Long Thread Media

Episode 4: Deborah Chandler: On Cultural Appropriation and Mayan Weavers

Episode 4: Deborah Chandler: On Cultural Appropriation and Mayan Weavers

American-born weaver Deborah Chandler is the author of the bestselling Learning to Weave, (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/628751/learning-to-weave-by-deborah-chandler/) an essential book for generations of beginning artisans. She has lived in Guatemala for 20 years, working with Maya weavers and helping them find markets for their work. In this episode, she addresses the complex issue of cultural appropriation as it affects the indigenous weavers she knows: What is a fair price for handmade work? Who should have control over ethnic designs and motifs? How do we determine what's a fair arrangement—and who gets to decide? Deborah and Linda discuss the intersection of ethnic craftsmanship, upscale marketing, and Western consumers. Deborah Chandler is the creator and director of Weaving Futures, where she has had the pleasure and honor of working with many Maya weavers. She leads cultural tours to communities in the Guatemalan Highlands, with a focus on indigenous artisans and their work. She is the author of two books about Guatemalan textiles, Traditional Weavers of Guatemala (https://thrumsbooks.com/product/traditional-weavers-of-guatemala-their-stories-their-lives/) and A Textile Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala (https://thrumsbooks.com/product/a-textile-travelers-guide-to-guatemala/) (both published by Thrums Books (https://thrumsbooks.com/)). She lives in Guatemala City.

Duration: 19 min

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