Friday, February 21, 2014

Stitching Leaves in the Lacandon Jungle

During a recent visit to Chiapas in Mexico, I stayed for a while at a cabin in the Lacanja River Camp, run by an indigenous Lacandon family in the Lacandon Jungle.  This is the same family that originally discovered the Mayan ruins of Bonampak and served as guides and the primary source for information on the Lacandones people for archeologist Frans Blom.

Lacandon man in Lacanja Chansayab, Selva Lacandona (

With little to do but hike through the jungle, talk to the family about their encounters with early explorers, or watch the river roll by from my front porch, I unpacked my sewing kit and started searching for broad, pliable leaves. This is the result. Materials used: two leaves, 1 small fern sprig, needle and thread.

Leaf shoe, fern buckle.

The sole.
Once the shoe was completed I derived considerable entertainment in staging it in various locales in the jungle.

Leaf shoe on a leaf.

On a tree root

On a fern.

On a log.

When a member of the family came along through the forest and was curious about what I was doing, I handed him the shoe to look at. He held it in his palm and was extremely puzzled, but then said thank you and walked away with it. The moral of this story? If you have a needle and thread you need never be bored.

The end.

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