Meet the Artisans
JUSTA works with traditional Mayan artisans in the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Ixoq sin Chiya Women’s Collective, based in San Pedro La Laguna, produces our handmade glass beaded jewelry. Luna Cakchiqueles Women’s Collective of San Marcos La Laguna weaves a line of hand loomed and embroidered traditional Maya belts. Finally, Telas del Lago Collective in Panajachel reuses traditional textiles to create new bags, purses, and skirts.
Ixoq sin Chiya : Beading Collective
In 2009, JUSTA aided six women artisans in organizing themselves into a self-run beading collective based in San Pedro La Laguna. The women range in ages from 25 to 45, from single mothers to mothers of multiple children, and from native groups of Tzutujil to Cakchiquel. These women have come to work together through their collective necessity to survive and exuberance for life. Their bright energies and light are reflected in their individual work, and their growth and development as a whole collective demonstrate remarkable progress. Though they have had little to no formal education, through their work with JUSTA, these women now manage their own production, maintain their personal finances, and track their inventory on a computer. Meet the women and their families
Lunas Cakchiqueles (¨Moons Cakchiqueles¨ in native Cakchiquel language)
This women´s collective formed in 2001 in San Marcos La Laguna. For several years the collective had export connections to market their goods; but when that connection ended, the women found they were not able to sustain themselves through tourism sales alone. In early 2011, JUSTA began working with the Lunas to develop a new product line and re-energize the dwindling group. The 11 women in the current collective are using the traditional techniques of back-strap weaving and hand embroidery to create handwoven belts displaying various indigenous Maya patterns and designs. Their artwork allows the women an avenue for their creative expression while celebrating the traditional weavings and symbols of their ancestors. Meet the women and their families
Telas del Lago Collective (¨Fabrics of the Lake¨ in Spanish)
This artisan collective is made of two families, joining together when two coworkers lost their jobs from layoffs at a sewing factory. With their skill and expertise in sewing, they began to produce their own designs and opened a small roadside shop in Panajachel. Yet lack of tourism and an over-saturated market resulted in little to no business for their shop. JUSTA began working with the small group to provide them an avenue for sales. Two years later, Laura Cortez manages this collective’s production of brightly-colored and skillfully-sewn bags, purses, and skirts. The colors and patterns in these traditional materials represent Mayan villages from all over Guatemala. By sewing together these diverse fabrics, the finished products illustrate the complexity and vastness of the Mayan culture.