Snow on peaks

Snow on peaks

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tarahumara Blanket Weaving

Maria Elena
In the early spring of 2008 I video taped a traditional Tarahumara blanket weaver at work. On March 26, 2012 I showed my video, “Tarahumara Blanket Weaving,” as well as the blanket itself and photography stills to the Dallas Area Fiber ARTists. The video documents the work of a traditional Tarahumara blanket weaver. Blanket weaving is in rapid decline among the Tarahumara due to the introduction of cheaper, imported blankets from China.

Beginning with the hand shearing of a sheep with common kitchen scissors, this video follows a Tarahumara woman through all the steps and processes of creating a hand-woven blanket and ends with her working the giant ground loom. The goal of the video is to document the traditional processes and to instill in the viewer an appreciation for the ancient craft of weaving.

Mexico's Tarahumara are one of three indigenous groups still maintaining their own traditional lifestyle by living in remote areas of the Copper Canyon located in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. They are one of the designated National Treasures of Mexico. My talk detailed personal experiences with the weaver, Maria Elena, and my own necessary use of the massive blankets while traveling and camping in the high country of the Sierras Madre Tarahumara.

This link takes you to Maria Elena's demonstration of traditional blanket weaving among the Tarahumara (Raramuri):  Traditional blanket weaving