Teaching textile traditions is a gift mothers pass down to their children (okay, dads can get in on it, too, but that’s a story for another day). Whether in Guatemala, Mexico, or Peru—and I’m learning in Morocco, Laos, and Afghanistan, too—for centuries, mothers have been teaching their daughters to weave, to spin, to dye, to embroider. Passing down these skills to the next generation is practical, sure, because it creates a livelihood, but it’s also passing down a cultural legacy. It’s a way to maintain strong family connections by working together and sharing ideas. In the case of some families, this working together is an almost sacred ritual.
So hats off to those mothers who hold traditions and families together. Whether they are making little spindles for their children to practice with high in the mountain communities of the Andes or are busily conspiring with their daughters to evolve the complex weaving patterns of the Chiapas highlands, their legacy, their beauty endures.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and to all who mother.
Learn more about indigenous textile traditions from these Thrums Books.