Each indigenous community in Guatemala is distinguished by their traditional clothing, with their own style and specialty. From fine embroidery, where they use ancient symbols; to indigenous weaving techniques.The multi-colored thread allows for a sophisticated and intricate design.
All of our cotton products are handwoven on the back-strap loom, the centuries-old Maya women's art form. Not only is weaving a means to earn a sustainable living, but it is an integral part of indigenous women's identity and culture. Yabal partners with three artisan communities and incorporates their traditional symbols and weaving styles into our fair trade product designs.
Pacutama and Nuevo Chuicutama
Now based in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, or ``Little Alaska``, these communities have found a permanent refuge after the hurricane disaster of 2005. As is common in many indigenous highland communities, the Maya K'iche' use many geometric and animal motifs in their traditional embroideries. In the Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan communities where we work, the women weavers provide income for their families using ancestral back-strap weaving techniques they have passed down from mother to daughter for generations. We have been working with the same communities for over 10 years now, resulting in the highest quality, fair trade weaving products in the area. The women in the cooperatives are friendly, fun, young, and passionate about their work. They are experts in their craft. Currently, we have over 35 women weavers working in this cooperative between the ages of 18-65.
The fair trade cooperative Wajxaq’ib kan was founded in 1987. The name of the cooperative means “the eighth day” and represents the “day of weaving” on the Mayan calendar. The cooperative consists of 15 women and is located in Chuacruz, Solola. The Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996) had a brutal effect on the community, resulting in many of the women becoming widows and the sole caretakers of their families. With limited education and work experience, they organized a sustainable, fair trade cooperative to sell their textiles as well as to share communal land for crop cultivation. They now support themselves and their families through the art of back-strap weaving. They weave most of Yabal's scarves and shawls.
The department of Momostenango is a well-known center of Guatemalan organic wool products. Yabal partners with the Alvarado family who weaves 100% natural blankets and carpets from local wool. The Alvarados manage every step of the eco-friendly production process: from hand-carding and spinning; to dying with natural dyes; to finally weaving the blankets on the foot-loom. They create an attractive and unique collection of organic artisanal rugs and blankets that are part of the sustainable line of eco home and fashion products at Yabal. The Alvarados make their dyes from plants and minerals, most of which are grown or found on their own land. The high quality wool products beautifully compliment the Yabal cotton collection. With income from their wool rugs and blankets, they've managed to send all 6 of their children to school!