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

Weaving

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

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

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.