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ON THE GROUND IN GUATEMALA

Time working hand-in-hand with each of our artisans is an extremely important part of Living Threads Co.  From learning about each woman and man's creative inspiration, their family, the impact of your purchase on quality of life, and goals for the future of their craft - this time together strengthens our relationships, quality of our products and increases our impact. 

 Founder Amanda working with our partner artisan Lidía in her home on the shores of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.   Product : KUS Napkins

Founder Amanda working with our partner artisan Lidía in her home on the shores of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.  Product : KUS Napkins

Our personal relationships with each of our artisans is the foundation of our design process.  Together we design unique, high-quality products that are created using ancient traditional techniques, yet are modern one-of-a-kind pieces for your home.  Each product is thought through from raw fiber, to color and dye process, weaving techniques, and hand finished details.  

Design PROCESS AT A GLANCE

Exploration of artisans skills, strengths, and design interests
Consideration of traditional design and techniques inspiring product creation
Exploration of raw materials, natural color dyes, and sustainability of product materials
Collaboratively design new product based on customer feedback and behavior, as well as artisan skill and interest
Draft product detail sheet and then bring sample to life
Hands on training for our artisans on quality control and management of orders to facilitate cooperative growth and capacity building
Final adjustments to color, design and hand finishings
Additional artisans are trained in product creation and final products are handcrafted
Product is inspected, packaged and shipped to Living Threads Co. studio in the US where it is photographed and shared with you!
With each purchase we provide additional work and income to our artisans
 Founder Amanda works with artisans Amalia and Blanca on a new napkin design. Stay tuned!

Founder Amanda works with artisans Amalia and Blanca on a new napkin design. Stay tuned!

 Interviews and home visits with our artisans and their families build lasting relationships and help us better understand our impact.

Interviews and home visits with our artisans and their families build lasting relationships and help us better understand our impact.

 The design process is collaborative and starts with locally sourced raw materials from fiber to plant dyes.

The design process is collaborative and starts with locally sourced raw materials from fiber to plant dyes.

 Training and capacity building is a central part of our work with each cooperative. Here we work on processes for quality control and management of growing orders.

Training and capacity building is a central part of our work with each cooperative. Here we work on processes for quality control and management of growing orders.

The outcomes

Each product is designed to last through years of use, considering not only the environmental impact of the products creation but also of its lifespan.  Techniques chosen for the creation of each piece are important culturally, the creation process reserving the traditional crafts of the men and women we work with.  Each product tells a story of culture, environment and individual creativity.  Furthermore, each product is a source of great personal pride for the artisan. 

 Connecting with the women and families that inspire us each day and continue to make Living Threads Co. what it is today.  Sandra with her two daughters in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.

Connecting with the women and families that inspire us each day and continue to make Living Threads Co. what it is today.  Sandra with her two daughters in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.

 Color, lines, and texture abound on a walk through town. Find these bold designs reflected throughout our collection of table top linens. 

Color, lines, and texture abound on a walk through town. Find these bold designs reflected throughout our collection of table top linens. 

 The geography provides inspiration as well the raw materials we work into each design. 

The geography provides inspiration as well the raw materials we work into each design. 

 A walk around town provides inspiration for color and design. Antigua, Guatemala

A walk around town provides inspiration for color and design. Antigua, Guatemala

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. 

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.