The Art of Petate Weaving | Rambling Canvas
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Devon Barker Stills & Motion - Petate Weaving - Yepocapa, Guatemala

The Art of Petate Weaving

Petate weaving is a craft that extends back to the early Mayan period and is a staple in the Yepocapa economy. Tul is harvested once a year and is then dried, sorted by length and split before being woven into bedrolls, mats, baskets and other everyday utensils.

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Tul, the wetland grass used for Petate weaving is harvested once a year so that the individual blades are similar in height. But, before the Tul can be cut and stripped for weaving it must be dried and sorted by hand. Time for a Tul sorting party!

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Tul sorting consists of a few things: sorting by height, sorting by diameter and lastly tying everything into organized bundles. The height difference is only a matter of inches so each person must choose pieces that match perfectly with everyone else.

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The Tul is bound into bundles of similar length and size to make transport easier, but also to get an idea of what size Petate Mats can be woven from this harvest.

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The dried, sorted, and split Tul is woven into Petate sleeping mats, baskets, rugs or wall hangings that start life as a pattern in shades of green.

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It’s only takes a couple days to weave an average size Petate mat, but it’s taken generations to refine the skills to pull it all together.

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