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Craft Techniques

Backstrap Loom

The backstrap loom has been used in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. This mechanism consists of fastening threads between two wooden bars or sticks, these threads are known as the warp threads; the upper stick is tied to an immobile object such as a tree of pole and the lower bar is connected to the weaver's waist using a belt connected to either end of the bar which then wraps around the waist of the weaver. In doing so, this allows the weaver to use her own weight to control the tension of the warp threads.

The set of vertically tensioned threads is called “warp”, with the help of horizontal wooden sticks called “heddles” the weaver raises certain warp threads to introduce threads horizontally, these threads are called “weft” threads. The constant intersection of the set of warp (vertical) and weft threads (horizontal) form a fabric.

The constant intersection of the set of warp (vertical) and weft threads (horizontal) form a fabric.

This technique is widespread throughout Mexico, there are many communities in different latitudes of the country that use the backstrap loom to create textiles. Each community follows the basic principle described above, however they also have variations that make each textile in each community different.