Silvia Santiago Miguel


Oaxacan backstrap weaving

The tradition of backstrap weaving is very popular in many towns in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Practiced and taught through generations of women, weaving on a backstrap loom is used to make shawls, napkins, belts, and other items needed for daily life and traditional clothing.

In her hometown of San Juan Mixtepec in Oaxaca, Mexico, Silvia Santiago Miguel learned how to weave on a backstrap loom from her mother, Francisca Miguel Zurita, who had learned from her own mother.  Silvia began weaving at the age of 10 and became proficient at weaving belts, utilized for traditional outfits during important religious celebrations; napkins, which are used to keep tortillas warm and transport food; and rebozos (shawls), worn by women as formal clothing as well as to carry babies.

As a current master artist of ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, Silvia is working with her sister and apprentice, Lucia Santiago Miguel.  Silvia will work with Lucia to build her skill at using the backstrap loom, working up to her ability to weave larger items such as napkins and shawls.

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