Maguey Journey: Discovering Textiles in Guatemala

Front Cover
University of Arizona Press, Dec 15, 2010 - Art - 162 pages
The name maguey refers to various forms of the agave and furcraea genus, also sometimes called the century plant. The fibers extracted from the leaves of these plants are spun into fine cordage and worked with a variety of tools and techniques to create textiles, from net bags and hammocks to equestrian gear.

In this fascinating book, Kathryn Rousso, an accomplished textile artist, takes a detailed look at the state of maguey culture, use, and trade in Guatemala. She has spent years traveling in Guatemala, highlighting maguey workersÕ interactions in many locations and blending historical and current facts to describe their environments. Along the way, Rousso has learned the process of turning a raw leaf into beautiful and useful textile products and how globalization and modernization are transforming the maguey trade in Guatemala.

Featuring a section of full-color illustrations that follow the process from plant to weaving to product, Maguey Journey presents the story of this fiber over recent decades through the travels of an impassioned artist. Useful to cultural anthropologists, ethnobotanists, fiber artists, and interested travelers alike, this book offers a snapshot of how the industry stands now and seeks to honor those who keep the art alive in Guatemala.

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Part II
Part III
The Language of the Bag
Bags from Beginning to End
Fancy Saddlebag Components
Mayan Terminology
Further Reading
About the Author

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About the author (2010)

Kathryn Rousso recently returned to Ketchikan, Alaska, after two years as the textile coordinator at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California. She has been published in Revue, Fiberarts, and Arts of Asia, and her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions. She has also served as curator for textile art exhibitions at the University of California, Davis, the Main Street Gallery in Ketchikan, Alaska, and in the Museo Ixchel del Traje Ind’gena in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

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