Artisan vs. One Of a Kind
Our Artisan Collection is possibly our most important collection as it was created to encourage and support the art of weaving. This collection of newly woven fabric is made custom and created on a small-batch scale, ensuring attention to detail and quality of the highest standard. Commissioning the weaving and looming of these new fabrics is vital to the Guatemalan people because it creates a sustainable form of income for our artisans. We work with four Fair Trade certified cooperatives and directly with several communities of independent weavers that prefer to work directly with us. Thank you for helping us keep this beautiful art form alive, and supporting the well-being of our beloved Guatemalan artisans!
The Backstrap Loom
Backstrap looming dates back to the ancient Mayas and has been passed down through generations and generations of Guatemalan women. The women use this style of looming to create their beautifully vibrant colored textiles that they use to make huipiles. The weaver starts with raw cotton, which they clean, dye, and spin into thread. The thread is then made into a warp which is placed on the loom. Then each artisan adds his or her own personality to the cloth by making uniquely intricate brocade and embroidery patterns out of the fabric. The backstrap method has changed very little over the centuries, and we hope that it will continue on for many centuries to come!
Foot Loomed Fabric
A "faster" way of making the fabric we use for our product is made using a Foot Loom. For an experienced male weaver, it takes ONE day to finish 5-6 yards and women a bit longer since they aren't physically as strong. A common design you may see on our fabric is called "Jaspe" and this means that they take the thread and hand tie sections of the thread off that are anywhere from 1-3 inches apart. The craftsman then dyes each individual section, piece by piece and hangs the thread to dry. It is a similar technique to tie dying but on a micro scale! The weaver can then begin the process of threading their foot loom which works much like a bicycle. They alternate pedals with their feet and while threading the fabric back and forth. We are so thrilled that we are able to make custom Nena patterns and employ over 30 men and women to weave fabric for us!
Our One of a Kind Collection consists of products constructed using curated vintage fabrics purchased responsibly. All of the fabrics seen in the One of a Kind Collection have lived a full life before being incorporated into your bag! These vintage fabrics were woven from memory by a Guatemalan artisan up to 10 years ago; each pattern is distinctive of the region where the artisan resides.
We always select high-quality pieces and pay fair premium prices for the fabrics that become the exterior of our signature bags and accessories. We carefully curate each piece of fabric and do not buy them in bulk or in “mountains of huipiles”.They are then washed and laced with hand cut leather to make them more durable for your everyday use. Truly and completely one-of-a-kind, these bags are a masterpiece!