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Guatemala & Turkey connected by the Woven Arts

Hello again dear friends! Today I don’t greet you from my usual bright and sunny Antigua Guatemala, but rather from the other side of the world: Istanbul! This marks my second educational voyage to Turkey as I seek to learn about the incredible woven heritage of this place. At Loom Tree we often talk about “the threads that bind us,” a phrase we came up with to describe how the woven arts (one of humanity’s oldest artforms) connects us through time to our ancestors. At Loom Tree we have created a space where the ancestral woven techniques of Guatemala are both preserved, and allowed to evolve for the modern age. In a metaphorical sense we see ourselves as holding one end of a very long thread that can be followed back thousands of years.

But today I’m not thinking of a thread that connects two points in time, but rather a thread that connects two points in actual space. Guatemala and Turkey are different in far more ways than they are similar. Not only is this true in the practical sense like different languages, cultures, religions and so on, but it is also true for their history, and how both nations have developed into who they are today. However, these two very different places are connected by the woven arts; a connection that transcends cultural divides. Styles vary, and techniques may differ in very nuanced ways, but the overall practice is the same, and these two places that are thousands of kilometers apart, suddenly, are far closer than we think.

All my life I have followed threads, both in a very real sense and in a metaphorical one. When I first traveled to Latin America, Guatemala was just another stop of my visit. But once I got there I discovered something that truly captivated me, and I began following that thread as far as it would go. One thing led to another until I literally uprooted my life, and traveled halfway across the globe to settle there. Now, as fate would have it, the treads I follow have led me here, to Istanbul. In a few days I will travel south, to Anatolia, birthplace of civilization, and famed for its incredible textiles. I’m really looking forward to the next conference call with my weavers so I can share what I have learned!

In the meantime my team back in Antigua are holding down the fort in anticipation of all the new projects ahead! Feel free to drop in and keep them company!


- Carmen


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