January was full of excitement for the Living Threads Co. team and our partners! Our partner artisan from Guatemala, Ana Mesia, and founder of La Puerta Abierta, Amanda Flayer, joined us for a series of events in partnership with both The National Museum for Women in the Arts and Sustainable GW at The George Washington University.
During their visit, Ana and Amanda had the opportunity to visit a few museums in DC and learn about various crafting methods. Ana said her favorite most impactful part of this journey was her time at The National Museum of Women in the Arts because of the interest, questions and genuine interest in her culture and her art. Ana also lover our visit to GWU’s Textile Museum, where she was able to get a better understanding of the ways in which other cultures create products like hers.
On Tuesday, January 29th, we headed over to The National Museum of Women in the Arts for our event, Conversation, Culture and Creativity. While there, we had the opportunity to meet some of our local LTCo. customers and museum go-ers! Ana kicked off the event with a demonstration of the backstrap loom, a traditional Mayan craft used by women to create textiles like those we produce at Living Threads Co.
After the demonstration, guests had the opportunity to take part in an embroidery lesson, led by Ana. Ana had brought some swatches of her fabrics along with needles, thread, embroidery hoops, and some hand-drawn designs she’d created for stencils.
After we all got our embroidery on, Ana talked a bit about the history of her craft. She told us about how her mom taught her how to use the traditional Mayan backstrap loom, however she prefers embroidering textiles because it allows her to express more through her personal creativity. Once everyone finished up their embroidery designs, we closed out the event with a brief conversation about how Living Threads Co. has impacted our artisans abroad, including Ana.
On Wednesday, January 30th, we headed over to The George Washington University’s campus for our event in partnership with Sustainable GW, Conversation, Culture, and Creativity: A Panel Discussion, featuring Ana Mesia, Amanda Flayer, and Amanda Zehner. Before the event, Ana, Amanda and Amanda had the opportunity to explore GW’s Textile Museum, where they learned about how other artisans in various countries create textiles similar to Living Threads Co’s.
After their museum visit, Ana, Amanda and Amanda walked over to GW’s Funger Hall for Conversation, Culture and Creativity: A Panel Discussion. They had the opportunity to answer a series of questions about the artisan economy, sustainable production, and the importance of preserving traditional crafts. The auditorium was filled with students and locals interested in sustainability, giving us hope for a more sustainable future! Ana was impressed by the questions of students and professors and their thoughtfulness and concern for the impact their actions have around the world.
We want to thank The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The George Washington University, Sustainable GW, La Puerta Abierta,The Aspen Institute, Senator Warner and Amb. Melanne Verveer for helping us bring these events to life! We had such an amazing time sharing with our community exactly what it is we we do at Living Threads Co. and the exciting direction we are moving in. Thank you again to everyone who came out to participate in our event series. Ana loved having the opportunity to meet you all and participate in our Global Artisan Exchange Program. We can’t wait to bring more artisans to the U.S. in the future. Keep checking in for future event announcements and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to make sure you stay in the loop!
And of course, in the meantime, keep shopping Living Threads Co.’s unique, artisanal handcrafted products and make an impact on artisans like Ana from Guatemala to Nicaragua and Nepal.