January 18, 2023 Artisans
In the Studio With: Lidia Cerecho Cutzal
By Eimy Figueroa
Today we are heading to San Juan Comalapa in Guatemala. Here you'll find Lidia Cerecho Cutzal, a weaver who's extraordinary passion about her craft shows in every piece she makes. As Lidia explains, back in the day, women weavers only worked on the smaller-format backstrap looms. However, she and her team began working with increasingly larger looms, and now can work with very wide looms to accommodate projects like rugs and large cushions. The ability of her and other women weavers to work on a variety of types and sizes of looms makes them distinct from other weavers in their region, and increases the scope of products they're able to offer. For example, she's one the master weavers behind our Sol Collection. But, we will let Lidia tell you more about her process below.
Artisan Partners are the heart of MINNA. It is important to us that we center their voices and expertise. This interview was recorded and translated to be shared with the larger MINNA community with Lidia's informed consent, and we are presenting her words in her voice. We humbly ask you not to repurpose videos or photos of artisan partners to publish on your own platform without consent — we believe it is important that individuals have the ability to consent to where and how her interview and photos are shared.
The interview below has been transcribed from the video versions that are linked below. Shot by Ray Vázquez & Leslie Marléne Estrada. Editing & Translation by Carlos Ledesma.
My name is Lidia Cerecho Cutzal, and I'm from San Juan Comalapa. I started working when I was little. Our parents at that time couldn't send us to school. I went to school for less than one year. I like it when I'm working on samples. The treads are my passion. Count the threads and all that. When we finish a different sample, like the cushions we just finished making, that at first was giving me a lot of work, but in the end, we were able to do them. So that's my pride, my passion. What I like to do.
The inspiration comes from our mind. Many times, when one is working on a sample and one is having a hard time getting it right and starts to worry, I go out to the patio, look at the mountains at dawn... Or sometimes I have dreams about what I should do to resolve this. And in my dreams, I do it in a particular way, and what I did in the dream, ends up being the solution! We're always working to make our pieces better.
“And in my dreams, I do it in a particular way, and what I did in the dream, ends up being the solution!”
It's very important to be known for the quality of my work. Comalapa has a lot of weavers but not all of them do what I do. Remember when we were challenged by those cushions we were working on? I tried to come up with ideas to combine with yours so we could end up figuring it out and with an excellent product.
On Being a Woman Weaver:
It's a bit tiring but it's doable. Because back in the day, women were only weaving on waist looms. So, we made small looms for us to work on. I also have some big ones and, as you saw, even bigger ones than these, where we work with 50" fabrics, 50" rugs. Comalapa is full of weavers but they weave faja and huipil. And here we do different things: fabrics by the yard, rugs, placemats, cushions, table runners… different pieces.
I feel very proud because people here see me as an example because I've accomplished things thanks to my work. I have a roof above my head thanks to my work. I can support my kid and his studies thanks to my work. And also give jobs to other people. Because there are a lot of people who come from very scarce resources and I teach them how to weave, then they learn it and then I give them jobs.