So much of my time in Guatemala centers around doing business with women-weavers. By selling their products, these women preserve their textile traditions while also providing an income for their families.
One of the most rewarding experiences I have had in Guatemala was with my family in a women's rug weaving co-op. My mom has carried these gorgeous hand-woven rugs in her gallery, Galerie Bonheur for years. She explained to us that the women use old tee shirts and clothing to make the rugs. This fascinated my children, so before our trip to Guatemala, they collected tee shirts. Hundreds were donated!!
I'll always love this image of my son carrying one of the bags of tee shirts up the hill in the rural Guatemalan village.
When we arrived at the co-op, one of the women had her toddler son with her. The ability to conduct business with a child on one hip is just one of the many talents that I have come to admire in Guatemalan women! And of course, the connection between children knows no cultural barriers!!!
The women gave us a tour of their co-op and we were so impressed with the way they had it organized, with charts of the different dye colors and pattern ideas for the rugs.
I remember it was my daughter who started unpacking the bags of tee shirts and organizing them with the women. It was as if any barrier - of language, background, or age, melted away.
Of course, we couldn't leave without some of these beautiful rugs for our homes and for mom's gallery!
But we also left with a sense of connection with these women. We were all mothers with our children, conducting business, exchanging ideas, preserving traditions, and promoting beautiful art!
More beautiful Guatemalan textile products can be found at larkinlanedesigns.com.
And the gorgeous rugs can be found at Lark's mom's gallery:
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