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Endangered Threads Documentaries

Splendor in the Highlands - Endangered Threads Documentary

Splendor in the Highlands: Maya Weavers of Guatemala

Narrator: Margot Blum Schevill
Running time: 27 minutes
View on YouTube

With brilliant colors and intimate views, textile scholar, author and anthropologist Margot Blum Schevill introduces us to 22 indigenous weavers in Guatemala and their weaving styles and techniques. Traditional back-strap weaving for clothing and cloth, as well as floor loom weaving for decorative blankets, ribbons and yardage, are included, as well as a visit to an ikat or jaspe dye workshop.

Splendor in the Highlands: Maya Weavers of Guatemala was selected for the Society of Visual Anthropology’s film festival at the American Anthropologists Association’s annual convention in Washington, D.C., in 2007.

Testimonials and reviews:

"Splendor in the Highlands takes viewers on a kaleidoscopic journey through Maya communities in Guatemala where cloth production is part of the essence of daily life. We are able to look up-close at women weaving on backstrap looms and see men preparing threads for the tie-dyed “jaspe” cloth. A wide range of topics are touched upon, including weaving techniques, dress styles, work conditions, and the idea of innovation in a traditional art. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the production is the entry it gives us into the world of a large number of Maya weavers from different communities. We are feasted by the colors and woven designs of the cloth that they so skillfully and thoughtfully produce."
--Carol Hendrickson,
Professor of Anthropology
Marlboro College
"(Splendor in the Highlands) is excellent. I passed it on to our Peace Corps Training Director and staff. They plan to use it during Pre Service Training with our Volunteers as part of their cultural education/orientation."
--Cynthia Threlkeld
Former Peace Corps Director, Guatemala
"Beautiful imaging and editing."
--Virginia Davis
Artist, Noho Gallery, NYC
"(Splendor in the Highlands) is the perfect tool for understanding the complexity and diversity of the art of backstrap loom weaving and the importance of keeping this tradition alive. It is the next best thing to being there in person."
--Candis Krummel
Co-founder, designer
Cojolya Association
Santiago Atitlán
"I love the documentary. You did it right, with close-in shots so that faces, expressions, threads, colors, fingers weaving, wefts being beaten, could all be seen perfectly."
--Mary Crittenden
Weaver, Brooklyn, New York
"…absolutely fascinating. It’s amazing that these crafts have been kept alive, and your video supplies a marvelous record of the work."
--John Davis
Artist, author, documentarian
Yarmouth, Maine
"I loved the video and enjoyed seeing the subtleties of the (weaving) techniques used in the different villages…I loved watching the women at the loom…I’ve read about it in books, but the video brings it more to life."
--Barbara Mauldin
Curator of Latin American Folk Art
Museum of International Folk Art
Santa Fe, New Mexico