Sunday, June 13, 2010

We've moved!

Thanks to the very talented designer Grace Salem, we now have a new website with a whole new identity and a blog within a robust website. So please bookmark that site, since we will no longer be using this blogger site. Of course, all of the previous blog posts are still searchable there.

Thank you for following our work in Guatemala! We have returned in summer 2010 with a team of 7 students and 1 faculty, so please stay tuned via our new blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Women of Ajkem'a Loya and their breathtaking creations

Additional view of Mayda's sizable beach tote

Mayda showcasing her accomplished beach bag.

Catharina modeling Ruths bag

Additional view of Sandra's bag

Sandra's intricate Bag with leather accents and inserts

Closer view of Catharina's bag

Catharina's fun and colorful handbag

Close view of Hilda's gorgeous bag

Hilda with her creative textured pouch.

Telma's neutral toned handbag

Romelia's beautifully handcrafted bag w/leather strap and bottom

Back view of Gloria's bag

Gloria and her beautiful bag

Monday, August 24, 2009

sewing the bags

The women of Ajkem'a Loy'a finishing the bags they designed. 
Mayda takes charge concerning the patterns and the sewing

Rebecca sewing Romelia's bag

Hilda and Gloria finishing their bags, 
the women made three sizes of the same kind of bag, 
Hilda and Gloria are both finishing the smallest version

Sandra assembling the bag she designed

Mayda cutting the pattern for the bag of Catherina

Hilda finishing her bag


Romelia showing the fist bag that is finished,
Gloria Raxtun's bag

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Muestras Finales de tejidos


La evolución de los productos esta llendo muy bien en el segundo grupo, Barco. Ahora que tenemos terminadas las muestras de los cubrecojines pasamos a formalizar los tamaños. Hemos escogido dos tamaños de los más vendidos en el mercado americano 18”x18” y 12”x18”. Es una fortaleza que este grupo este trabajando con teñidos naturales porque los colores son muy combinables.

Tenemos aprox 15 muestras que queremos combinar en cuatro cojines, dos del tamanio grande y dos del pequeño. Junto con las mujeres hemos escojido y nombrado las siguientes combinaciones:

  1. Flor Cafe : pequeño (combinacion de Rosa con Virginia)
  1. Paz : grande (Combinacion de Eufemia con Mirta)
  2. Chilca : Pequeño (Combinacion de Eufemia con Teresa)
  1. Luisa : grande (Combinacion de Teresa con Mirta)

Una vez terminadas las muestras en los tamaños reales hemos trabajado con ellas las costuras que se van a utilizar para unir ambas partes del cubrecojin. La parte de adelante es distinta a la parte de atras es por eso que la costura es muy importante para que el producto sea armonico. Las sugerencias de las mujeres nos han servido mucho para unir las dos partes exitosamente . Otro punto importante son los costados del cubre cojin, hemos trabajado 2 acados distintos (maya y red). El ultimo paso para terminar el producto es desarrollar un cierre apropiado que posiblemente sea un lazo hecho de hilo negro.

Al mismo tiempo de ir desarrollando los productos estamos trabajando con los costos. El primer reto es que las mujeres registren los tiempo que invierten en terminar una paño del cojin. Para lograrlo se ha descompuesto el tiempo total invertido en los siguientes: Enrrollado, tramado, subida y tejido. Esto ha ayudado a sacar apropiadamente los costos y ha que ellas tomen en cuenta el hilo invertido y el tiempo que tienen que tener para terminar el producto.

Ajkem´a Loy´a

Después de casi 3 semanas de trabajo con la asociación Ajkem´a Loy´a finalmente tenemos las muestras de los tejidos y diseños que formaran parte de las carteras. Existen 3 tamanios de carteras distintas: Playa, Mediano y pequenio. Estas carteras consta de varias paños que se coserán a mano para conseguir los acabados requeridos.

Tejido de Mayda para la cartera tamaño Playa

Tejido hecho por Sandra, con aplicación de cuero

Tejido hecho por Caterina

Tejido hecho por Gloria

Tambien se desarrollo un modelo distinto de cartera de forma rectangular, hecho de solo dos paños y unidos por cuero.

Tejido hecho por Romelia

Parte de atrás de la cartera, también hecho por Romelia

Friday, August 14, 2009

Giving Indigenous Girls in Guatemala the Chance to Reach Their Full Potential by Supporting Their Education

Mayan girls and young women in Guatemala are triply disenfranchised by their youth, their gender and their ethnicity.

At the age of 12 they are taken out of school to work because their families cannot afford their education.

Given the opportunity of an education, girls hold the key to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

$100 a year can be the decisive factor on whether an adolescent girl flourishes with opportunities or languishes in poverty.

Help us support the education of girls in the communities we collaborate with by donating to our scholarship fund or purchasing a photograph.
If you are interested in donating to the fund or purchasing a photograph, please contact me at

Sonia would like to sell her photographs in order to pay for her education. Each photograph is $50 (minimum donation). The sale of two photographs will cover the cost of 1 year of school for Sonia.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Social Entrepreneurs of San Antonio Aguas Calientes

Although most of our time in Guatemala has been spent on working with the women in Santiago Zamora, we have also dedicated time to a few social entrepreneurs in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. These entrepreneurs each informed us about their separate interests and we have come together as collaborating consultants on each of the following projects:


Enmanuel, a native of Guatemala, lives in San Antonio Aguas Calientes with his mother. After opening a paper store for the students in the area, Enmanuel has plans to develop a multi-sports field and playground on land he already owns. His vision is to provide a free and safe space for the children in the community to play. Alongside the volleyball/soccer/basketball field, he would like to build a playground and concession stand. In the spirit of his father, Enmanuel hopes to become an active leader in the community by supporting the healthy development of the children of San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

Escuela de Katchiquel

Olga, a true entrepreneur at heart and in practice, owns and operates her own bakery, is helping her son to open a laundry mat, and, on occasion, hosts Peace Corp volunteers in her home. Professionally, she works as a Spanish teacher at a school in Antigua. Olga has hopes to transfer her skills as a teacher into opening her own school in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. Her mission: to teach Katchiquel (a Mayan language) to preserve and share her Mayan heritage. Olga's school will be the first of its kind in San Antonio, and she is working to attract not only tourists interested in learning Katchiquel, but also the youth in the community, as knowledge and use of the language is diminishing.

Branding and Marketing Initiative

Irla, a driven and uniquely talented weaver, supports her family’s artisan business through her San Antonio market stall. As a highly zealous and bright mother of two, she sought to develop a brand and marketing initiative promoting her family’s exceptional crafts, as well as offer an array of distinct Mayan activities to the culture-hungry traveler. Recently, Irla had the memorable experience of hosting a foreign student in her home, and looks forward to the opportunity to share her family’s traditions with more interested travelers. Natural herbal medicines derived from the family’s garden, the language of Katchiquel taught by Irma’s father, and lessons in the preparation of naturally pigmented thread made from their cotton tree are just some of the many unique Mayan activities Irma and her family offer. After naming her business IXEL K’IEM (a nod to the Katchiquel god of weaving), and with the support of business cards, a comprehensive brochure in both Spanish and English, and an email address, Irma and her family hope to gain the publicity their remarkable business warrants.

Friday, July 17, 2009

They Have a Name!

We are excited to announce that the women in Santiago Zamora have come to an agreement on a name for their association: Ixoki A'J ru xel Quiem or "Señoras Tejedoras Nativas." We have been working with the official group of 11 women to create a set of rules and regulations, to assign roles and responsibilities and to design a logo. We are looking forward to getting as much accomplished before we head back to the United States to make sure that when we leave, the women feel organized, empowered and informed to make any decisions and to take on any opportunity or challenge that may come their way.