio huipil.

Until now the only piece I have had woven in that magnificent technique is a belt. It’s a nice belt. But it’s no huipil.

Now to find the right occasion...
Now to find the right occasion…

 

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15 thoughts on “My New Huipil

  1. It is fabulous! I believe you have a speaking engagement coming up in Houston, it would be the perfect outfit!!
    😍

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  2. It’s fantastic! I’m always in awe at the incredible skill set of women around the world. I’ll never be their equal, but I certainly respect & honor their work.

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  3. An amazing piece of art from the hands of talented Mayan artists. It looks beautiful on it and it fits your soul, Deborah—yourself an amazing person, a weaver, writer and great supporter of Mayan women!

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  4. Absolutely magnificent and truly a unique piece of art. You are the perfect person to wear this creation for it symbolizes all you have given to the women of Guatemala. Hugs Anita

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