Masterclass Amuzgo backstrap weaving
During a three-day backstrap weaving course, I learned how to warp and assemble a backstrap loom, how to weave Amuzgo symbology and understand its meanings and cultural surroundings using naturally dyed Mexican cotton yarn. At the end of the course, I took home my woven swatch with symbols and the backstrap loom handcrafted in Mexico by Gabi and her family. The masterclass was organised by Crafts Council Nederland at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam (29, 30 September and 1 October 2023)
Amuzgo Culture In a remote village of the state of Guerrero (México), there is an indigenous group named Amuzgo or Amochco, known for its textile heritage. Weaving in this region has been a women’s role and oral transmission has kept this practise alive from one generation to another, playing crucial roles in the social, spiritual and economic lives of the members of this community. Weaving a piece can take up weeks, months or even a year to be completed, making each creation a unique story of its maker. Amuzgo weaves are complex representations in geometric motifs of the fauna, flora, ethnicity, beliefs and personal narratives of the ancestors. This valuable craft ensures cultural continuity, ritual exchange and strengthens community ties.
About Gabina Valentín López & Inês Queirós Gabina Valentín López is an Amuzgo weaver from Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, on the Costa Chica of México. From the age of nine, she started weaving and learning the traditional symbology of her indigenous community, side by side with her family elders. Forced to migrate to the urban areas of Mexico City, weaving became for some years a night activity to keep practising her knowledge and feel closer to her roots. With her passion and strength, Gabina dedicates her life to preserving and maintaining her textile culture. She travels around México to sell the work of the Amuzgo weavers, safeguarding their ability to gain independence as women while keeping their culture alive. Inês Queirós is a Portuguese textile artist and researcher based in Amsterdam, who is dedicated to preserving the endangered textile cultures and the unique multicultural manifestations of the ethnosphere. As the founder of TuYo Foundation and with her knowledge of natural dyeing methods/weaving techniques, she tries to motivate communities to restore ancestral textile practices while exploring new possibilities. She approaches textiles as a physical vehicle for storytelling, social encounters and a powerful tool for women’s emancipation. She will be the translator and facilitator of the masterclasses taught by Gabina Valentín Lopez.