The photo shows some of the students from my Social Movements and Weaving class who created placement sized projects. Our instructor, Susan Weaver, provided three workshops for the students to teach them about the significance of weaving to the Mayan cultures. Although my students were not engaged in backstrap weaving, their experience with the table and floor looms gave them an appreciation for the physical demands associated with weaving. Many found the experience to be relaxing and rewarding. Of course, Susan engaged in the hard work of measuring and warping these looms that had been in storage for 20+ years! I’ll save the moving and cleaning portion for another post.
So, what’s the connection to social movements? I used this project as a way for the students to understand the global justice movements, particularly those in southern Mexico and Guatemala. I was inspired by the work of Weaving for Justice and Mayan Hands. Watching video clips is one way to understand the experiences of the women in the weaving cooperatives. Participating in the activity of weaving gives a physical and emotional connection that our readings and videos couldn’t. I was impressed with the final products and the insights that the students achieved.