Master Weaver María Florinda Pérez Mendoza

Master Weaver María Florinda Pérez Mendoza member of the Quetzalli women's weaving coorperative headshot for MayaWeavings
María Florinda:  Mother, Grandmother, Textile Artist

 

María Florinda is an artist. She began weaving at the age of 10 in order to help with the family's income. She did not attend school because her family could not afford to send her for the cost of both time and money. She was chosen to participate in Quetzalli Artesanias as the weaver of rebozo shawls because of her impeccable skill and beautiful designs. She prefers to create rebozos because she enjoys working with both the double thickness of thread and the width of the weaving.

Hands of Master Weaver María Florinda Pérez with backstrap loom shuttle over a nearly finished rebozo
Weaving shuttle with double strands of cotton thread

 

Because a backstrap loom weaver must be able to evenly pack down the weft threads by pulling the beater towards herself with both arms, the width of any weaving made on a back strap loom is limited to the width of a rebozo or wide shawl. María Florinda does make wider pieces such as bedspreads but these are individual weavings that are then sewn together. It is a strenuous business weaving with double threads of cotton at such a width; most weavers will not make rebozos, preferring to work with smoother threads such as silk or single strands of fine cotton. 

Master Weaver María Florinda Pérez working on the last few inches of backstrap loom woven rebozo shawl
Florinda weaving the last few inches of a Rebozo shawl

 

With the exception of indigo and cochineal she gathers local plants such as sacatinta, campeche, chilca and avocado to dye the threads and uses the trunk of the banana plant as the mordant or fixative. She mentally creates her designs as she winds the warp threads on the urdidor or warping board, deciding where to place the jaspe panels as well as the other design elements and colors. Her rebozos are constructed of plant-dyed cotton thread (black and red are the only synthetic dyes), and measure approximately 26” x 80”. It requires a full day to wind the warp threads and set up the loom and another two days to weave a rebozo shawl.

Artist Florinda Pérez winding warp threads on an urdidor preparing to set up a backstrap loom
Winding the warp threads - one of many preparatory steps before weaving. 

 

Rebozo with indigo ikat panels in purple and tan created by master backstrap loom weaver Florinda Pérez
Each of María Florinda’s exquisite shawls is unique and can be worn as a wrap or displayed as a wall hanging.

 Click to view the weaving collection of Master Mayan Weaver María Florinda Pérez Mendoza