TEXTILES & GIFTS
HI THERE, WELCOME TO YABAL!
We are a Fair Trade organization focused on sustainable fashion and social impact. We strive to increase the opportunities and quality of life for women in the Western Highlands of Guatemala while preserving the traditional art of back-strap weaving. Mixing indigenous and sophisticated, contemporary designs, we create modern sustainable fashion products that maintain centuries-old traditions, cultural symbols and weaving techniques.
HOLA, WELCOME TO ALMA DE COLORES!
We are a social and labour inclusion organization that employs and empowers people with disabilities in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. Our five areas are the Alma Café and Restaurant, our organic garden, the bakery workshop, the sewing workshop and the jewellery & craft workshop. Here are some of our handmade jewellery pieces. We hope you enjoy!
WITH LOVE FROM JUANA
My family and I are descendants of the T’zutujil Mayan ethnic group and we operate a weaving shop in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. I learned the art of backstrap weaving from my mother, and now I weave with my daughter Marly. We draw on the colours of nature and are inspired by our culture to make textiles that are full of colour, life, energy and love!
LEATHERCRAFT BY PABLO MARROQUIN
Hola, my name is Pablo Marroquin and I am an artisan from Pastores, which a town near Antigua, Guatemala. I have been working in leather craft for 35 years, and started from a very young age. Everyone in my family works with leather, and we all got started as a way to support our family. Today, I sell my leather products in Panajachel, Guatemala.
MAYAN PAT/XECUL COOPERATIVE
Our cooperative is made up of 16 young community guides and 28 families of artisans who create the products we sell in our gift shop. We strive to create sustainability, opportunity and cultural preservation in San Andrés Xecul. We want to develop community leaders who can promote the value of the Mayan worldview in youth and children.
THE ART OF MAYAN WEAVING
For centuries, Mayan women have been weaving on the back-strap loom to create clothing for their own families and for local sale. Each community has its own unique designs and patterns that are particular to that region, and the techniques and patterns are passed along through generations.
To use the loom, the weaver meticulously prepares the threads on a frame that is then positioned around them using a strap around their back. While it be made of simple parts, preparing the loom and executing intricate designs takes great skill and experience.
Isabel is a Mayan Indigenous backstrap-loom weaving teacher, textile-lover, and Yabal’s Store Coordinator in the Yabal shop in Xela, Guatemala.
In her own words, she says that, “Mayan clothing in particular is closely tied to our culture as it is an important expression of spirituality. You could say that it is in fact a language that expresses wisdom, full of meaningful symbols based on ancient knowledge.” The intricate designs woven into each textile tell the stories of their lives, their ancestry, and their community.
VISIT THE WEAVERS WITH OG
It’s one thing to see the finished product; it’s an entirely different experience to learn how it is made from the artists themselves. On our Mayan Roots program in Guatemala, we’ll stay with the women who have mastered the art of back-strap weaving. We’ll also…
- Learn about the supply chain of coffee from De La Gente and Café La Voz.
- Engage with a reforestation project called Chico Mendes who plant trees for social and environmental justice.
- Take a 3-day trek in the Guatemalan highlands and celebrate with a relaxing stay in San Juan La Laguna.
MEET THE MAKERS
JOIN AN OG PROGRAM TO GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PRODUCTS AND SEE THE WORLD THE OG WAY.