Books by Joanne Calkins

Changing Costumes
Journey to 80 Guatemalan Mayan Towns 1990-1991

Guatemalan Mayan textiles include some of the world's most intricate and colorful weavings made on a simple "loom of sticks", the backstrap loom. Each Indigenous town traditionally has its distinctive native costume with a synthesis of design elements of the dress of the Ancient Mayas, of the 17th and 18th-century Spanish dress, and later of European and American influences.

In 1990 the Civil War was raging in Guatemala, women were beginning to get paid work outside the home and other political and economic factors were making change inevitable in the lives of Indigenous people. This book should be read as history, describing a moment in time of the constant evolution of the native costumes. Joanne and Jim in their four-wheel-drive pickup with camper traveled to the towns, interviewed weavers and vendors, and photographed them and their works in 1990-1991. The couple researched and documented the changes in the native costumes in 80 Mayan towns by comparing the contemporary styles and usage with those painted and described by Carmen Pettersen in the 1970s.


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