Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
I work in many fiber arts processes, but weaving is my heartbeat. I was warping my loom last night, and my vision was stimulated by the bright colors I’m using for my dishtowels. Then I stopped – wait, where has this passion for color come from? I have posted a favorite saying of mine in my art classroom, “Color spins my world”. I love to see lots of colors dancing about me. Then it hit me – I went into my closet and pulled out one of the huipils in my collection and brought it to the loom. There it was – an influence that has been at work behind the scenes for several decades – my love of Guatemalan weaving.
The two women behind Cultural Cloth, Mary Anne Wise and Joy Slocum, have been working with the weavers and artisans in Guatemala since 2009. Their passion runs deep as evidenced by the story from their website:
Cultural Cloth is a social enterprise that empowers women artisans around the world who make handmade home décor textiles and accessories. We sell these textiles and accessories in our online store and in our shop Maiden Rock WI.
- We run workshops for artisans around the world where they learn hand work techniques and how to tap into their creative insights while at the same time continuing to be true to their cultural traditions. Last year we participated in a workshop where we explored color and the use of color in rugs with artisans in Guatemala who make hand hooked rugs. We also participated in another workshop where we began teaching women in Guatemala to embroider with hopes that soon they will be able to use this new skill to help support themselves and their families.
- We sell these pieces in our Cultural Cloth shop, online and during special exhibits and events in the Annex Gallery at our shop. Our shop which is on the shores of Lake Pepin in far Western Wisconsin is open seasonally from mid-April through Dec.
- We travel to far flung places like India and Morocco to meet artisans and bring back new treasures for our customers. We are always looking for artisans who have mastered their craft, who stay faithful to their traditions and find something new.
- We offer classes and events in our Cultural Cloth Annex Shop taught by the artisans we represent so you may nurture the artist within, learn more about global textile traditions and the lives of folk art masters who create our pieces.
- We participate in an annual tour for rug hookers in the US who travel to Guatemala to meet and learn from rug hookers in Guatemala. The proceeds from the tour support Multicolores, an artisan based non-profit cofounded by Cultural Cloth and our team in Guatemala.
There is so much inspiration in the textiles of Guatemala. What is an inspiration you draw from for your fiber arts expression?