The nonprofit group Synergo Arts was originally founded to help artists and artisans work in a more ergonomic fashion. (As any weaver who has spent hours hunched over their loom warping and weaving knows, if you don’t have the right seat at the right height, weaving can be painful.)
For the last nine years Synergo Arts has worked in Latin America, training carpenters to make ergonomic weaving benches designed especially for the local backstrap weavers, and then training the weavers on how to adjust the benches and use them when they weave.
The ergonomic benches make weaving more comfortable and reduce the aches and pains that can come from weaving continuously for hours. This means weavers can weave longer and more efficiently and therefore provide more income to their families. The bench (which you can see a photo and description of here) rocks with the rhythm of the weaver and has a footrest. The padded seat is adjustable, so it can fit the height of the weaver.
The ultimate goal of Synergo Arts was to empower indigenous communities to take over the project themselves, and in January of 2013, the nonprofit dissolved as the two communities in Guatemala took over. While Synergo Arts may be no more, its impact continues. If you’d like to make your own bench, all of the specs and designs are available in the public domain right here.