Ethnic Textiles

Belts, or fajas, in a Guatemalan textile market.

Belts, or fajas, in a Guatemalan textile market.

Las Manos Magicas has a large collection of ethnic textiles for sale and we are in the process of getting them all photographed and online. There are molas from the San Blas Islands and handwoven huipiles, fajas, etc. from Guatemala. Over the years, we have acquired beautiful chaklas from India, hand-embroidered parts of garments from the Hmongs, Bolivian weavings, and other pieces from around the world. They will be added to this website page by page over the following months. The mola sections are first.

My fascination with textiles, textile construction techniques, and more specifically, ethnic textiles, goes back years. I became a textile artist in the late 1970’s and taught several textile techniques—applique and quilting, weaving, and soft sculpture. In the 1980’s, I taught Textile Science and Design at the University of Houston and the Weaving studio course at Texas Southern University. I have studied and collected ethnic textiles for years. The textiles for sale here have been carefully selected at Guatemalan and Mexican markets, acquired from collectors, and bought from various sources. I search for the best quality pieces I can find.

Ethnic textiles, unlike contemporary commercial textile, are a large part of the identity of the people who create and wear them and of the culture they live in. If you know your Guatemalan huipile designs, you are able to identify women from many different villages in a large Guatemalan market. Tribal garments are made with great skill and technique and according to tradition. The ornamentation is very tedious, requires great talent, and takes a lot of time to do, so traditional dress is in danger of disappearing (and in some places already is) as modern technology demands that things be done quickly and affordably. Ethnic textiles are small pieces of womens’ history and treasures to preserve. They are beautiful and fine additions to decorative art collections.