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From Tree to Table

From Tree to Table

The process that goes into each of the pieces created by the women weavers across Guatemala is complex. It takes time to create that perfect product that you can then bring into your home.
Here we tell you about every step involved from picking the cotton to the finishing touches.

PICKING THE COTTON

Cotton across Guatemala grows on trees, it must first be picked, the seeds removed and then beaten to remove all of the ‘polvo’ or dust that gets caught in it.

SPINNING THE THREAD

The thread is spun using a spindle and by hand, the ball of cotton is teased out, attached to the spindle and spun and spun and spun!

PREPARING THE COTTON

The thread then needs to be boiled for an hour in banana bark, this creates a waxy texture to the thread that will allow the colour to get firmly locked in.

 

CHOOSING THE COLOURS

Every colour comes from a natural product, plants, flowers, shrubs even beetles! You can never get the exact same colour twice as nature is ever changing.

MAKING THE DYE

Next, you put the plant or shrub into boiling water to withdraw the colour, the time you boil it for will determine the deepness of the colour. Use a sieve to extract any of the natural sediment & particles.


DYING THE THREAD

You will now have a colourful liquid, dip the spun threads into the solution and within a matter of seconds, the cotton will start to take on the new colour. How long to leave it in the dye? It will depend again on how deep you want the colour to be.

DRYING THE COTTON

The best way to dry the cotton is out in the Guatemalan sun.

READY THE BASE

The weaving loom needs to be prepared, figures of 8 form the base and the colours selected need to be placed on the larger weaving spindle.

WEAVING ON THE BACK LOOM

The ‘base’ structure is then transferred to the back loom, a contraption you will find in women’s homes across Guatemala! Three ‘ramas’ or branches are used to carry out the weaving process; this part of the creation takes time, patience and dedication.

FINISHING TOUCHES

When finished the ends of the textile are rolled to create the tassels you will find at the end of each of your pieces.

So there you have it – the complex process behind many of the products you find in the TMAC Boutique. The clutches go through the same process but are not woven, but embroidered with a needle – the thread is created in exactly the same way as in the process above and the natural dyes are hard wearing and long lasting.

 

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