My work in Chiapas, Mexico, with the Maya women is ongoing. What I initially experienced with these women was somewhat of a surprise to me and, continues to bring me back. What I experienced is that we are intimately connected through our need to create and make beautiful cloth. The core of the strength of Maya women comes from the ancient Maya skill and tradition of weaving . Weaving is an integral part of their lives. I am a weaver and a textile artist, but I never thought about the artist part of me as being central to my core of being. From my work with them, I realized that I could not live a full life without creating. In my case, it is the textile and photographic arts. My interviewing of many Maya women opened up this realization in me that creating is a deep and irrefutable part of my self.
Many of the women I interviewed made a life for themselves through their weaving. They learned from their mothers who learned from their mothers, and so on, through two thousand years of passing down their weaving skills. I did not learn my artist skills from my mother, but I learned from my teachers and mentors. I had, and still have, such a burning desire within me to express myself . I first chose weaving. The photography came later. I immediately related to the Maya women through their love of the loom.
I continue to visit Maya villages and talk with the women. I have found them to be strong, and resilient even though they are discriminated against by the predominant Mexican population. This area of Mexico is the home of the Zapatista revolt, which, 22 years ago, was an uprising of the indigenous Mayas against their poverty and isolation. Today, they still live in poverty and isolation. I admire the strength of the women in those villages. They continue to weave and try to make a better life for their children.
By providing new wells for clean water and supporting the work of Don Sergio, whose pro bono treatments are essential to the health of many villagers, my husband and I have found a cause, another way to be connected to the women with whom I have connected in such a profound way.