Please enable javascript, or click here to visit my ecommerce web site powered by Shopify.

The History of Weaving Told By Our Artisans

Juana in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala

The History of Weaving

In Guatemala and Nicaragua the art of weaving and using natural dyes has been passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years. In Guatemala, backstrap loom weaving, a loom made of sticks and string and then tied around the weavers waist on one end and up into the rafters on the other,  is a traditional Mayan art. This technique of weaving has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations and used to create beautiful hand woven and then hand embroidered fabrics used in the traditional dress of women and men.  In Nicaragua, artisans today are still working to revitalize the traditional art after the cultivation of cotton and practice of weaving was banned by the Somoza regime in the 1950's.  Today, artisans weave on large foot pedal looms, often built by hand using reclaimed wood.  

In both Guatemala and Nicaragua artisans face great challenges in their efforts to keep this art alive. Artisans lack access to year round stable markets, lack financial resources to invest in raw materials, and lack opportunities to learn and grow their business. Living Threads Co. was founded to address all of these challenges. 

What do Our Artisans Say

Recently, we asked some of our artisans about their personal and family history of weaving:

Huber NIC.jpg

 

 

 

“I am always learning something new, I learned how to weave in 2006 from my mother Danelia Zapata and I have been weaving for 11 years “  
                     
— Huber A. Cabellero Zapata

 

 

I learned how to weave 55 years ago by an instructor from El Salvador through a non-profit livelihood program. 
                       
— Daniela Zapata
 
Living Threads Co. partner Artisans
I learned  how to weave in 2004 from my teacher Daniela Zapata and I have been weaving for 14 years. 
                     
—  Lilliam Centeno
 
 
My grandmother taught me how to weave when I was 10 and I have been weaving since then. 
— Francisca Mendoza

NY NOW

What is NY Now?

The NY NOW Gift Show in New York City is a market held every year to showcase new companies, brands and product lines across home, lifestyle and gifts.  With more than 2,500 exhibitors and over 25,000 buyers, that is HUGE!  Living Threads Co. will be in the Handmade Global section among hundreds of other vendors featuring artisanal and limited production goods from around the world. We are excited to be a part of this unique show, where Living Threads Co. will promote artisanal handmade goods, as well as sustainable and ecologically conscious design.

WHY IS IT EXCITING? 

Through our customers (you), and building relationships with retailers around the world, we strongly believe we can expand our impact on small scale artisans and their families, as well as the environment. These new collaborations and partnerships with small and large stores in your neighborhood enable us to provide more people with socially and environmentally responsible artisanal products that are unique and of high quality. 

WHAT NOW?

Today we are working with our artisan partners, finalizing the designs and colors of our one-of-a-kind products. We are reaching out to our customers, friends and family to help spread the word and build new relationships for Living Threads Co. and our artisans around the globe. We continue to share the stories of our partners, their inspiration, art and our collective impact when we all choose to invest in handmade artisanal goods. 

Take a look at some of our custom designed products we will be debuting  at NY Now! 

IKAT Napkins and Placemats

IKAT Napkins and Placemats

AUDAZ Blanket

AUDAZ Blanket


Where can you find us today? 

 

Steadfast Supply |  Washington, DC

 

 

 

 

116 King St. Pop Up | Alexandria, VA

 

 

 

Leslie Flynt  | Santa Fe, NM

 

 

 

LOVE Sonoma | Sonoma, CA

 

 

 

Cape Weekend | E. Orleans, MA

 

 

Hurd Orchard |  Holley, NY

 

 

 

Loveland Llc. |  Provincetown, MA

 

 

 

AERO Studios | New York, NY

What has Living Threads Co. been up to?

TRAVEL + ARTISANS + CULTURE + ART

Recently our team has been out and about traveling throughout Morocco and Cuba

First stop, Morocco.

After a not so restful overnight flight, I walked off the plane and into the busy Moroccan city of Casablanca with a group of National Geographic travelers.   I always love traveling with my Nat Geo groups because each person has chosen to be in this beautiful country to dive deep, get their hands dirty and learn as much as they can in a short time!

True to my nature, I was ready to get out of the big city and up into the mountains after the first day.  While exploring the coast, desert, forest, and High Atlas mountains of Morocco, I learned from artisans about the rich culture and ancient artisan traditions. Down dusty mountain roads and tucked inside mud brick homes on the hillside, I spied women artisans at work on their looms with brightly colored natural fibers.

Just as in Guatemala, textiles and artisan craft in Morocco are inspired by the natural resources available to people and are representative of culture, tradition, and environment. Local plants and vegetables are used to naturally dye a variety of natural fiber: cactus silk, sheep wool, camel wool and more.  Despite a small obsession over textiles, we were happily distracted by amazingly intricate ceramic art and mosaics, horribly smelly tanneries, shiny copper and, of course, the knotted and kilim carpets. Morocco is a paradise of artisan techniques and traditions, of textures, colors, and designs. I see something new on each trip. 

Living Threads Co. founder Amanda Zehner in the High Atlas, Morocco.

Living Threads Co. founder Amanda Zehner in the High Atlas, Morocco.

metal door in Morocco.jpg

Next stop, Cuba.

In Cuba we were inspired by the music, art and dance.  With a unique glimpse into a country and its people, my visit felt like a walk back in time. From drumming to jazz, Buena Vista Social Club to oil paints, mosaics, politics and health care, a complicated history has contributed to innovation, creativity and personal expression that is visible around every corner in Cuba today.   

Cubaartisan with oil work .JPG

Through our travels, we are continuously learning from and inspired by the people and places we are privileged to visit. The culture and art of each new place contribute to our uniquely inspired products and reinforoce the importance of our mission at Living Threads Co. to preserve artisan traditions and improve livelihoods.

Stay tuned...    

Our new summer collection is being photographed and will be up on our website soon!

This week, our collaborative designs with our partner artisans in Guatemala and Nicaragua are coming to life for our fall and winter collections!  

We are excited to announce that we will be back at NY Now this August building relationships with partner retailers and looking for new ways to grow our impact on small scale artisans around the globe!  

Founder Amanda with partner artisans in Nicaragua working on new designs and finishing techniques. 

Founder Amanda with partner artisans in Nicaragua working on new designs and finishing techniques. 

Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide Series - The Conscious Home Owner

There's no shame in bragging about your beautiful home. Whether it's an apartment in the city, house in the suburbs, or cottage in the country, making a place feel cozy and unique is essential!

We've rounded up some of our favorite Eco-friendly products to shop before the holidays, and to fill your handmade home.

Hawkins New York - Simple Linen Bedding (Queen) $198 Made of Belgian linen, finished, woven and stonewashed in Portugal, the collection has a relaxed, lived in look.

Hawkins New York - Simple Linen Bedding (Queen) $198
Made of Belgian linen, finished, woven and stonewashed in Portugal, the collection has a relaxed, lived in look.

Food 52 - Hand-thrown Ceramic Planter & Dish $45                                                       Handmade wheel-thrown flower pot with clean matte porcelain finish. Perfectly offsets bright blooms or greenery.

Food 52 - Hand-thrown Ceramic Planter & Dish $45                                                       Handmade wheel-thrown flower pot with clean matte porcelain finish. Perfectly offsets bright blooms or greenery.

CZH x St Ash - Robe Collaboration $250                                                                                     This cozy robe is perfect to slip into after a long salty day at the beach, or to wear as a light weight jacket over your best summer jumpsuit, or to cozy up in after a long day of work. Made in the U.S.A of 100% linen and non toxic ink.

CZH x St Ash - Robe Collaboration $250                                                                                     This cozy robe is perfect to slip into after a long salty day at the beach, or to wear as a light weight jacket over your best summer jumpsuit, or to cozy up in after a long day of work. Made in the U.S.A of 100% linen and non toxic ink.

Indego Africa - Lidded Tassel Top Basket $70                      Handwoven locally sourced sweetgrass. All profits fund educational training programs for the women who handcraft these products.

Indego Africa - Lidded Tassel Top Basket $70                      Handwoven locally sourced sweetgrass. All profits fund educational training programs for the women who handcraft these products.

Living Threads Co. - Chet Pillow $90 Handwoven in Guatemala on Mayan backstrap loom. 100% cotton. Purchase supports small scale artisans.

Living Threads Co. - Chet Pillow $90
Handwoven in Guatemala on Mayan backstrap loom. 100% cotton. Purchase supports small scale artisans.

Raaw in a Jar - Algae Hand & Body Wash $42 Invigorating organic seaweed hand & body wash made with finely milled pumice to stimulate circulation and exfoliate, removing dry surface cells, which helps to improve soft and glowing skin.

Raaw in a Jar - Algae Hand & Body Wash $42
Invigorating organic seaweed hand & body wash made with finely milled pumice to stimulate circulation and exfoliate, removing dry surface cells, which helps to improve soft and glowing skin.

The holiday season brings excitement, warmth, and a general feeling of gratitude. Consider shopping small and supporting ethical brands with an honest mission. Living Threads Co. strives to establish sustainable markets to provide year round dependable sources of income for our partner families and cooperative. Click the box below to shop our holiday sale and to learn more about our partner artisans. Happy Holidays!

Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide Series

It's never too late to cross those last minute gifts off your Christmas shopping list! (Or buy yourself a little treat in the meantime...)

We've gathered a list of our favorite sustainable holiday picks from small businesses just like us. Whether you're buying for your brother, granddaughter, or mother-in-law, you're helping support artisan craft and handmade goods. Enjoy!

Be Clean Shop - Svensk Essential Oil Candle $ 38 Artfully scented with essential oils only (no synthetic or "natural" fragrance) and beautifully housed in a glass and cork jar. Hand poured in San Francisco.

Be Clean Shop - Svensk Essential Oil Candle $ 38
Artfully scented with essential oils only (no synthetic or "natural" fragrance) and beautifully housed in a glass and cork jar. Hand poured in San Francisco.

CORTIÇA - Cork Coffee Mug $25 Make a statement with this sustainable and Eco-friendly porcelain travel mug wrapped and insulated with cork. A great alternative to all those Styrofoam and plastic disposable cups!

CORTIÇA - Cork Coffee Mug $25
Make a statement with this sustainable and Eco-friendly porcelain travel mug wrapped and insulated with cork. A great alternative to all those Styrofoam and plastic disposable cups!

Living Threads Co. - Handwoven Throw $95 Handmade artisan designed and woven 100% cotton throw in Birds Eye weave. Available in a variety of Eco-dyed colors. Purchase supports artisans and their families as well as the preservation of traditional weaving.

Living Threads Co. - Handwoven Throw $95
Handmade artisan designed and woven 100% cotton throw in Birds Eye weave. Available in a variety of Eco-dyed colors. Purchase supports artisans and their families as well as the preservation of traditional weaving.

Facture Goods - Clay & Wood Short Spoon $25 Beautifully crafted handmade spoon of red clay with white glaze and wooden handle. A truly stunning and functional piece of art.

Facture Goods - Clay & Wood Short Spoon $25
Beautifully crafted handmade spoon of red clay with white glaze and wooden handle. A truly stunning and functional piece of art.

Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration - 2017 Watercolor Calendar $20 Digital print of a watercolor and pen and ink illustration. Features a variety of seeds, flora and sprouting plants with the Mexican Proverb "They Tried to Bury Us; They Didn't Know We Were Seeds" in both English and Spanish.

Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration - 2017 Watercolor Calendar $20
Digital print of a watercolor and pen and ink illustration. Features a variety of seeds, flora and sprouting plants with the Mexican Proverb "They Tried to Bury Us; They Didn't Know We Were Seeds" in both English and Spanish.

Harper Macaw - Chocolate Bar $9 Founded by a Brazilian chocolate maker and a U.S. Marine Veteran with an ambitious yet tangible objective: To turn chocolate into a force for tropical reforestation.

Harper Macaw - Chocolate Bar $9
Founded by a Brazilian chocolate maker and a U.S. Marine Veteran with an ambitious yet tangible objective: To turn chocolate into a force for tropical reforestation.

The holiday season brings excitement, warmth, and a general feeling of gratitude. Consider shopping small and supporting ethical brands with an honest mission. Living Threads Co. strives to establish sustainable markets to provide year round dependable sources of income for our partner families and cooperative. Click the box below to shop our holiday sale and to learn more about our partner artisans. Happy Holidays!

The Art of Weaving

The Art of Weaving

Weaving is an amazing craft which utilizes beautiful wooden tools: looms, shuttles, frames and more.  These tools are works of art in and of themselves, and even more incredible is the fact that they have been around since the same time our ancestors were developing stone tools- around 10,200 BC. Not only is weaving a traditional art but it is also a sustainable method of production both for our environment, communities and culture.

Living Threads Co. impact in Nicaragua

Living Threads Co. impact in Nicaragua

WHAT IS LIVING THREADS CO.'S IMPACT IN NICARAGUA? 

Roughly 3,500 miles away resides the members of a seemingly invisible group of talented artisans. Their craft is a tradition, an art, and an income.  It inspires pride, creates livelihoods, improves quality of life, and much more to all members of our growing partner cooperative in Nicaragua.

What is your impact on the lives of our artisans in Nicaragua when you shop handmade with Living Threads Co.?  Learn more about the economic and social impacts of your purchases. 

A New Member of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise

A New Member of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise

From Guatemala and Nicaragua to Nepal and India, our artisans’ work to create beautiful and sustainable goods that spark creativity and help build and maintain a positive livelihood. Aligning seamlessly with our goals, we are now thrilled to announce our membership with The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise!

Custom Designing with Living Threads Co.

Custom Designing with Living Threads Co.

YOU be a designer. 

Work with Living Threads Co. to create your own customized product!  

Are you looking for personalized gifts for your bridal party?  Or are you in need of the perfect shawl for your late summer or fall wedding?  Do you have a hardcore sports fan in your family or friend group?  Are you searching for the perfect gift for a potential Little Sister or Little Brother in advance of fall sorority and fraternity recruitment?  Look no further.

Back & open in Maine!

Living Threads Co. and Milk & Honey Celebrate the Start of the 2016 Summer Season in Maine

On June 17, Living Threads Co. and Milk & Honey celebrated the advent of the summer season with a community Open House!  Attendees enjoyed delicious, locally-sourced sweet and savory treats prepared fresh at Milk & Honey, learned about LTCo.’s new products and partnerships, and watched videos detailing the creation process for some of LTCo.’s beautiful textiles, and were able to enter a raffle to try to win a handwoven throw from Nicaragua.  As always, we had a wonderful time catching up friends, getting to know new faces, and the event was a great opportunity for the Northeast Harbor business community to come together and kick off the summer season.

Come visit Living Threads Co. during Northeast Harbor Gallery Night every other Thursday evening beginning July 7 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.; stop by to pick up a cozy blanket or throw before Northeast Harbor Movies on the Green, each Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. beginning July 7; or drop in during normal business hours to learn about our products and artisan partnerships.  If we don’t have a color combination you are looking for, we’d be happy to work with you to come up with a design that meets your needs.  If you aren’t in Maine this summer, check out our online store or look for our new storefront opening in Reston Town Center, VA in early July! 

Written by Devin Mack

Photos by Devin & Amanda

Supporting Nepalese Woman - Post 2015 Earthquake

Supporting Nepalese Woman - Post 2015 Earthquake

It has been nearly a year since the devastating earthquake of April 2015 rippled through Nepal.  Not only did buildings crumble but livelihoods have suffered ever since due to a decrease in tourism throughout the country. Check out our Blog and learn more about the work Living Threads Co. is doing to help connect artisans to markets and provide you with beautiful new artisan textiles.