Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
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:
- Flor Cafe : pequeño (combinacion de Rosa con Virginia)
- 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.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Giving Indigenous Girls in Guatemala the Chance to Reach Their Full Potential by Supporting Their Education
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 email@example.com.
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
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
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We have been working with the women of Ajkem'a Loy'a on two different groups of bags: the first of which is a circular-shaped drawstring bag in three different sizes and the second, a handheld clutch ("wristlet" I believe is the proper term) and shoulder bag, both in the same size.
We began our work with Ajkem'a Loy'a by introducing a series of "inspiration" images for them to look at. Each of the women selected a few of their favorites, explained to us why they chose them, and began experimenting with their weaving, using the images as "reference." The outcome was very pleasing: each of the women explained what elements they used from the images in their weaving (most of whom were initially attracted to the colors). Mayda, drawing inspiration from a picture of the ocean, not only incorporated colors from it, but also created a dotted pattern in her weave that represented the rocks underneath the water. Those of which were closer to the surface and thus received more sunlight were translated into brighter yellow dots in her weave, while the other rocks further from the ocean's surface were more subdued in her design.
As this exercise proved to be a success, we decided to continue the experiments with each of the women over the next few days. Sandra's experiment was also very impressive...in my opinion, hers was the most daring. You could tell that she was really trying to push herself beyond her limits, which was very exciting to see. From her experiment, we (the students and Pascale) were curious to see what she could do with incorporating leather into her weaving. So, we took a visit to the leather man, Santiago, up the street and brought back strips of leather for Sandra to experiment with. Once again, we were blown away by the progress that was made. Sandra began weaving them in very simple ways, but as time progressed, she began to very intuitively incorporate them as if they were like the rest of the threads.
We were incredibly pleased with the combination of woven and leather, and decided it would also be a nice detail in the two smaller bags (clutch and shoulder). This could very well be the beginning of something really amazing for Ajkem'a Loy'a...
We began our work with the other group of women in the afternoon. We began our workshop by having them show us what they had been making, so that we could have an idea of what kind of products would best sell. We as a group were very, very excited to see what they had been creating, and were especially amazed at how completely different their work was from Ajkem'a Loy'a. After carefully looking over everything and discussing with the women what they would like to make, we all came to the conclusion that pillow covers and scarves would be the best solution. The women were very excited that we were working with them...all of us felt their determination so much that it really felt like a true collaboration.
We were then invited over to Teresa's home, where the women showed us the threads they used in their weaving. All of us were completely in awe at the beautiful array of colors the women showed us. As amazing as the colors were, what was even more incredible was the story behind them and how they came to be. The women explained to us that all of the threads were naturally dyed. Most of the colors they produced came from a single plant (I am forgetting the name as of now...) they find in the mountains. Depending on the cycle of the moon very much determines what colors are extracted from the plant. The women showed us two different bundles of thread, both of which came from the same plant but at different cycles so that one of them was much brighter in color than the other. Another beautiful color, a brilliant orange, was extracted from "zanahorias" or carrots. All of us were so amazed to hear this...not only were the colors beautiful, but the process in which the women collected them was beyond anything any of us had ever seen or heard.
As we continue developing products with these women (who have decided to call their company BARCO: "bar" and "co" are recurring letters in their surnames), our hopes are very high that we can produce a few different pillow covers to be sold in the states. Also, we are planning on taking back a few of their scarves that are already set for production...
So, very exciting things are happening and it's going by very, very quickly. We have yet to see what more will come from our time here, but I am positive it will be amazing.
Therefore yesterday, after explaining the Guatemalan minimum wage of Q8/hour, we asked them to make a new price list, using the new number for labor cost, of the products they can produce quickly that they might be interested in selling at a store in Antigua. By the end, we had a price list for about a dozen different products, including necklaces, bracelets, napkins, dolls, baskets, place mats, bookmarks, and bags. Almost every woman has her specialty in a different product, which explains the variety. Many of them were already selling above cost, but there were some items that we saw that needed a price fixing or a new way of making. All the women seemed very interested in the difference in prices from before and after and were encouraged to think about changing their prices.
Tomorrow, they will meet Irma from Manos Preciosas, a store in Antigua, to show her their products and (new) prices and discuss as a newly formed group with her about a possible collaboration in the future.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Last year in June, in San Lucas Toliman, we worked with a much larger group of women then the group of women that is currently assembled under the name of Ajkem’a Loy’a.
Students and faculty from The New School conducted workshops in business, marketing and design. The women of San Lucas Toliman taught us how to weave, bead, and dye threads with natural dyes. The group we worked with wasn’t an organic group, it was a group of women who previously participated in workshops initiated by CARE, workshops dealing with (among other things) health, family planning, and the empowerment of women. In the past year, the group of women that we currently know as Ajkem’a Loy’a became a tight group that is now slowly developing their own products. They take pride in themselves as designers and are very ambitious to create their own designs. Their product development over the past year has been amazing !
Nonetheless, there are other women in San Lucas Toliman that are very gifted weavers and that benefited from our workshops last year, but that are not included in the association Ajkem’a Loy’a. We as faculty and students got really involved in the work and the lives of the women we worked with last year, and coming back this year, as an extension of the New School, it didn’t seem right to only continue working with the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a while excluding the other women from the opportunity to learn and grow with us in the month that we are here.
Thursday a week ago we talked with the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a explaining to them that being here as students and faculty of the New School, an institute for teaching and learning, we didn’t want to exclude anybody from the opportunity to work and grow with us.
We already noticed in the first week that the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a preferred to work in the morning, only a few or none would come in the afternoon. In the morning the sun is out and the air is dry, in the afternoon it rains, the air is very damp, which makes it harder to weave. We agreed with the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a that we would continue to work with them in the mornings and that we would invite other women to work with us in the afternoon.
Friday a week ago was our first day to work with two groups. The second group is a group that formed itself around a few of the other women we worked with last year, it is not a real group yet, but they seem very dedicated to working together and developing new products. The products that they shared with us in the afternoon were beautiful, they immediately radiated a very different energy and we imagined completely different possibilities for products then with the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a.