Behind The Brand - Maya Traditions
We start with skilled indigenous women artisans, weave in education-based tools, trainings, and grassroots social programs to create handmade products that strengthen communities.
Maya Traditions Foundation was founded over twenty years ago to support impoverished indigenous female artisans in Guatemala reach international markets to sell their weavings for a fair price. Today, the social enterprise continues to partner with cooperatives of skilled artisans to create high-quality handmade accessories and home furnishings that directly contribute to each artisan’s economic stability.
The majority of artisans practice backstrap weaving—a traditional Maya art form that has been passed down from mother to daughter for over two thousand years. By creating textiles that are rooted in cultural designs yet fit the aesthetic of the modern marketplace, artisans are able to sell their products for a fair price, directly contributing to the preservation and promotion of their traditional craft. As artisan Pascuala shares;
"To me, weaving means opportunity.
Sharing my art has helped me and my community move forward."
Maya Traditions partners with eight cooperatives, made up of a total of 120 female artisans, the majority who began to weave at the age of 8 and 9. As a social enterprise, all revenue generated from the sale of products not only guarantees the artisan a fair price, but is also reinvested into grassroots social programs that benefit not only the artisan, but her family and community. These programs include:
- The Artisan Development Program offers personal and professional development opportunities such as classes in literacy, business development and design for artisans.
- The Youth Education Program provides financial and personal support to the children of artisans in order to support their academic success.
- The Community Health Program works to preserve and promote the use of traditional Maya medicine and the use of medicinal plants.
As Maya Traditions continues to grow, artisans are provided with consistent and greater amounts of work. The products created are not only high-quality and handmade, but directly support each artisan and their families in their pursuit of economic stability. Each product tells the story of the artisans and their craft, allowing consumers to have beautiful products and also feel a connection with the artisan who created it.
Artisan Yolanda states;
"Weaving is my culture.
Our ancestors taught us about this art
and I want to make sure it is never lost."
To support these artisans and backstrap weaving, Maya Traditions is running an Indiegogo campaign to #growmayatraditions that offers handmade incentives for each donation. Check out the campaign, donate, and share with your friends and family.
Once the campaign is complete you can continue to support the foundation and its artisans by shopping with retail and design partners, becoming a retailer or design partner, visiting and/or volunteer with Maya Traditions in Guatemala to learn more first-hand.