Maguey Journey: Discovering Textiles in Guatemala


Maguey Journey: Discovering Textiles in Guatemala
Kathryn Rousso
2010, University of Arizona Press
208 pages, 20 plates

IT IS EVERYWHERE, yet strangely invisible: the maguey, the distinctive agave whose many varieties have for millennia provided raw materials for peasants – in particular the fibres that are spun and woven as textiles – as well as tequila for us all. In Maguey Journey, artist Kathryn Rousso – the textile coordinator at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California – examines the culture, use and trade surrounding the plants in Guatemala, and how globalization and modernization are transforming this traditional sector. Maguey Journey is a necessary story that is both a testament to the key role played by simple artisanry in the rural economy as well as to the writer’s many years travelling in Guatemala. It contains colour illustrations that follow the process of turning a raw leaf into a beautiful textile product, and will be of interest to cultural anthropologists, ethnobotanists, artists and anyone travelling in Central America who wants to look beyond the folkloric. – GO’T

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