This word, telar, is thrown around a lot here in Chiapas. We use it quite a bit on Chiapas Bazaar too…like in this blouse, in this table runner, and much more! But what exactly is telar? How can we translate that to English?
Technically, the word telar means loom. But we also use the word telar to signify the actual fabric that comes from a loom, specifically the backstrap loom, which is used with amazing skill here in Chiapas, Mexico. So when you see one of our products that says telar, then you’ll know it comes from the backstrap loom.
This style of weaving in Chiapas dates back to the period of the Mayans. In fact, some of the symbols that you can see on the murals at Bonampak still make an appearance here in the weavings of the artisans. The history and this tradition is mind-blowing. Young girls start to learn how to weave at a very young age, carrying on the tradition of their mothers and grandmothers. When using something made of telar or wearing something in telar, you are wearing years and years of tradition.
Below is a video that shows how to set up a backstrap loom. Yes, for a non-weaver, it’s as complicated as it looks!