Creative Inspiration from Southern Mexico.

Last month, Spindleworks staff artist Alyce Ornella took a trip to Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. Chiapas has a long textile arts tradition thanks to the extended communities of Mayan artisans who continue to practice traditional techniques while incorporating newer methods and materials.  Alyce visited with weavers and learned about how each community has its own distinct style of weaving and dress.

Weaver using backstrap loom. Chiapas, Mexico. Photo by Alyce Ornella

Women wearing regional clothes. Chiapas, Mexico. Photo by Alyce Ornella


Alyce was based out of San Cristobal de Las Casas during her time in Chiapas, which is a market center for many of the surrounding towns. In San Cristobal, Alyce noticed an style of handbag for sale in a number of shops and thought it’d be an interesting example to bring back to the weavers at Spindleworks. The twisted warp threads, formed into handles for the bag, seemed like a great idea that the artists of Spindleworks could try:


Once Alyce returned to Maine, she showed the bag to Spindleworks mentor and fiber artist Cathy Worthington.  Cathy tried out the technique on a sample of Spindleworks weaving, twisting the warp threads into handles and sewing up the sides to form a bag:

Diane Black, a longtime Spindleworks artist, was next up to try this style using a piece of her weaving:

It takes a lot of patience to use the warp threads this way, but we are liking the results! Stop by Spindleworks and check out the bags for yourself.